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Differences Between Lakes/reservoirs & Rivers

Lakes/reservoir rivers bass difference baits

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#1 DelfiBoyz_One_and_Only

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Posted March 10 2013 - 09:39 AM

Have you ever noticed the differences between lakes and rivers? I mean it's almost day and night. The true questions is "why do the same bass act so differently depending on where they live?"  It's even different above a dam and below the dam, it's the same water isn't it? The type of food is more or less the same, with baitfish, bugs, crayfish, etc.

For many years now I have noticed average fishermen that fish the river come to the reservoir and get skunked or catch only a few drinks. I am also speaking from my experiences. It takes different colors, sounds, sizes, depths and techniques to catch them on the lakes and reservoirs vs the river. I mean even some Bassmaster Elite fisherman have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to this, but why? I have noticed these differences from NJ to FL and from the east coast to AR.

What are your experiences with fishing both lakes/reservoirs and rivers?



#2 Long Mike

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Posted March 10 2013 - 10:04 AM

I've found that I can get skunked regardless of the body of water in which I'm fishing.


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#3 DelfiBoyz_One_and_Only

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Posted March 10 2013 - 10:20 AM

Anyone can get skunked, that's why it's called fishing and not catching. Just ask Chris Lane!

#4 WRB

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Posted March 10 2013 - 12:01 PM

Bass are bass or are they LMB, SM or Spotted bass? There are 4 more less common bass, plus the differences between Flodia strain and Northern strain LMB and Alabama and Kentucty strain spotted bass.
Lakes are also different; natural and man made impoundments. Man made impoundment are also very different depending on geography of the location and purpose of the dam; water storage, flood control, power generation. Reservoirs types; Canyon, Highland, Lowland, Flatland and Hill land.
When you combine all those factors there is a big difference between lakes and rivers.
Current is a big factor, type of bass is very important, depth and water fluctuation affects types of cover, prey and water temperature, type of lakes is very important, the differences between natural and man made affects where the bass of various type tend to locate and what type of prey source the bass prefer.
In a nut shell, that is the basic differences.
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#5 iabass8

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Posted March 10 2013 - 12:07 PM

I love river fishing. Current and fluctuating water levels are, imo, the two most important factors when fishing a river. lots of fish on rivers relate to current breaks, eddys, rock transitions and washout spots on wingdams.  constant rising and dropping river levels can have you fishing in a backyard one day and out in the main channel the next.



#6 roadwarrior

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Posted March 10 2013 - 02:24 PM

On a river, current trumps all other variables.

 

 

 

 

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#7 Sam

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Posted March 10 2013 - 05:38 PM

Rivers - beat the shoreline and any structure you see.

Lakes/Reserviors - Open water structure.

 

Many river fishermen who fish lakes fish the bank and any docks, piers or boat houses and do not fish in open water.

 

Many lake fishermen do not understand tidal current and that beating the bank is the way to go on a river.


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#8 DelfiBoyz_One_and_Only

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Posted March 10 2013 - 06:11 PM

Sam you nailed it on the head!

Bank fishing on lakes can be productive but usually in deeper bluff type walls often over looked by river fisherman. Around here it seems that lake or reservoir bass live the deeper water. River fish prefer the shallower shaded cover.

#9 reason

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Posted March 10 2013 - 07:01 PM

Must be the different patterns...



#10 Loop_Dad

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Posted March 12 2013 - 02:11 AM

I am still trying to understand the river fish at California Delta.

 

Many bass fishermen there appears to forget about LMB and just switch to striper fishing during winter months. (Thank god it is spring now.) All those writings about bass behavior talks about lakes, but less so about rivers. For example, I have no idea where those bass from back slough go during the winter months. Unlike lakes, the real deep waters are far away. Do they just bunch up in nearest sort of deep water (like 10 feet) and just get through the winter? Or do  they travel more distance than lake bass to find the real deep water? I don't know. If someone knows a good book about river bass's behavior, I would appreciate if you let me know.


