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water temp question


Hoffer

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So, we all know its been an unusually hot last month or so. The fishing reports seem to be pretty slow.

We are heading to Ontario for our annual fishing trip in just less than 3 weeks. What I am wondering is - will a drop of say 10 degrees in water temp - help the fishing by then? For example, its around 75 now - and if it drops to 65 will that be as good as say a different year when the water temp may be 65 right now -and would drop to 55?

Its the same 10 degree drop. Buts in one case its tpo 65 and in the other its to 55. I guess what I am hoping for is that old saying "the fish have to bite sometime". If the water temp drops a little - maybe thats enough to trigger the bite? I guess I am generally always thinking that the "Fall" bite is going to happen when the water temps really get down much cooler than they will be in 3 weeks - and that is certainly not going to happen in the next 3 weeks with the way temps are now.

Its been so slow lately - that I just have to wonder if any kind of change would hopefully be a positive one?? and maybe it doesnt have to be that real cold water that we think of that normally is associated with that good "Fall bite".

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My opinion -- the fish are always eating, they don't stop just because the water is warmer or cooler than "normal".

What the water temps might do is affect the forage the fish are eating, and the locations the fish are in ....... but they are still eating. Maybe the bite will be tougher than "normal" ....... but they are still eating.

Not sure if that helps or not, but good luck and have a great trip.

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You seem to be refering to the number you get off your depth finder, which is the water temp at probably 8-12 inches below the surface. Jump in and you'll probably find it's much cooler just a bit further down in the water column. In Outdoor News Fellegy seems to say that the fall feeding binge is [PoorWordUsage], that fish are always eating and you have to be able to find the ones that are in the mood.

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True. They are probably always to an extent feeding - but it seems like the later the fall goes the better?

But maybe thats due to location. I am wondering if the temps start to cool if the fish will congregate in more areas to feed - rather than say maybe just being down deep etc..

What I am wondering is what kind of water temp drop would we need to see for the fish in a canadien sheild type lake start to move back in shallow - like the larger northerns moving back into the cabbage in the bays and such. I do know that if you try to locate them there (at least where we go..) when the temps are higher you cant find any decent sized ones - just smaller slimers. However, if we go deeper - then YES you can find fish. I just like to be able to cast into the shallows etc...in the fall and catch some nicer fish - and wonder what temps they need to get back into those shallower spots to start feeding there?

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I have no idea about the lake you're fishing in Ontario, but around here I like to see the water below 50 degrees. Below 55 is okay, but below 50 is dynamite. But as soon as the water starts to cool, the fish and forage start to move to the traditional fall areas --- you just don't have as many fish there right away as you do later.

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Its not very far North. Its a chain of lakes - main one called jackfish.

About 1.5 hours due North of FF as the crow flies.

I am hoping we just get temps below 60 by the time we get there - and that may be wishful thinking? However, i did see that the night temps in Ifalls were already getting down to the 40s this week with a couple nights in the 30's so its possible.

Its just been so warm the last month - even up there that I wonder if the temps will drop much by then...but it will still be fun!!

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So, we all know its been an unusually hot last month or so. The fishing reports seem to be pretty slow.

We are heading to Ontario for our annual fishing trip in just less than 3 weeks. What I am wondering is - will a drop of say 10 degrees in water temp - help the fishing by then? For example, its around 75 now - and if it drops to 65 will that be as good as say a different year when the water temp may be 65 right now -and would drop to 55?

Its the same 10 degree drop. Buts in one case its tpo 65 and in the other its to 55. I guess what I am hoping for is that old saying "the fish have to bite sometime". If the water temp drops a little - maybe thats enough to trigger the bite? I guess I am generally always thinking that the "Fall" bite is going to happen when the water temps really get down much cooler than they will be in 3 weeks - and that is certainly not going to happen in the next 3 weeks with the way temps are now.

Its been so slow lately - that I just have to wonder if any kind of change would hopefully be a positive one?? and maybe it doesnt have to be that real cold water that we think of that normally is associated with that good "Fall bite".

This may sound like Techno-Babel, but it is proven methodology for systematically locating fall walleye.

