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th365thli

Muddy water from rain, but water level stays the same?

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I tried fishing today in muddy water at my local reservoir. Conventional wisdom says fish shallow because they feed shallow. But what do you do if the water level stays the same? Our county alters the water levels and when there is rainfall they will release water such that the water level stays the same. Had a tough day today trying to figure out what to do. They were definitely not biting shallow. 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, th365thli said:

Conventional wisdom says fish shallow because they feed shallow.

No . Deep bass eat too .

 

Usually muddy water brings fish shallow . Your definition  of muddy and mine  might be different things . One to Two inches of visibility , now thats muddy .

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Yeah so it was definitely inches of visibility. And definitely really muddy for California waters. Deep bass of course still feed, I wasn't saying they don't, but they are going to be extremely hard to catch in muddy water, so most people fish shallow. However that assumes the water level is rising as well presenting new opportunities for cover. In my case the water level did not rise at all. 

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Off colored water puts bass tighter to cover.

 

Crankbaits, Lipless Crankbaits, Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits ricocheted of cover is a good idea.

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Agree with @Catt here... I would go after a reaction bite.  When the clarity changes in my local water they get finicky (is that a real word or a regional thing)? for a couple days.  It seems like after a few days of adjusting they go back to their normal behavior.  

 

@th365thli I'll gladly trade you places for a couple days and try and figure them out... My moving baits are less than effective in ice

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Lol sounds good guys I’m gonna try again Saturday and throw cranks and spinners

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TH365, as the water becomes stained to very stained to muddy/dirty, the bass will no longer be able to see as they did in clearer water so they will sit next to anything that they believe will give them cover, protection, and maybe have an easy meal swim by.

 

One little blade of grass, known as a "stickup" can hold a big bass as she just sits there thinking she is safe from predators.

 

So when the water starts to go from stained to very stained to dirty/muddy, think about what Catt penned and throw your moving baits that have a lot of vibration and bounce them off anything you can hit with them.

 

In one of my club's tournaments, the guy who won it on the Potomac was just floating back to the ramp in Aquia Creek when he threw a spinnerbait at a small stickup. He caught a 6 pounder and he won the tournament. He was not doing anything special. Just meandering back to the Hope Springs ramp when he saw the stickup and decided to throw to it.

 

There is a submerged stump on the Rappahannock River in Virginia that sits by itself and you can usually catch one off of it first thing in the morning. Nothing to get excited about but at least one keeper in the boat. You can never see this stump, even on low tide. You just have to know where it is.

 

So look for anything sitting in the water by itself and throw to it. Throw to it many times, too. Not just once or twice. And change presentations and angles, too. Don't give up on a spot before you hit it a lot of times.

 

Have fun!

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So a lot of people have been giving general rules in muddy water. But no one has said anything about the water level staying the same. So it seems that most people think that the water level itself won't matter that much. 

 

If I interpreted that wrong someone please correct me. 

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As previously said, the fish will cling to cover. I’d go with something that makes noise and/or vibrates. Squarebill, lipless, spinnerbaits are all good choices. If the fish won’t move for a bait, try heavy jig like 3/4. Bang it around in the cover and cause some comotion with it. 

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2 hours ago, th365thli said:

So a lot of people have been giving general rules in muddy water. But no one has said anything about the water level staying the same. So it seems that most people think that the water level itself won't matter that much. 

 

If I interpreted that wrong someone please correct me. 

OK, water levels.

 

When the dam is opened and the lake starts to lose water, the bass will start to feed.

 

They will come out of the grass, pads, under docks, and out of creeks to find deeper water.

 

On tidal rivers the bass eat during a falling tide and the first hour of an incoming tide, while taking a break for the hour before the tides change direction.

 

Yes, water levels play a part in bass fishing. An example of this was on Buggs Island when the water level was "in the trees." Not "in the bushes" like we love, but really high on the banks so it was "in the trees." So what did we do? We threw spinnerbaits to the newly flooded areas where the bass would go to recon and look for an easy meal. And we did really well that day.

