Best Time to Bass Fish During The Heat of Summer

Dressing properly for fishing on a 102-degree outing on July 18, 2011, at Leavernworthe Lake, Kansas.

This time of the year when many thermometers across the Heartland hit  100-degrees, we frequently are asked why we fish midday hours rather than when the sun is at a lower level in the sky.

Most folks can comprehend why we typically fish from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the winter, but they are puzzled that we fish from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the heat of the summer.

Here are two reasons why:

Many of our reservoirs across northeastern Kansas are afflicted with algae blooms. And limnologists and biologists have told us that the algae blooms consume vast quantities of oxygen during the night, which can make the fish lethargic. Thus it is not until midday until the sun does its work to replenish the oxygen level. For instance, we caught more bass after noon on July 25 and 26, 2011 than we did before noon.

Most anglers fish early and late in the day. Therefore, by the time we arrive at the lakes, the bulk of the anglers are ending their outings.  Therefore, we often have the lakes and all of the lairs to ourselves for the four midday hours that we fish — especially during the heat of the summer. By employing our finesse tactics, we catch on average 10 bass an hour, and during what is often described as "the dog days of August," we have caught as many as 25 or more bass an hour. Of course, we will have lackluster outings as we endured on July 25, 2011, when we caught only 17 smallmouth bass and five largemouth, and caught only 18 largemouth of July 26, 2011. But we caught 85 largemouth on July 23, 2011, and that helped increase our three-day average to eight bass an hour.

Another element that anglers might ponder revolves around reservoirs that have current coursing through them when the dams generate electricity in the afternoons in the heat of the summer.  For example, at the FLW bass tournament at Pickwick Lake, Alabama, on July 21-25, 2011, the best bite for the big bass occurred during the early afternoon.  In fact, Mark Rose of Marion, Arkansas, who won the event, reported that he caught his best bass during the last hour or so of competition during each day. Until the current began in the early afternoon, Rose said that he caught only small bass.

October 3, 2011 update:

Last week we were talking to Edwin Evers of Talala, Oklahoma, who is a professional angler on the Bassmaster Elite Tour, about the best times of the day to catch largemouth bass, and he noted that he has found that in shallow, relatively stained  flatland reservoirs, similar to the ones that we regularly fish in northeastern Kansas, that the bass fishing is often better during the midday hours than it is during the early morning and evening hours. At deep, clear waterways, Evers has found that low-light conditions are normally the most fruitful times.

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