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Water question


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Alright, i've always wondered about this but have just now gotten around to asking about it. On the surface of a lake sometimes there will be sections of water that look like they are windblown with a little movement to them and just a few feet away, the water will be glass smooth. There doesn't appear to be a pattern to it that i can tell however i have noticed that it appears in the same spots on the lake i fish most of the time. The question is, what causes it? Is it differences in depth or just wind patterns? Maybe something else i don't know about?

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Very good Q and I have no idea. I see it all the time to. I don't know if the weeds that are just under the surface have anything to do or is it just the wind?

Things that make you say Hmm.

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Water in a perfectly still state is "glass smooth". And you have answered your own question.Wind. The air is never static, or perfectly still. The glassy appearence of the water is caused by the surface tension of the water itself and when little wisps of moving air hit it at the right angle or speed, you get these random areas of surface disturbance. As you mentioned, many times you are hardly aware of the "wind" that causes this.

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Sure life happens- why wait....The Crapster....good fishing guys!

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What you may be seeing is a slight current.When there is current the wind has a harder time making waves when it is blowing with the current.If the current is going in the opposite directions the waves can become larger than normal.The water in a lake can have current caused by differnt temps or depths of water.
This is just one of many things that could be happening.
Weed beds just below the surface may also block the effects that the wind has on it,prevent the wind from moving the water.

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You might belooking at a temperature inversion on the surface. Warm water and cold water dont mix. It's also known as a slick. Next time run across it with your depth finder, check out the surface temp difference on one side to the other. You might find a 3-5 degree difference or so across the line. We look for them on Lake Superior at certain times of the year for fishing on the surface. I 'm not saying that's what your looking at, but if you check the temps, it might be.

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Thanks everybody. I still am unsure of the answer though. I got 4 different posts to try to sort out. Oh well, no big deal. Just curious thats all. That's what i love about this forum, everyone is willing to share and we get so many different opinions, it makes it interesting. Thanks again

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Sailing types call this affect a cat's paw. It's a light breeze that ruffles small areas of a water surface. A sailor will watch and navigate toward these areas in light wind. On days when there's little chop, we'll watch for the ripples to appear over known reefs and sunken islands.

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so, the disturbance only happens over shallower water or weeds? Could the disturbance be used to locate sunken islands or points or flats or other shallow areas?

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I was out last night on Medicine and saw this again smile.gif But it was all over. I was fishing a mid lake hump and deeper water was close by. This "slick" was on the hump with weeds touching the surface in spots and in deep water. Just spots here and there and all around.

I asked my friend Bill what he thought. He thought it was the suns reflection as the wind remained pretty consistant from the east.

I don't have a temp so I couldn't verify the temp theroy.

I see this all the time. Its just one of life's great mysteries I guess.

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There are different things about all the interactions of living and non-living components of a lake ecosystem, that allows for the surface film to have varying degrees of surface tension. Natural surfactants formed by decomposing vegetation, and oils from runoff and exhaust lower the surface tension of the surface film making it more prone to wave action. Why it occurs more in some areas rather than others depends on surface temps, underwater structure, submerged and emergent vegetation, currents, or other dynamic interactions. Check out a limnology textbook for more info on wave formation.

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As far as I can tell they are rogue wind currents, or jet streams. Often these will blow strait down or at an agle creating ripples or slack looking water. I have also heard this on espn outdoors. I also have a theory in progress: underwater warm water spring forces warm water up to the surface creating slack looking water. Not unlike the effect that happens when you put a water hose in a bucket and push it down to the bottem. Also often times there are underwater weed that grow just below the surface and keep the water still on windy days. Just a couple thoughts.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Did someone say my name? smile.gif

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