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Stick in Mud

Finding Fish in "structure-less" laks

11 posts in this topic

Hello all,

The title of the post is referring to those lakes, prominent in this state, that are round, shallow, and lack rocks, timber, humps, drop-offs, etc.--the stuff that makes fishing easy! (Ok, easier.) The lakes in my area that immediately come to mind are Pearl, Grand, and Julia, all of which are full of fish, but I know there are many similar lakes in the southern part of the state.

I have been fishing these lakes for quite a few years now and I always do OK, but I have a hard time finding concentrations of fish (walleyes and bass, especially). While on Mille Lacs, the Birches, Leech, etc. I can find concentrations of fish, yet I have a hard time finding places that consistently hold larger numbers of fish on lakes lacking the definitive structure of these larger go-to lakes. On "basin" lakes, I can find fish, almost always by trolling weedlines and looking for little irregularities in depth, weed type, points or nooks, etc., yet I fail to catch consistently numbers of fish. Is this just going to happen on lakes that lack the fish populations like Mille Lacs and Leech?

So, my question is: How do you guys find numbers of fish on these "basin" lakes? I usually troll weedlines (for walleye, bass, and pike), bobber weedlines for walleyes, or worm them for bass. And I do catch some. I just feel like I'm missing something.

Thanks!

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Without obvious structures, you have to go with ecosystem. Plus the effect of water stratification and when it turn-overs.

What are the bait fish feeding on and where do they find their foodsource? Plankton, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects? Go from there...

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I can relate to your question because I have fished these kind of lakes with great success. This is my .02 take from it what you will and I hope it works.

-Crankbaits, crankbaits, crankbaits.

-Once you find some fish of either pike or bass stop and work it slowly with a pig'n jig, worm, or jig. This will be what I call a spot on a spot on a structureless lake. Note the depth and spot on the lake and make sure to revisit this spot every time you go back out. You will be surprised that is just might have some pockets, or a spring that is open in the bottom of the lake or who knows what but it is holding fish for some reason.

Rattle Traps, DT's or anything that covers water fast is great. Also try this tactic. Because these lakes are lacking the structure they usually bottom out at say 30ft or less. I would consider REALLY slowing down and go with a 1 oz pg jig and or something heavy enough to get deep fast and just jig in the open mass of deep water or use your electronics for suspended fish and jig at that depth you'll be surprised what you will see in open water.

Eagle Lake in Maple Grove for example, grew up on that lake day in day out I could just about out fish any one of my buddy's becasue I litterally have gone threw that lake with a fine tooth comb and found spot on a spot with numbers of fish with this approach.

Too, these lakes that you mentioned are typically holding "weed" walleyes and it will always be hard to pattern that one species but if you find the numbers of bass and pike the walleyes should be not to far if there is a good population in the lake.

To recap just cover water fast with cranks get a pattern going and then slow down and work for along time. Another example when you find a spot and catch say 2 bass, a pike and maybe 1 walleye in about an hour or so. It kind of dry's up right? Well leave that spot for about another hour or just stay in that area and fish will move in again.

Something I learned from Ron Lindner in a bass tournament when I was an AM in the back of his boat. We were fishing Tonka on a big milfoil bed, huge area comes to mind. He had a spot on a spot. We move only twice that day. But first thing in the morning he boated 3 fish in about first 3 hours and they were cooky cuter 3-4lbs. He stated that when you take a one fish out of this pocket it will be replaced with another of same size or bigger. Well as the day went on bored out of my skull casting the same spot all day long each fish grew bigger but the bites were far apart but by the time the days end and we had to go in he had his five fish and all grew in weight as the last fish was the biggest fish in his bag.

So my point is find the spot on a spot and fish it to death if you want up grade to more and bigger fish. Just learning to be patient is the biggest key and I'm really sorry for being so long winded but this truly is something fishermen need to do in lakes like this to be more successful.

Good luck and again so for making this so long.

mr smirk.gif

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You may also want to search for bottom transitions ( i.e. sand to rocks, gravel to muck, anything that can give fish a reference point). If you manually set the sensitivity on your locator correctly, you'll be able to find a hard bottom indicated by an echo roughly twice as deep as the bottom. A transition would occur were that echo might disappear into a thick line indicating a soft bottom.

Once you learn how your locator displays different bottom types it becomes easier to determine where those transitions occur.

Hope this helps. cool.gif

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Would the thermocline act as a structure? Also, using your electronics the baitfish may also serve in like manner.

Bob

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Time to start trolling. When you catch a fish, mark the spot on the map. Stop. Send out marker floats. Figure out why you caught a fish there. Add that spot to your list of spots on the lake. Then return at other times to test whether it is a consistent producing spot. After a while you develop a list of spots. There's something about those spots that may be very subtle that the fish relate to. Whatever it is, it works to do it that way.

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Awesome. Thank you all very much.

I do the trolling thing often and it is how I find most of my fish. But I'm either too inexperienced or too dumb because I find a fish or two but then can't find anymore. I did try using the GPS to mark points, but I ended up just having points all over the lake without any real consistency...again, I'm sure I'm missing some important info. That's probably why I'm not much of a lake fisherman!

Again, thanks all for the replies. Man this is a great site.

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Also, if there is moving water like an inlet or spring, work around these areas.

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What it sounds like to me is you have a great early season lake that slows down as the water warms up. Do what Questor said. I would and do fish this type of lake in the early season. Get a GPS and use it! Catch a fish set a waypoint. Catch another set another waypoint and so on. Next time you go to the lake Troll over the waypoints and then go set more. After awhile you will have a nice milk run and the structures will start to show themselves. When July comes around find a deeper lake and do the same thing.

When you get home change the names of the waypoints to the date they were made. Don't use the year but a waypoint #. After awhile you will be going to the lake just to play with your fish friends! grin.gif

It may take some time but you will be calling it your lake!

Good luck! 7-1/2 days.

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Quote:

On "basin" lakes, I can find fish, almost always by trolling weedlines and looking for little irregularities in depth, weed type, points or nooks, etc., yet I fail to catch consistently numbers of fish


You're talking about basin lakes, and you're also talking about finding subtle structure features and fishing them. Nothing wrong with that and it can be a good approach.

Quote:

I ended up just having points all over the lake without any real consistency


Try using your electronics to look for concentrations of bait (either bugs or baitfish) or concentrations of fish, especially up off the bottom. In basin lakes without much structure the fish will follow the bait and the bait will roam. This could be why you end up with points all over the lake and no real consistency.

Try using icons, not waypoints, and each time you're out set icons where you catch fish or where you mark a lot of fish or bait. This might give you a better way to find locations on the individual days you're out - over time they might turn into a so-called milk run of waypoints, but more likely is roaming fish.

Good luck.

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You can also look for changes in the direction of the weed lines. I fish a lake this and find a corner where the weeds change direction and the wind is blowing into it. The depth does not change in the area but the fish are there. If you get right on the spot you catch fish like crazy and other boats around you get one or two.

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