Bass Care 101 - Water Temperature
It is always best to maintain water temperatures in the live well and at the weigh-in site as close as possible to (or slightly below) the temperature where the fish came from. Fish are “cold blooded” animals so their body temperatures are not regulated internally but rather by the water temperature around them. Depending on the time of year and ambient temperature in the lake, the optimum temperature for largemouth bass is below 84 degrees. The MSU study confirmed that at 91 degrees livewell water temperature is a serious problem for your bass. You want to keep the temperature in your live well close to the water temperature the fish came out of. It is important to remember that the temperature gauge on your boat is reading the water temperature near the surface, and your bass may have been living at a depth with a lower temperature than you show on your boat. Once the live well temperature reaches 84 degrees, keep it from getting any warmer by cooling it down with ice. Sudden temperature change of more than 7 degrees can be harmful to your largemouth bass. To allow for longer, slower cooling of the water in you your live well, use block ice if available, or freeze water in a plastic bottle or another container and place in the live well. Keep frozen plastic water bottles in your ice chest, so you can place them in your live well to cool water as needed. At the weigh-in, fill your weigh-in bag with cooled water from your livewell rather than dipping in warm lake water.
Water temperature is the most important factor in bass survival. Maintain temperatures of no more than 84 degrees in your live well and weigh bag. Keep frozen water bottles in your ice chest to use for cooling the water as needed.