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Creek Channels?

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As the Fall and cooler temps roll in, alot is said about fishing creek channels.  It is said the bass will move into shallower water following the shad into the back of coves and creek channels.

Do all ponds and lakes have creek channels?  How do you find them?  Is this just where you might see a stream or run off entering the pond?  Are they something you find with sonar?

I'm sure this is a rookie question, but any help about where to find creek channels would be appreciated.

Thanks in Advance!

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Guest ouachitabassangler

A pond built on a creek would have a creek channel if it wasn't dozed over. Many are smoothed over to keep the water level consistently shallow. Stock ponds are often just built where surface run-off can be collected, with no definite channel. Most lakes were built over a creek or river, leaving the original channel intact. Natural lakes can be quite different, especially shield lakes North, scooped out by a glacier, with no particular water channel anywhere around.

Both river and major creek channels have been the best fishing spots this summer, along breaks as deep as the thermocline will allow. Come Fall bass will begin moving into secondary tributaries, i.e., mouths of long coves off the main lake, following shad. That concentrates most bass into a much smaller area.

Jim

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Only reservoirs that have been created by placing a dam over a stream, river, creek, etc.  will have channel banks.   Some ponds are created this way and some aren't.  The easiest way to find creek channels is to first, buy a good topographic map of the lake if one is available, and then use your sonar to pinpoint where these banks are.  You aren't just looking for the banks.  You're looking for the intersection of the creek bank with something else that bass love:  sharp channel bends with stumps or vegetation, channel bank with a long point reaching out to it, etc.  If you don't have sonar, at least get a map and try using your carolina rig to find a channel bank.  Find a small area that should have a creek running through it and sweep the area with your carolina rig.  You should be able to feel it.  (This is a slow process.)  I'd buy a fish finder myself.  

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I think in the case of your lake as in mine, the better question is "Are there shad?"

My creek channels are only useful as travel corridors for the bass where we are. There is one major bend where one leaves the main lake body and the "bend" there can be good at times in the fall but otherwise...The only reason the bigger fish will be going in the back coves this fall will be to warm up in the shallower water and in New England, that's a small window where that shallow water is warmer as opposed to colder.

Skinny water heats quicker but it also cools quicker.

Granted, I'll be back there to take advantage but it can be as short as a 1 week window where they are venturing back there. Much shorter window than in the spring. This fall, I'll be concentrating on the deep again. Rocky areas are key in our lake.

Mother nature's little radiators.

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When fishing a lake with a lot of standing timber, it is usually a safe bet that the bigger trees will be on the edges of the channel -- this is because they were able to absorb more water through their root systems and as a result these are usually the last trees standing as the lake matures.  This is a trick you can use if you don't have a good topo map and want to look for channels within the lake.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Knowing tree species helps, too. For instance, certain species of trees are usually found next to water, not up on flats, though of course there are exceptions. Willows, water tupelo, river birch, cottonwood are a dead giveaway indicating a channel or once wet soil like a soggy bottom. Finding cedars or pines would most likely indicate a dry flat. Oaks & hickories would have grown on what are now points and humps. Around here a whole cove is likely to still be filled with snags poked above the surface, with maybe a narrow boat lane you won't find until on it. Eliminate the upland type trees by looking at knots, branch arrangement, and even exposed wood to leave a double row of the species you are looking for outlining a channel. Explore a creek on dry land to study those out, then apply what you learn locally to lakes in the area. And yes Shad_master, quite often the largest trees in a formerly wooded cove were along a creek, not worth the trouble cutting down and getting out somehow. But most lakes are pretty old, dating back to when junk trees were left, taking the finest, like white oaks for staves, red oak and old pine for flooring. The flooded forests back then didn't look like forests look today, but most current terrestrial creek bottoms in the area will still contain the same species mix as is now under water.

Jim

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