 

Is there anyway you can call a phone number for the municipal or governmental entity who controls the water levels of the lake/reservoir you fish by opening the dam? If so, you need to call and either speak with someone or get a recording to find out the level of "normal pool" and then call in to see what the water level is for that day. Or find their web page that has the information.

 

Buggs Island has a full pool of 300 and we like the water level to be 306 where it will be "in the bushes" a/k/a good flipping and pitching conditions.

 

Try to find out when the water will be "pulled" so you will know when they will be lowering the water level.

 

And you can track the water levels each day to see when they are getting high enough for the dam to open.

 

Remember, even though you get rain, heavy or not, the water levels of a lake may not increase due to the volume of water needed to increase the level by an inch. The rain can warm or cool the water temperature and make the water clarity worse.

 

Good luck and I hope you can contact the dam operations center and find out the level details and where you can find them.

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2 hours ago, th365thli said:

So a lot of people have been giving general rules in muddy water. But no one has said anything about the water level staying the same. So it seems that most people think that the water level itself won't matter that much. 

 

If I interpreted that wrong someone please correct me. 

If the water level isn't changing , then it's not a "variable" to consider

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26 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

If the water level isn't changing , then it's not a "variable" to consider

 

While the water level isn't drastically changing it is still changing.

 

What is more important is a current is being created which once again places bass tight to cover & on the down current side. 

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Is it possible the fish shut down because it's a condition they are not use to or possibly the condition that is infrequent?

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45 minutes ago, Spankey said:

Is it possible the fish shut down because it's a condition they are not use to or possibly the condition that is infrequent?

As I understand it, the fish learn from instinct to feed with moving water.

 

So when the tide goes out it creates current that triggers the bass to feed. The tide also stirs up the bottom which means the smaller bait fish and crawfish will start to move around.

 

When the tide stops and waits for the incoming tide to start, the bass just rest and are not aggressive feeders.

 

This is why we try to have the tide go out in the morning of our tournaments so we can enjoy the bass being aggressive feeders.

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I fish a lake where the water level always stays within a foot or two   . The bass   come shallow if the water  is muddy . I have a hunch bass dont like to live where there in no visibility   . I use to have a light meter on a probe and there could be very little light just five foot down .

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14 hours ago, th365thli said:

Our county alters the water levels and when there is rainfall they will release water such that the water level stays the same.

 

The bass are accustom to these conditions. While there isn't huge swings in the lake level there is still changes none the less. 

 

This constant release of water creates a current which will help with how "muddy" the water becomes. The upper end will be the most off colored & the lower end will be cleanest.

 

The types of cover will also determine water clarity, vegetation (grass) helps filter the water.

 

Ya gotta look at the entire scenario, water level, water clarity, current, season, available cover, & types of structure.

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I'd do the same stuff you did. Sometimes it doesn't work. I'd target visible cover with a dark jig, bladed jig and/or spinnerbait. Make some noise. Bump into stuff.

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4 hours ago, scaleface said:

I fish a lake where the water level always stays within a foot or two   . The bass   come shallow if the water  is muddy . I have a hunch bass dont like to live where there in no visibility   . I use to have a light meter on a probe and there could be very little light just five foot down .

I've experienced that with river smallies. I'll fish some of those conditions. But I'll be honest, on the river I'm not interested in that initial muddy water and excessive currents immediately following a storm. 

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5 hours ago, Sam said:

As I understand it, the fish learn from instinct to feed with moving water.

 

So when the tide goes out it creates current that triggers the bass to feed. The tide also stirs up the bottom which means the smaller bait fish and crawfish will start to move around.

 

When the tide stops and waits for the incoming tide to start, the bass just rest and are not aggressive feeders.

 

This is why we try to have the tide go out in the morning of our tournaments so we can enjoy the bass being aggressive feeders.

