Smallmouth Bass And Other Fish Dying From Heat
Rivers tend to be more susceptible to the extreme heat due to the depths of the rivers. The water in lakes tends to be deeper so the fish can typically find cooler water deep or near plants that produce oxygen.
Smallmouth bass dying from the heat
Thousands of fish are dying in the Midwest as the hot, dry summer dries up rivers and causes water temperatures to climb in some spots to nearly 100 degrees.
About 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon were killed in Iowa last week as water temperatures reached 97 degrees. Nebraska fishery officials said they’ve seen thousands of dead sturgeon, catfish, carp, and other species in the Lower Platte River, including the endangered pallid sturgeon. And biologists in Illinois said the hot weather has killed tens of thousands of large- and smallmouth bass and channel catfish and is threatening the population of the greater redhorse fish, a state-endangered species. Source
The article goes on to discuss the impact on sturgeon as well as other game fish. Smallmouth bass can withstand heat better than some species such as trout but still need oxygen in the water to survive. High temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen in the water and when that happens, the fish basically suffocate.
If you are experiencing high water temperatures in your area, you may want to wait for the temperatures to drop to increase the likelihood of the fish surviving after release. When smallmouth bass and other fish are dying from the heat, the more we can do to preserve the existing smallmouth bass populations, the better.