Do a Sechhi Disk reading and find the depth equal to 3 times light penetration. Don't go any deeper than that. Then get a submersible temp gauge to find 63 degrees water temp at depth. Don't go any deeper than that. Now watch your depth finder and do lazy zig zag search patterns in that zone to mark where you see the most fish the most often. Triangulate the three pieces of info and it will gave you the prime target depth to fish.

secchi_disk_op_406x600.jpg

To create a "Sechhi" tool set up your fishing rod with a sinking white or very light colored sinking lure like a spinner bait or jig. Then lower the rod into the water until the lure disappears. At that point lower your rod tip to the surface of the water and hold it there. Then slowly reel up the lure. When the lure just barely appears below the surface stop reeling and raise the lure out of the water and measure the distance from lure to the rod tip. As your move from location to location repeat this clarity test as it help monitor conditions at what depths to be presenting your bait.

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Ed,

If I understand your model - I get a sechhi of 8 feet so my max depth is 24 feet. Water temp is 62 degrees at 4 feet. Do you mean to not go deeper than 4 feet to search for walleye?

At least for a lake in the Canadian Shield the secchi thing doesn't seem to do much to limit the search since you can likely see down 6-10 feet in nearly any of those lakes, if not more.

I'm not sure I understand your method.

Tom

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Without complicating it with the temp factor, 24' would be the likely comfort zone to act as a starting guide...fish or search that depth or shallower.

Purely on the light penetration, during peak sunlight hours of 10am to 2pm, this will be a good reference as to depth to start looking at. Taking the reading in that time frame will give you a base line depth to work from on that lake. Diminishing light penetration due to cloud cover, or at night...I start at that point and look progressively shallower in depth for walleye.

This is not to say we are always looking at the bottom, we are looking at a depth the fish may be running in..as they may be suspended in 60' but in the 24' zone. This is where the temp factor may really play in and a few degree's one way or another will narrow the hunt.

Once the lake has turned over and the temp is about the same from top to bottom, I primarily look at the comfort zone for light penetration. Late in the fall and again in the spring I watch the changes in surface temp and shoreline temp closely for a bit of a warming trend...like 47 deg average and then..bingo...50 to 53 in a area. Then I look hard at those areas due to the temp.

The real Wild-card in all this is forage, walleye go where they find the food. In all things with walleye, you have to ask yourself...where is the chow. They will be near it for sure in the fall...the more easy food around..all the better. Light penetration may tip you off to where to look for the food and for the walleye, and when to fish it.

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Ed

Thats good info!

I will try that this Fall. I am wondering though about how this will work in the lake we fish. The lake is usually pretty stained (one of the canadien shield lakes that isnt crystl clear.) I am trying to remember off hand frokm past trips - and I bet the "sechhi" reading would disappear at about 6 feet. That would put me at 18 feet. however, I have fast trolled this are the last 2 years and found that i can get my lures down to around 25 feet over 60 feet of water and have caught two 10 pound walleyes the last 2 years doing that. I can see that bait clouds down around 30 to 40 feet and that is why I am trying to get a downrigger hooked up this year so i can get down even deeper - and troll right through the bai fish clouds.

If thats the case - and this works - this would throw the whole light reading out the window...at least for that particular lake? I am going to try it though!!

So, this brings up another entirely different question. I have been told to not troll too deep - cause walleyes always feed up? But what about when a person is slow trolling lindy rigs on the bottom?? I have caught many walleye doing this and the bait is dragging right along the rocks on the bottom?

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  • 1 month later...

I am of the opion that walleye do tend to feed up, especially as they get bigger and older. But this has more to do with forage preference as I see it.

Schooling forage can best be ambushed and fed upon if caught out in the open, walleye like to hunt like a wolf. They fallow the herd, and run in and scatter the school and then pick off the vulnerable. Or they ambush feed...they are very good at the ambush, then they like to use mud lines, weed lines, land and shoreline structure, temperature barriers / thermocline, and current as there base to attack from.

In your lake example you found the food, schooling fish suspended, the walleye will be fallowing them and you have patterned that already. What you may now find with temp and clarity reading is the logic behind the depths they chose to suspend in. This may help you down the line to better patten them more quickly.

The Color-C-Lector® will do much the same as the Sechhi Disk test..sorta. Some also show the temp, they are handy.

6.jpg

Modern sonar has the capacity to find thermoclines, and we can make some assumptions more quickly as to location and temp with the sonar alone. Very often the only way to really know what is influencing the location of the fish is to do submerged temp readings, to be certain. Calculating light penetration helps in color choice and best guess depth range.

In the end we can do our best to narrow it down. Then, we still need to get them fish to bite.

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