Take a look below to learn how the weather plays a role in the fishing for smallmouth bass.
The clouds can help out tremendously when fishing for smallmouth bass, especially during the summer and fall when these fish are usually deep. Cloud cover can help keep some of these fish a little shallower than they would be if it were sunny. In clear water, smallmouth bass may stay in that 8 to 16 foot range on cloudy days instead of being 16 to 25 deep or even deeper. In darker water, bass may stay in the 5 to 10 foot range instead of being down in that 12 to 16 foot range or even deeper. These bass will also usually be more active, which means that you can catch more of them during the middle of the day than you normally would.
Cold Fronts & Warm Fronts
During cold fronts, smallmouth bass will typically go deeper and remain inactive for a day or two. The type of water, time of year and degree of cold front will dictate just how much the fishing changes. Even though cold fronts will make the fishing tougher, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a few fish to bite.
Warm fronts are very good for fishing the majority of the time. Warm fronts are usually followed by some stable weather for a few days, which makes for some excellent fishing conditions. In the spring, a warm front is what is needed to make smallmouth bass more active. During the summer, a warm front or heat wave can actually push smallmouth bass out into deeper water, especially in clearer water. In the fall, a warm front can provide some excellent fishing. Smallmouth bass will feed in the cold and even after a cold front in the fall as they get feed up to get ready for the winter. A warm front will keep the fish feeding, however, it makes fishing more comfortable for anglers.
Rain usually improves fishing for smallmouth bass. The rain provides a disturbance on the water, which allows the bass to feed actively without getting spooked. Fishing is typically best with a light rain and a little wind. Smallmouth bass will feed throughout the day and they will be found much shallower on a rainy day.
The only time rain hurts the fishing is during thunderstorms or with a very heavy rain. Smallmouth bass like clear water and a heavy rain will stain the water. The thunderstorms can definitely spook the fish for a day or two, but this isn’t always the case. The severity of the storm definitely plays a role in how the fish react afterwards. A bad thunderstorm followed by a cold front creates the worst situation for catching bass. Bass can be inactive up to 3 full days after these situations. Some fish can still be caught, but it is a lot tougher during these conditions.
On rivers and streams, heavy rains cause a lot of runoff causing the water to become very dirty. Fishing is usually tough when the water turns a milk chocolate color, but some anglers do have success fishing current breaks near the shorelines following very heavy rains. Bright colored lures with vibration and/or lots of rattles will help get more strikes in the dirty water. Depending on the water levels, a heavy rain may provide some excellent fishing at the base of the dam. Although, if the water is too rough, fishing will be tough and it could even be dangerous.
Stable weather gives you the best chance of finding and catching smallmouth bass with some consistency. During 4 or 5 days of nice weather, smallmouth bass will typically get on a routine and they will feed in the same places around the same times each day. This isn’t always the case, but smallmouth bass do become much more predictable during stable weather patterns. As soon as the weather becomes erratic, the smallmouth bass move and their feeding patterns change. If you get some stable weather, you should be able to find a pattern and catch some nice smallmouth bass consistently.
The sun can definitely work against you when fishing for smallmouth bass, however, there are certain times of year where it will help for sure. The water clarity also plays a role in how well the sun may make fishing harder or easier. For most casual smallmouth bass anglers, they dread when the sun gets up higher in the sky because the bite usually slows down, however, take a look at this page to find out how to keep catching bass even when the sun is high in the sky.
The wind can definitely play a huge role in the fishing when targeting smallmouth bass. You can catch smallies when it is flat calm and super windy, so they will bite in all wind conditions, however, the wind will change where some of these fish are going to be feeding at and how you have to fish for them.