Christopher Smith

Smallmouth bass fishing in drought conditions

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With summer coming and rainfall variable, some anglers wonder about what they should worry about when smallmouth bass fishing in drought conditions. There are several things that we should look at when discussing this topic.

The first thing is what effect does drought have on the fish populations? There was a recent article in the Courier-Journal that discussed the difference between large bodies of water and small ponds.

Smallmouth bass fishing in drought conditions

“Most of the lakes in the western part of the state are low,” said Gerry Buynak, the state’s assistant director of fisheries. Very low.”

This can be frustrating for fishermen because low water renders many fishing spots inaccessible or unable to hold fish.

On the other hand, Buynak said, the same conditions can have a surprisingly positive effect on fish growth.

Basically, he said, low water or drought conditions slows the current through the large reservoirs. Plankton and other nutrients stay in the system longer, providing more goodies all along the aquatic food chain.

Foodstuffs pile up and fish fatten up, as evidenced by recent history.

“The 1980s was the driest decade on record,” Buynak said, noting that during that same decade the largemouth bass poundage in Kentucky Lake jumped from 5-6 pounds per acre to approximately 45. On Barkley it soared from 10-12 to 50.

“Some species do well and some don’t in drought conditions,” Buynak said, noting that crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and shad generally benefit from a drought cycle. Original article here

Small ponds are more adversely efffected due to the lack of depth and the development of an oxygen depletion in the water.

Getting to the typical fishing locations can be made more difficult due to the low water levels but access to kayaks and canoes is always good.

From an article about drought conditions in Texas last year:

“I feel that access to water will be the major problem facing anglers this year. Ivie, for instance, is low, only containing about 10 percent of capacity, but the rivers feeding it, the Concho and Colorado, are deep and full of good bass cover,” Hodge said.

“Big black bass are still there and in good numbers. It’s getting boats to the water that will be problematic.”

There probably are more kayak fishermen in San Angelo than any place on Earth, so expect to see local names showing up on the ledger of big bass from Ivie. Ramps aren’t required for the small kayak-fishing machines — just a place to park a pickup. Original article here

If you are facing drought conditions in your area, use your traditional successful approaches to catching bass, jsut get yourself a kayak and get access to the bass that your friends can’t reach!  Smallmouth bass fishing in drought conditions can still be productive and fun so get out there!

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