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PropWash's Effect on Fish


TruthWalleyes

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I never realized how much cavitiation boat motors created until viewing it on my humminbird. Here are a few pictures of propwash. These air bubbles will last in the water 5-15 minutes.

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I always figured that on busy days (Ski boats zooming around) that the fish shut down because of the noise and activity.

Seeing all the cavitation on the screen makes me think twice before zooming over a piece of structure that i'm about to fish.

What are your opinions on the effect of propwash and fish biting?

I have conflicted opinions on this because i see fish in these first two pictures, and it doesn't seem to skatter them like i would have assumed.

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Lots of guys troll for muskies right in the propwash and catch fish.

I would think it might have more of a negative effect on smaller species being tossed around in that water.

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I have seen many instances where prop wash or the noise associated with it, has got the smallmouth bass biting. Perhaps the prop wash disorients baitfish or maybe it just stirs up zooplankton and the rest of the food chain follows. I also believe it can have negative effects on fish as well. Very cool screenshots!!

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years ago i was told to rip through the area i was going to fish for pike because it makes them mad or aggressive. well never did that, just didn't think it would work, so i dont know. i do know that when out in my brothers larger boat on lake superior we caught lake trout behind the boat on the surface behind the propwash [a ways back but you could see the effects of the prop still].

in canada we had the motor running at times fishing for walleys with no negative effects. never tried that here because i like things quiet except when trolling. good luck.

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Years ago I used to fish a couple very small lakes about 10 - 40 acres. When the fish would quit biting we would race the boat around the lake for 10 - 15 minutes and start fishing again. Usually the fishing picked up quite a bit. I have tried it on larger lakes with more boat traffic and the results are not noticed nearly as much as on the small lakes. Not really sure why but just an observation.

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I will purposely throw a nice wake into a "slop" matted area when chasing largemouth. I will sneak up on the area the first time I fish it, but like to shake things up a bit if I am returning to a spot later in the day. Sometimes they will reposition in the mat after the disturbance and it gets them on alert for any bait that had to do the same.

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I always find it amazing how close to a running kicker motor we catch walleyes on bouncers and spinners. Some times right under the back of the boat.

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although very unscientific i have seen where outboard activity aid in fishing. i was fishing off shore at a boat landing where the landing itself is sheltered in a small man made bay. around this bay are great areas to fish off shore. fishing for panfish i was getting just some luck, nothing special. i moved over by the entry of this little landing area and my luck changed right away. it seemed to me that the prop wash stirred up the bottom attracting the fish looking for food. boats were going very slow, but i think the prop stired up the bottom enough to attract the crappies, bluegils, and a few bass. ten feet away-little or none. good luck.

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My go-to Pike tactic is a 4 1/2" red and white spoon trolled 40-50' back on the deep weedline in the prop wash.

I can't say anything about other species but always works well for Pike.

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I do agree prop wash can have a positive effect.

Not to still the thread but this side imaging is new to me; you say there are fish in the first two pictures. Where?

Thanks

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although very unscientific i have seen where outboard activity aid in fishing. i was fishing off shore at a boat landing where the landing itself is sheltered in a small man made bay. around this bay are great areas to fish off shore. fishing for panfish i was getting just some luck, nothing special. i moved over by the entry of this little landing area and my luck changed right away. it seemed to me that the prop wash stirred up the bottom attracting the fish looking for food. boats were going very slow, but i think the prop stired up the bottom enough to attract the crappies, bluegils, and a few bass. ten feet away-little or none. good luck.

I've seen the same thing for sunfish near the landing. Fisherman on shore actually asked me to make sure and push some water around to stir up bait and get the fish active again. Out of curiousity I did as they asked and stayed around to see the results...those fisherman were right. I had barely backed away and they were catching big gills. I hadn't noticed them catching anything while I was landing the boat so that must have been the trick. I don't know why I haven't tried applying it for my own purposes but probably will thanks to this thread reminding me and superduty's tip.

