Cooler July weather bodes well for fishing

Monday, July 14, 2014 | 8:05 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Anglers are in for a pleasant surprise as far as the weather in July goes. The cool week ahead should make it easier to snare a fish in the lakes of mid-Missouri, said Scott Voney, a fisheries management biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

"One of the things I think of, with cooler temperatures, are bodies of water with low-oxygen issues," Voney said. "Fish are more active in cooler waters."

Colder water contains more oxygen, and more oxygen means fewer dead fish, Voney said. July and August are usually the months when Voney hears most of his complaints about fish kills.

A day on the lake isn't the only enticing prospect that the fine weather offers. In a region where the weather tends toward the hot and humid, a series of cool, dry days will likely be a welcome relief to many.

High temperatures during the week will be in the low to mid-70s and the temperature will drop into the 50s at night, according to the National Weather Service. The normal temperatures on a July 15 day in Columbia are a high of 88 degrees and a low of 67 degrees.

But one chilly, overcast July day won't make for a boatload of bass. Several cool days in a row are required to bring water temperatures low enough to make a difference in fishing prospects.

"You got to have a string of cold days," said Greg Stoner, another fisheries management biologist at the Conservation Department. "You get a cold snap, and surface water cools off."

Fish dive deeper in the summer in search of cooler water with more oxygen, and their greater depth makes them tougher to catch, Voney said.

Stoner said that he fishes for "a little bit of everything" but finds himself catching mainly crappie, catfish and largemouth bass. He said he does most of his fishing on the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks.

It's possible that anglers have a massive storm halfway across the world to thank for their good fortune. Thousands of miles away, Typhoon Neoguri has been drenching mainland Japan with sustained rainfall for the past two weeks.

"The typhoon out there in the Pacific, that's a big system," said Jim Kramper, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. Kramper also said that typhoons such as Neoguri can be hundreds of miles in diameter and that they tend to dominate the surrounding atmosphere, influencing the weather.

The powerful tropical storm may have impacted the trajectory of the jet stream, an air current in the atmosphere that affects weather patterns, Kramper said. In the Midwest, the jet stream has been pushed far to the south, resulting in cooler weather.

Kramper said he was skeptical that the typhoon was the sole cause of the cooler weather, but he added that there was some validity to the notion that large weather systems could cause short-term changes in weather for up to a couple of weeks.

"It’s like the chicken or the egg, which came first?" Kramper said. "Is it the typhoon causing the weather pattern, or is the pattern causing the typhoon?"

Although weather in mid-Missouri will approach records for lowest recorded high and lowest recorded low, it doesn't appear that Columbia will see the temperature drop enough to set a milestone. The lowest recorded high for a July 15 day was 70 degrees in 1989, while the record low temperature was 47 degrees in 1891, according to a National Weather Service database.

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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