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Reservoir Type Highland or Lowland


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Well it's that time of year.  Looking to continue my learning and we just got through a cold snap where everything was frozen but now it's not.  I had heard Jacob Wheeler talk about Buck Perry and reading different post here in the forums saw his name come up.  So I started researching him and stumbled on this guy Don Dickson who seems to be a disciple of his and basically teaches his theories.  

 

I'm trying to apply the teachings to my lake, Lake Nockamixon in PA and I am trying to figure out what type of lake I fish.  I know there are some folks on here that fish Nockamixon as well and maybe they can chime in.  I had a different forum post before on this lake asking about specific structures and everyone was kind enough to help out.  Below is the link to my lake for those not from around my way.

 

https://webapp.navionics.com/#boating@11&key=azzuF|jajM

 

This should be an easy discussion that will not give away any secrets.  I had always thought that this lake was a Highland Reservoir.  According to Buck Perry and Don Dickson's teachings a Highland Reservoir has steep sides with no real defined points or sloping structures and is deep. Maybe something like you would find in the Rocky Mountains is what comes to my mind.

 

When I look at this lake it almost fills the Lowland Type 1 criteria.  While there are some step bluff banks there are also tapering points and sloping banks as well as plenty of vegetation.  But it can be deep 30ft average to 50 ft very quickly in places and toping out about 80ft.  To me I would consider as deep, maybe it's not really and I don't know what deep is.  Their Lowland Reservoir type 1 definition say no deeper than 30 ft.

 

So which one should I apply to my lake when going through these teachings to apply.  I know everything is relative but how relative to I go outside of the parameters or how close should keep.  Our terrain in PA is a hilly terrain.  It is not very flat and we are not in a mountainous area like the Rockies.  In fact the Poconos Mountains near by could be considered as glorified hills.

 

Appreciate your input and the discussion!

Shane

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Not every lake falls discretely into either category.  My main lake has many steep sides on one end, and mostly flat and shallow on the other.  It gets up to 100ft. and has a large chunk of the lake that at least 60ft. deep, yet is highly stained.  It has almost no vegetation, but lots of standing timber.  There are no creek channels, feeder creeks or tributaries.  It's all fed by a pipeline.  It started life as a large random valley in the middle of some flat-ish land that got turned into a man-made reservoir.  

 

And honestly, if fishes like either type at different times.  The good thing about having a main lake is that you can spend a lot of time on it and learn it really well.  And honestly, those tips and tricks with specific lake types work a lot better if you've never fished a lake before.  If you fish the same lake often, you're better off taking notes and developing your own guide.

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In- Fisherman defined 5 reservoir categories based on the terrain the man made dam formed the impoundment.

High Land; mountainous terrain*& ** 

Hill Land; hilly terrain*& **

Flat land; flat terrain** the plains lakes

Low Land; coastal terrain**

Canyon; deep steep walled canyon terrain* Colorado River lakes.

Dams

*Concrete power generation

**Earthen with concrete spillway, flood control-water storage

California reservoirs are High Land with 1 canyon lake Havasu and 1 natural bass lake, Clear Lake.

Tom

 

 

 

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I'd look at it at the specific area of the lake you are wanting to fish.... Some areas may fish like a highland reservoir and other parts may fish like a lowland. No reason you have to group the entire body of water into one category. You can't fish the whole lake at once anyhow. Try dividing it into thirds. Lower third. middle third. upper third. 

 

A lot of our lakes in WV have deep bluff canyon walls at the lowest end of the main lake by the dam, with sloping points throughout the middle, and a river running into the lake feeding it at the upper end. Some days each specific part fishes better. It just depends on the conditions and how things set up. 

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^^^typical High Land reservoir.

Tom

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I’d agree with Lowland Type 1. If you read Buck’s Home Study course, Volume 6 is all about lake types. Nowhere does it state that a Lowland Type 1 has a maximum depth limit. In fact, they give two separate examples of this type lake, one traditional and one more long and narrow like Nockamixon. Only the Flatlanders are shown with depths typically not exceeding 30-35 feet. Next closest to your lake would be a Highland Type 2 if you wanted an additional comparison. 

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6 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

I’d agree with Lowland Type 1. If you read Buck’s Home Study course, Volume 6 is all about lake types. Nowhere does it state that a Lowland Type 1 has a maximum depth limit. In fact, they give two separate examples of this type lake, one traditional and one more long and narrow like Nockamixon. Only the Flatlanders are shown with depths typically not exceeding 30-35 feet. Next closest to your lake would be a Highland Type 2 if you wanted an additional comparison. 

 

slight tangent ... do you think the course is worth buying if youve read spoonplugging?

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2 minutes ago, garroyo130 said:

 

slight tangent ... do you think the course is worth buying if youve read spoonplugging?


In most cases I’d say “yes.” Each volume goes into much greater detail on specific aspects (Mapping & Interpretation, Lake types, presentation of lures, etc.) and typically run 75-100 pages. There is also a “test” or “quiz” in each book that you can self grade to see how well you’ve grasped the material. All my Volumes are heavily highlighted ?

 

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19 hours ago, Bankc said:

Not every lake falls discretely into either category.  My main lake has many steep sides on one end, and mostly flat and shallow on the other.  It gets up to 100ft. and has a large chunk of the lake that at least 60ft. deep, yet is highly stained.  It has almost no vegetation, but lots of standing timber.  There are no creek channels, feeder creeks or tributaries.  It's all fed by a pipeline.  It started life as a large random valley in the middle of some flat-ish land that got turned into a man-made reservoir.  