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Works for Catfish too. Always seem to get a bite or two as a barge passes. In fact I know a guy that that radios over and tells em to "giver nutz as you go by" grin

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I do agree prop wash can have a positive effect.

Not to still the thread but this side imaging is new to me; you say there are fish in the first two pictures. Where?

Thanks

those are cool images, and yes where are these fish you see? Break out your madden telestrator and circle them grin

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where are these fish you see? Break out your madden telestrator and circle them grin

The team that scores the most points today is going to be the victor! laugh "Classic Madden Knowledge"

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On Humminbird side imaging, the fish show up as "small grains of rice"

The first picture is just smaller panfish and baitfish. I'm coming out of deeper water (Sand bottom) and going into shallow water (Mud)

In the second picture we're most likely looking at walleyes, or bass slightly suspended.

This is a long transition area between sand/mud. As you can see the larger fish were stagedin the transition area, hugging the mud more so than the sand.

Great comments guys, I've heard of "Pulling Dawgs in the propwash" before.

I've often wondered if the stirring up of sediment gets the fish active...It must not get the walleyes active, or we'd be dragging a 2lb weight in the dirt pulling our spinners grin

I think the biggest suprise i've heard on this thread is how catfish became active with a passing barge...I've always tried to be as quiet as possible, but i guess in my stretch of the river, there are no barges, and very little people traffice. So that might make a difference.

Lets hear others stories about propwash and fish activity.

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About dragging sinkers. Years ago I fished with Joe Fellagy on Mille Lacs on his Launch. He was quite insistent that a person NOT drag their sinker in the mud and stir up the bottom. Yet, on Lake of the Woods we have often found the eyes literally on the very bottom in the clay/mud. In the winter I wonder if "pounding the bottom" with your lure doesn't stir something up in addition to supplying vibrations.

I agree that stirring up the bottom will reveal forage that normally hides there. However, too much prop wash shallow would seem to cause some damage as well. Especially when fish are spawning. (Not an expert, just my thoughts.)

Prop wash always worked well for northerns when speed trolling.

No doubt in my mind that some fish are attracted to the wash in semi-deeper water. I fish wahoo over very deep water on the Pacific and we drag our 2 lb Marauders literally 10 feet behind the boat at 6-8 knots. Nothing like a 60 lb hoo peeling line at 40 mph as they strike.

Also a theory that certain props and boats attract fish.

The pix are super! Thanks for sharing.

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Ok, I've got a very good story regarding propwash affecting a pike bite. 3 people out in a boat and tough night on the water (Black River in LaCrosse) until we got a small channel that we usually don't fish but decided to toss some cranks there this time. 8-12' deep and kind of up and down in the bottom, but this was an entrance to a no wake bay with alot of residences and typically pretty crappy fishing. We got a nice pike right away and several others taking swipes at our lures right near the boat. We were throwing DT6's and DT10's right down the center of this place, casting from one end all the way to the other (only about 100-130' long channel and 30'ish wide).

Well, we caught a few pike between 28-34" right away and then it just died off. 10 mins later we move off to the side so a pontoon can blow through there. I throw right behind the pontoon and get a fish immediately, so the other 2 follow suit and we've got a triple on our hands with pike over 30". Maybe 1 or 2 other lazy follows after that.

Another boat comes through another 10-15 mins later and we boat another 2-3 fish right behind their propwash. We literally would get excited when we saw a boat heading our direction (who does that?!) to go through this channel cause we knew we'd get fish.

Eventually I think we caught ever fish that was sitting in there cause we boated 15-20 pike that night and the smallest was 28", with the longest being 35". Needless to say, its the strangest pattern I have ever found, but it directly related to the boat traffic through this very tight and small channel.

Here are just a few of the one's we caught.

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John%2034.5in%20Black%206-20-09_w435_h58Steve%2032in%20Black%206-21-09_w435_h580

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