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#11 jhoffman

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Posted March 12 2013 - 11:25 AM

In the winter, the best place to find the bass on a river is a warm water outlet of some kind. Be it a spring or a power plant.



#12 Paul Roberts

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Posted March 12 2013 - 11:49 AM

On a river, current trumps all other variables.

Ditto.

 

Outside of that generalization, what separates water body types is the physical and chemical parameters that influence structure, cover, and food chains. At times, reservoirs can be more lake like or river like, depending on water draw. At times, lakes and reservoirs have pond-like or river-like characterisitcs within. And at times I see pond-like characteristics in rivers. It's about recognizing habitat, whatever you call the water body.



#13 WRB

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Posted March 12 2013 - 08:07 PM

Smallmouth and spotted are river bass that have adapted to lakes and impoundments. Largemouth are lake bass that have adapted to rivers and impoundments. Impoundments being man made reservoirs and lakes.
Current isn't important to largemouth bass genetically, they have learned current can bring them food, even slight current.
Current is essential to smallmouth and spotted bass and they have learned when in lakes to roam to search for prey that they genetically expect current to bring to them.
In a river the LMB seeks slack water areas with little to no current. In an impoundment SMB and Spots seek current areas, even slight current created by wind waves across points and up welling over structures.
Bass are bass but the different species behave differently because they are genetically wired differently.
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#14 DelfiBoyz_One_and_Only

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Posted March 12 2013 - 08:22 PM

That is a very interesting theory WRB. I agree with some of it. I have caught bigger bass on slack protected water in the river. I also have seen the Bass in a reservoir really turn on when some current was present.

It seems like fish in the river are very quick to strike where lake and reservoir fish are a little more finicky. Reservoir/lake fish though finicky seem to fight harder in my opinion than river fish, unless your river fish is caught in heavy current.

Has anyone else notice this to be true?

#15 WRB

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Posted March 12 2013 - 09:25 PM

Largemouth bass come in 2 species; northern strain and Florida strain. The northern strain was introduced west of the Mississippi River in the late 1800's, followed by smallmouth bass and Kentucky (northern) spotted bass. Largemouth were planted in lakes, smallmouth and spots in rivers, similar to there native areas and thrived. Anglers introduced the different bass into rivers and lakes or by natural migration in some areas.
To survive the different bass had to adjust to new environments. For example Threadfin shad were introduced in the west about 1950 in the Colorado river drainage; lakes Mead, Mojave and Havasu. The bass populations exploded in numbers and size with the new pelagic baitfish. The bass learned to move away from shoreline cover and feed on shad in mid lake areas over very deep water. So much for the theory that bass need structure to navigate, these bass could be found miles off shore in water over 300' deep! The largemouth bass adjusted to their new environment.
1959 Florida strain largemouth bass were introduced out west in San Diego CA. FLMB had to make adjustments to the new environment; little to no weed beds or shallow water zones. The lakes are deep structure lakes with little cover and steep rocky banks, very different than any water found in the natural range.
FLMB are genetically wired to seek larger prey fish, the shad didn't fill that niche when these larger adults wanted larger prey, so they targeted rainbow trout, also pelagic fish that live off shore. The NLMB didn't target trout, they preferred the smaller size shad that they are genetically wired to target.
1970 Alabama spotted bass arrive to SoCal and planted into lake Perris, following the success of the FlMB program to provide larger bass for the general public. Without LMB to compete with the Alabama spots grow to record size in record time, the program is a success and the Alabama (southern) spotted bass spread state wide, like the FLMB population.
My point....bass are different genetically and can adapt extremely well to their ecosystem, but still retain there basic behavior traits.
Fish that move around and swim against current are stronger pound for pound then fish that live in areas where they don't need to have good muscle tone. Smallmouth and spotted bass are stronger than largemouth bass pound for pound. The health and physical condition determine the fighting power.
Tom




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