 

And honestly, if fishes like either type at different times.  The good thing about having a main lake is that you can spend a lot of time on it and learn it really well.  And honestly, those tips and tricks with specific lake types work a lot better if you've never fished a lake before.  If you fish the same lake often, you're better off taking notes and developing your own guide.

I can see that and Kind of feel that way about this lake.  I suppose these shouldn't be treated as rules and just guidelines.  Something to put in the tool box as something to use in trying to figure out where they are.

 

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ive fished nockamixon and would consider it a lowland type reservoir. a little deeper than i would picture a classic lowland but certainly not highland.

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20 hours ago, garroyo130 said:

 

slight tangent ... do you think the course is worth buying if youve read spoonplugging?

If you go on you tube look up Don Dickson or Structure Fishing.  They are both channels and teaching Bucks Methods.  Both the same information Don Dickson is a little more long winded and the guy on Structure fishing is a little more brief.

 

Also The Structure fishing guy has video of Buck's lectures as well.

 

Might save you a few bucks for that bait you always wanted ;)

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20 hours ago, Team9nine said:

I’d agree with Lowland Type 1. If you read Buck’s Home Study course, Volume 6 is all about lake types. Nowhere does it state that a Lowland Type 1 has a maximum depth limit. In fact, they give two separate examples of this type lake, one traditional and one more long and narrow like Nockamixon. Only the Flatlanders are shown with depths typically not exceeding 30-35 feet. Next closest to your lake would be a Highland Type 2 if you wanted an additional comparison. 

Ok,  I guess that I thought since I heard the lakes are around 30 FT from the video's I was watching I think on the Don Dickson Channel, I assumed that was the rule. I guess the books are probably more detailed.

 

The water on the lake is medium stained.  Depends on the day.  Some days it's 1 - 1.5 other days 2ish and depending on the time of year with Fall being clearer I suppose.  There is another lake Blue Marsh around here and it looks like pea soup which I would call stained.

 

Nockamixon I am assuming is clearer because of all the vegetation to filter it. Where Blue Marsh is more rockier.

 

So I guess the best approach would be a blend of the 2 types.

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Remember, lake types are just a way of helping you to determine in advance what you might expect in the way of water color, depths, and possible structure situations. A guideline of sorts. Ultimately you have to check everything out once you get there. Your water clarity statement makes me suspect Lowland even more. Don trained under Buck, along with Tommy, but even so, there will always be slight differences in explanations and interpretations among individuals. When in doubt, I always fall back to Buck since he originated all this.

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after taking a closer look at the map, the little section down by the dam looks like a highland reservoir might. steeper banks, less shallow flats ,extended points etc.regardless of what you want to call it in the middle section you see some nice juicy channel swings, two nice drains running up int a large spawning cove.A submerged road bed running along the steep side of a point etc.several interesting things to check out.

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I haven't fished the Nock, but I've fished other PA reservoirs of that type.  I don't know the classifications to tell you what it is, but I can tell you how they tend to fish.  The Nock is a largemouth lake with some smallmouth.  Prespawn and spawn the LM will come shallower than you'd expect for the time of year and temp because they have so much deep water nearby.  Get out early in the year (this also beats the boat traffic).  Most of these lakes have smaller 'flats' for spawning so things like ledges in a cliff face or rock slides in that 2-8' depth range (which might be practically touching shore) will hold fish.  It will take a lot of in person looking and time on the water to find them, but when you do they are things you won't find on a map.  The upper ends of the coves will hold fish too.  Those coves normally have downed trees from the steep banks above and make some obvious places to fish.  Post spawn these lakes get tough.  A lot of the main lake doesn't have grass since it is steep rock banks.  Fish will pull back deeper and you'll want electronics to find them.  Finding points with good rock cover in 20-30' are where you'll catch most fish.  But, these lakes are typically also larger unlimited HP lakes that get a lot of boat traffic in the summer.  So get on the lake 2 hours before sunrise and fish until 2 hours after.  

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On 1/6/2023 at 2:09 PM, casts_by_fly said:

I haven't fished the Nock, but I've fished other PA reservoirs of that type.  I don't know the classifications to tell you what it is, but I can tell you how they tend to fish.  The Nock is a largemouth lake with some smallmouth.  Prespawn and spawn the LM will come shallower than you'd expect for the time of year and temp because they have so much deep water nearby.  Get out early in the year (this also beats the boat traffic).  Most of these lakes have smaller 'flats' for spawning so things like ledges in a cliff face or rock slides in that 2-8' depth range (which might be practically touching shore) will hold fish.  It will take a lot of in person looking and time on the water to find them, but when you do they are things you won't find on a map.  The upper ends of the coves will hold fish too.  Those coves normally have downed trees from the steep banks above and make some obvious places to fish.  Post spawn these lakes get tough.  A lot of the main lake doesn't have grass since it is steep rock banks.  Fish will pull back deeper and you'll want electronics to find them.  Finding points with good rock cover in 20-30' are where you'll catch most fish.  But, these lakes are typically also larger unlimited HP lakes that get a lot of boat traffic in the summer.  So get on the lake 2 hours before sunrise and fish until 2 hours after.  

Thanks for the info.  I will definitely look to incorporate it in my search.

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