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lake turn over

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I'd like to know more about lake turnover. What causes it & how do you know when it is happening? In southern Wisc. - Lake Geneva's lake temp is still about 51-53. Is there a certain temp that you can expect the lake to turn? How long does it take a deep lake (say like Lake Geneva) to turn once it starts? Is it worth fishing during this period? How long until fish get back to normal? During this period are you better off switching to live bait? I hate using live bait but guys on Lake Geneva are catching perch, then using the perch to catch smallies. I've watched as guys pull in 20-30 smallies using this method. Is live bait THE bait during the fall? What ever input you can give would be interesting.

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When the lake turns over the bass enviroment is literally flipped upside down.  It's basically the water on top and on the bottom flipping.  The heavy water sinks and the bottom becomes lighter and rises.  You can tell this is happening by alot of bubbles rising to the top of the water and if the water is nasty colored.  The fish basically shut down for a few weeks and the best way to get them to bite is by reaction.  Take a rattletrap and just burn it over shallow water.  When it rips by there face they will grab it.  With the water where you are being at 53 and under, I'm sure it already happened.  

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This is from the Minnesota DNR:

"What is meant by "lake turnover"? How and why do lakes do this in autumn and spring?

   * The key to this question is how water density varies with water temperature. Water is most dense (heaviest) at 39º F (4º C) and as temperature increases or decreases from 39º F, it becomes increasingly less dense (lighter). In summer and winter, lakes are maintained by climate in what is called a stratified condition. Less dense water is at the surface and more dense water is near the bottom.

   * During late summer and autumn, air temperatures cool the surface water causing its density to increase. The heavier water sinks, forcing the lighter, less dense water to the surface. This continues until the water temperature at all depths reaches approximately 39º F. Because there is very little difference in density at this stage, the waters are easily mixed by the wind. The sinking action and mixing of the water by the wind results in the exchange of surface and bottom waters which is called "turnover."

   * During spring, the process reverses itself. This time ice melts, and surface waters warm and sink until the water temperature at all depths reaches approximately 39º F. The sinking combined with wind mixing causes spring "turnover."

   * This describes the general principle; however, other factors (including climate and lake depth variations) can cause certain lakes to act differently. A more detailed description of the physical characteristics of lakes, including temporal and density interactions, can be found at the Water on the Web site, sponsored by the University of Minnesota - Duluth and funded by the National Science Foundation."

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