Written by Reed Montgomery
All throughout the month of October it begins. Cooling water. By Halloween on October 31 st all of our lakes waters suddenly begin to cool. Then by late November around Thanksgiving Day, followed by Christmas Day in late December, and then as winter arrives in early January around New Years Day our lakes are very cold, with some in the 40’s and 50’s.
During these four holidays of Fall and early Winter one thing always come to mind as a reminder. Winter is on its way with each passing week! Air temperatures slowly begin to drop, both during the day and at night, with each passing week in October, November and December. Our lake’s water temperatures begin to plunge as well, as daytime air temps and over night air temperatures begin cooling down each body of water, with each passing week.
So, even if you have no boat and you usually just fish from the banks of these small ponds, natural lakes and man made reservoirs, it’s a good tip to always bring along a good, hand held thermometer or have a water temperature gauge handy. This is a very handy tool to have on any boat or to keep in your tackle box. One tool that all anglers should always consider, that quickly lets you know, on each visit to your favorite fishing hole, what stage of early winter these bass are actually in! Always keep in mind; the cooler the water temperature, (like when it’s below the low fifties), the slower the bass will be. They may be only feeding occasionally, like when it’s sunny all day during winter warming trends.
* Bigger bodies of water such as natural lakes, man made lakes and impounded river systems (and even deeper, rock quarry type lakes), all take longer to cool than smaller bodies of water, like very small ponds.
By the end of October (Halloween), and certainly by the end of the month of November (around Thanksgiving Day), most of these bass are heading towards the lake’s shallows, to feed and fatten up for the upcoming Winter months ahead.
This can be a slow, weekly trek, often featuring big schools of typically, smaller bass ranging in the one to three pound range, found leaving their Summer haunts and early Fall homes. With their annual new found destiny aiming them towards the lake’s shallow flats, smaller cuts and shallow pockets, with some places that can be usually be found along deep, rock bluffs.
This is also where many big, often individual bass may be dominating or just temporarily occupying some lone weed patch or cover-filled bank, or some wood cover like brush plies, stumps, laying trees piers or logs.
Or these bass can be discovered hanging around rock cover like along rock bluffs, or man made rock walls, or around man made rip-rap rocks, like those rocks found along causeways, culverts, along bridges and the lake’s dam area.
Some of these schools of bass may spend, “weeks at a time” while just hanging around and feeding along these places, during their well spent travels in the Fall and Winter seasons. A whole school of bass, often consisting of dozens of bass that have traveled from their Summer homes, may be hanging around the mouths of major feeder creeks for weeks!
Then, as October and November (and often even during mid December warming trends) lingers on, with Christmas Day quickly in sight, savvy bass anglers can target bass more towards the mid-to-far upper reaches (or dead ends), of these major feeder creeks or incoming river systems.
Typically, with a normal, Alabama Winter season (if there is one), it can stay warm right up into the sixties and seventies until Christmas Day. As anglers will often be seeing midday air temperatures in the low-to-mid 70’s, right up until the end of the year! At least with Alabama weather, that is! But then Winter arrives in full force. Cold fronts increase and warm days decrease.
Right after New Years Day (the two coldest months of the entire year, January and February), can display night time air temps in the “teens” with daytime highs often staying in the forties for a week or more! This can also be the time to see snow, sleet, iced over boat ramps, or even the edges of our many lakes and ponds (along the shoreline), displaying thin sheets of ice!
Water temperatures can even drop into the low forties, or worse yet, into the upper thirties, when most bass become completely dormant and they will be eating very little. It’s also the time when it’s just to cold to go fishing, often for weeks at a time!
Cabin fever they call it.
So the point here is simple…now is the time to plan, an end-of- the year fishing trip!
Or, you can always call (205) 663-1504 on Reeds Guide Service, located near Birmingham, “Alabama’s oldest professional bass fishing only guide service” guiding on all of Alabama’s lakes for over 50 years! www.fishingalabama.com on face book too!
Want to learn more about fishing Alabama’s lakes?
See my website www.fishingalabama.com and like us (Reeds Guide Service), on face book too! Seasonal fishing tips, lure information and suggestions for each Alabama lake, fishing articles, pictures of clients with big small mouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass and striped bass. Including links to major fishing related websites, information about my guide service, and monthly, updated fishing articles, upcoming events such as boat shows, bass tournaments and fishing reports, for all of Alabama’s lakes!
*Also, these guided fishing trips (with Reed Montgomery, owner of Reeds Guide Service), to any lake in Alabama, make great Birthday, Anniversary or Christmas Gifts! A mailed in $100 gift certificate is good for an entire year, from the date of purchase. Just go to the bottom of my website www.fishingalabama.com on the home page and you will see at the page bottom; my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more guide service info and gift certificate info!
* Alabama Winter Tip; Small ponds and lakes (those of only a few acres or more), are notoriously known to, “cool down very quickly when its cold” but during the fall and early winter season’s unusual, “winter warming trends”, often featuring air temps in the sixties and seventies, these ponds are the first bodies of water, to warm right back up, as early winter arrives.
So keep in mind; During the latter part of the Fall and early Winter season, these smaller lakes and ponds will begin to cool down very rapidly (often very quickly with unseasonably cool days and severe cold night time weather), and the smaller these ponds are, the faster the anglers that fish them can see water temperatures quickly drop or rise! But when the weatherman is predicting a “winter warming trend”…its time to plan another fishing trip!