I experience that when fishing the lower tidal section of the Susquehanna. I Seem to fish better during the incoming tie. Change between tides is Slack tide or Ebb tide it is referred to I believe. Not sure if the same as OP has posted about. The Cali guys are getting slammed with some big rain right now or this past week. I would think those weather conditions could throw things way off.

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23 minutes ago, Spankey said:

I experience that when fishing the lower tidal section of the Susquehanna. I Seem to fish better during the incoming tie. Change between tides is Slack tide or Ebb tide it is referred to I believe. Not sure if the same as OP has posted about. The Cali guys are getting slammed with some big rain right now or this past week. I would think those weather conditions could throw things way off.

Yes, slack tide is what we call it down here in Virginia.

 

You should also do well on a falling tide as we do with our Potomac tournaments out of Aquia Creek.

 

Big storms out in Cali heading this way but lucky for us the storm will go north of Virginia and maybe Maryland, too.

 

Take care and be safe if you get hit with snow and ice.

 

Do you fish North River? I fished it with a pro and had a fantastic time.

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11 hours ago, Catt said:

 

The bass are accustom to these conditions. While there isn't huge swings in the lake level there is still changes none the less. 

 

This constant release of water creates a current which will help with how "muddy" the water becomes. The upper end will be the most off colored & the lower end will be cleanest.

 

The types of cover will also determine water clarity, vegetation (grass) helps filter the water.

 

Ya gotta look at the entire scenario, water level, water clarity, current, season, available cover, & types of structure.

So I should clarify the water level statements. Sometimes there are swings, sometimes there aren't. Some months or years the water level WILL rise like last year. And then some years like this year they'll let it out. That's a good tidbit about current. I think I need to explain that the reservoirs near my house are different than reservoirs from river systems. They are not like the spidery, fingery, shaped lakes of the east coast. Moreover, they tend to be devoid of a lot of cover we're traditionally used to, like laydowns, stumps, bushes. The bottoms are smooth and flat on the depth finder. The cover I mainly fish are rocks. In the late spring and summer the grass will also hold fish. However in the winter they'll retreat to the deepest rocks. That's why the muddy water is frustrating, because it's very difficult to fish muddy water deep, but shoreline cover is very limited (the grass is died out). I know it sounds like I'm making excuses but believe me I tried all the suggestions today.

I did go out again today and caught one fish, but in deeper water, on a rocky point with slight current. The rains temporarily stopping for the next week or so, meaning the water will eventually clear up, but I almost want it stay muddy so I can figure this out 😛

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16 minutes ago, th365thli said:

but I almost want it stay muddy so I can figure this out 😛

 

Being able to say, "I figured em out" is why I fish!

 

What ya catch the one on?

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

 

Being able to say, "I figured em out" is why I fish!

 

What ya catch the one on?

Absolutely my man.

 

Brown/Purple Keitech football jig with a green pumpkin purple Yamamoto hula grub. Had to slow wayyyy down. Picked apart a bunch of spots but only had that one fish. I probably dragged it right over its head. I wish I had a dark colored grub, but green pumpkin is all I had. 

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14 minutes ago, th365thli said:

I probably dragged it right over its head. I

 

It's cold off colored moving water, one of the most difficult conditions to fish!

 

Ya gonna have to "cover" water while picking it apart.

 

I still say they will be tight to the laydowns, stumps, brush, or rocks.

 

And yes ya might have to hit em the head 😉

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19 hours ago, Sam said:

Yes, slack tide is what we call it down here in Virginia.

 

You should also do well on a falling tide as we do with our Potomac tournaments out of Aquia Creek.

 

Big storms out in Cali heading this way but lucky for us the storm will go north of Virginia and maybe Maryland, too.

 

Take care and be safe if you get hit with snow and ice.

 

Do you fish North River? I fished it with a pro and had a fantastic time.

When I head down that way I put in at NorthEast MD and at Susquehanna State Park. I'm in S.E. Penna it's not to big of a road trip to go on down. I'm dying to get down to Chickahomney for a few days. And this season I'd like to give it heck for a couple of days fishing the Sasafrass River in the Upper Chesapeake.

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