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ChrisAW

What's The Chances Of A Kill-Off?

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I moved in to an apartment complex that has shore line property. While it was too late in the year to get my boat out on it, I have been going out ice fishing on it and I have had very little success. So far, any other fisherman I've talked to have had the same experience. One man I talked to said he used to catch jumbo Perch in this lake, and hasn't found any yet this year. He has lived there a while, while not mentioning actually seeing any dead fish, suggested that he thinks there was a fish kill after last winter. So I was curious...

 

This lake is about 70 acres, and is connected to a rather big river chain in my area, the Clinton River. You can see in the picture I attached, the shore line is rather short before dropping off. The eastern half has a rather deep bowl. I haven't measured in the middle so I don't know max depth. But I know it can drop off from 8ft to 36ft in one area, in less than a boats length.

 

Could a lake that's river fed, and has such deep water have a kill off? 

 

I'm no master ice fisherman, I know I'm probably just not finding them, but hours spent with little more than one 10" bass (albeit healthy looking) doesn't seem right to me either.

 

I would gladly take any tips on where you might fish this lake as well while the ice is on.

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I believe oxygen and depth are key for the killoffs (if i remember correctly) but for the size and depth of the lake I don't see any reason for a kill especially if it is river fed. Could be simple natural population fluctuation or since fish can be grouped so tightly in the winter if you aren't on them you can have a bad day.

 

now if it was a 3 acre pond with a max depth of 6 feet then you might have to worry about a kill being that far north.

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I could write a whole book on the changes in the bluegill fishing this year as compared to last year before the winter kill kicked in.  Your lake may very well have suffered a winter kill like ours did, but based on what I've found NW of you, I doubt it took every fish in the lake.  Here's what I've found this year during my three trips to the same lakes I fishing on the ice during  the winter of 2013/14.

 

First, there are less overall fish but the keeper to dink ratio has shifted to more keepers and way less dinks. My take it that it was the dinks that died and the surviving fish grew better due to reduced competition for food during last summer's growth season.

 

Second, First ice produced like normal, but January trips have proven much harder to get bites.  I can watch fish swim up to my bait on my Vexilar, but they either sit there ignoring it, or bite so lightly it is hard to hook them. 

 

Finally, I made dramatic switches to my presentations in order to get consistent bites.  I dropped down to lighter line, reduced the size of my teardrops, and went back to using a slip bobber.  My current rigs are made up of 24"-30" UL rods (Cadillac Elites) with small spinning reels.  Main line is the same stuff I was using before (3# Vicious Hi-Vis Yellow) but I now have a 18" leader of 1# or 2# Berkley Clear Ice Line.  Teardrops are either 1mm or 3mm Tungsten, and baits have shifted to almost nothing but White or Red Spikes.  The bobbers I'm using are Thill brand slip bobbers (small yellow top size and slightly larger red top).  I also use an extra rod rigged up with a Hali Jig that I will use to attract fish into the area.

 

My last day on the water was this last Saturday afternoon.  I setup on a weed bed that still had green weeds in 18' of water.  My rigs were setup 3' to 4' off bottom.  Jigging the Hali until fish showed up on the flasher, I would gently work both bobber rods until the fish rose up to the baits and at that point I would deadstick them.  The bites were still light, but you could see small ripples form around the bobber as they nipped at the bait.  Several times, all I saw was the bobber slowly moving on its own across the hole!

 

It's tough fishing right now, but here is what I would suggest as you are on new to you water.  Drill a lot of holes, use a flasher to look for fish, and use a small an UL offering that you can to get the fish you find to bite.  It takes a lot of teasing, but I think you'll find some biters if you look hard enough.

 

BTW - If you are targeting perch, I would really think about picking up some of these Hali Jigs that you can bait with minnows or wigglers.  They are great producers through the ice.

 

Dang, it almost was a book!

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I'm using a lot of what you suggested already, besides the Hali's. There's very little water under most of the ice on this lake. It might get 6 feet deep in some area's before dropping off to those 30+ft depths. From what I can tell on my sonar, it is mostly silty/muddy bottoms in the deeper areas. The shallow flats seem to have good, green weeds still.

 

But yeah, thats mainly what I've been doing is just drilling any likely area's. Just not much luck yet. I guess I need to start working the deeper water more and see what I can find.

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Are you marking any fish at all?

 

I love my Vexilar and would hate to fish without it, but there are days when you don't see any fish and it can get frustrating.  I would still suggest that you rig up a Hali Jig to use while you are doing your searches.  Even if the fish won't bite it, it will draw them in.

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I moved in to an apartment complex that has shore line property. While it was too late in the year to get my boat out on it, I have been going out ice fishing on it and I have had very little success. So far, any other fisherman I've talked to have had the same experience. One man I talked to said he used to catch jumbo Perch in this lake, and hasn't found any yet this year. He has lived there a while, while not mentioning actually seeing any dead fish, suggested that he thinks there was a fish kill after last winter. So I was curious...

 

This lake is about 70 acres, and is connected to a rather big river chain in my area, the Clinton River. You can see in the picture I attached, the shore line is rather short before dropping off. The eastern half has a rather deep bowl. I haven't measured in the middle so I don't know max depth. But I know it can drop off from 8ft to 36ft in one area, in less than a boats length.

 

Could a lake that's river fed, and has such deep water have a kill off? 

 

I'm no master ice fisherman, I know I'm probably just not finding them, but hours spent with little more than one 10" bass (albeit healthy looking) doesn't seem right to me either.

 

I would gladly take any tips on where you might fish this lake as well while the ice is on.

Normally, a lake that deep shouldn't suffer winterkill. Although it might in shallower areas with lots of vegetation that do not get refreshed by exchange with the main basin or river flow. You're pretty far north, but near the big lake I see -not in the UP.

 

I'm glad you included the image. Seeing all the development around the lake it probably receives plenty of nutrient and silt runoff -unless maybe there is an influential lake association active. Such runoff could shift BOD (biological oxygen demand) to decomposers (bacteria) and cause oxygen deficiencies beneath the ice, but probably only -again- in shallow stagnant areas.

 

The waters in my area that are at risk of winterkill are small shallow and heavily vegetated. But, I'm south of you. The further north you go, the colder, snowier, and longer the winters. Waters need to be deeper, and cleaner, to support good fish popns over time. I'm guessing your lake is not getting winterkilled but you might have areas with low oxygen and may need to keep looking. Might want to ask your regional fisheries biologists. They might have a good handle on things there.

 

Good luck with it. Sure is nice having a place so close to home.

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Are you marking any fish at all?

 

I love my Vexilar and would hate to fish without it, but there are days when you don't see any fish and it can get frustrating.  I would still suggest that you rig up a Hali Jig to use while you are doing your searches.  Even if the fish won't bite it, it will draw them in.

 

I do use a Lowrance Elite 4 with an Iceducer, so I've been searching for movement and fishing for maybe a few minutes each hole. But the only movement I've found is the one bass that I did catch.

 

Normally, a lake that deep shouldn't suffer winterkill. Although it might in shallower areas with lots of vegetation that do not get refreshed by exchange with the main basin or river flow. You're pretty far north, but near the big lake I see -not in the UP.

 

I'm glad you included the image. Seeing all the development around the lake it probably receives plenty of nutrient and silt runoff -unless maybe there is an influential lake association active. Such runoff could shift BOD (biological oxygen demand) to decomposers (bacteria) and cause oxygen deficiencies beneath the ice, but probably only -again- in shallow stagnant areas.

 

The waters in my area that are at risk of winterkill are small shallow and heavily vegetated. But, I'm south of you. The further north you go, the colder, snowier, and longer the winters. Waters need to be deeper, and cleaner, to support good fish popns over time. I'm guessing your lake is not getting winterkilled but you might have areas with low oxygen and may need to keep looking. Might want to ask your regional fisheries biologists. They might have a good handle on things there.

 

Good luck with it. Sure is nice having a place so close to home.

 

The water is pretty clear, and does get a little deep atleast. There are what looks to be pretty good, green weeds on the bottom, but not very thick. It is probably weed killed yearly, being a private lake. Its hard sandy bottom on most of the shallow areas. I get softer returns on my sonar when it starts to drop off, so the bottom probably starts to get muddier.

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