11/24/08

Very Cold Weather the Past Few Days in the Great Smoky Mountains

The temperature in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and most likely where
ever you live, has been very low,  much colder than you would normally expect for
late fall. The temperature in the highest elevations has dipped below zero recently.
When the air temperatures barely reach the low forties during the day, and then
only for a short period of time, the water has little chance of warming any.

The first of this month I wrote about the great fishing during the month of
November. The first two weeks proved me right although the weather was
unseasonably warm most of the time. Then around the middle of the month it
changed to being unseasonably cold. That brings about a big change with the rate
at which the trout feed. Their body temperature drops proportionally with the water
temperature and of course, is about the same.

It doesn't matter much which species of fish undergoes sudden change in water
temperatures, warm or cold water species, they are affected very much. When the
sudden drop first occurs, you will always find they react as if they get lock jaw. They
just about stop feeding until they adjust to the change. This is usually only a couple
of days at the most but if you happen to go fishing the day after the water temps
drop several degrees into the high thirties or low forties, you will be in for a very
tough time. The second or third day after the change in water temperatures,
depending on the extent of the change and the level it drops down too, the fish will
usually react by feeding to some extent. They will not feed near as much or as
aggressively as they did when the water was at an ideal temperature range, say
from fifty to sixty degrees, but they will eat. After they have adjusted to the change,
trout found in water in the forty-five to fifty degree range will eat enough for you to
catch plenty of them

Sometimes, when there is plenty of food available that is easy for them to acquire,
they will respond well enough for you to catch as many as you could under any
circumstances or any range of water temperature. Another factor, much to your
advantage, is that they tend to congregate in smaller locations than they do when
the water is in the high fifties or low sixties. They tend to seek the same locations
(type of water conditions) and this concentrates them. They are not scattered out
nearly as much as they would be in warmer water. In other words, if you are fishing
in the right places, you may well catch a lot more than you could catch when the
water is in the high fifties or low sixties. If you are fishing the wrong type or areas of
water, you may do very poorly.

We have spent the last few days in Florida, the sunshine state, but there was little
sunshine to be found or felt. It seemed to be just as cold down there as it was here
when we left. We made no attempts to catch anything.

Tomorrow I will discuss fishing cold water conditions in greater detail.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh