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Senko4life

Bait fish

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The lake ive been fishing a lot this fall has one major cove.  The bait fish all moved into this cove early to mid fall and ive been smashing the bass on spinner baits and buzz baits.  But the problem is a cold front rolled in about a week ago.  The first day after it settled all the bait was gone from the shallows.  I still got 7 on rattle trap but i went from getting 25+ a day.  The temp has been dropping and it has been raining pretty steady since then.  I was just wondering if the bait was going to move back in after it warms up or if the feeding frenzy is pretty much done for the year. I live in PA.  Any help is greatly appriciated.  

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For me it's pretty much done for...found that out today.

Same thing happened as you described...take this how you want to,but it's gonna be a slow end.A lot of guys i know are calling it quits as they went out with a bang on their last trip.

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I live in PA as well and this sounds like a common occurance on a local lake I fish  >:(. What lake are you talking about?

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PA is not all that far south from MA, so I'm not sure what you guys are talking about, when you say, "it's all over"? It's never over until you can no longer crack the thin ice on the lake with your boat's hull! Fish some rivers - you do have them things in PA, right? And catch the biggest and greatest quantities of SM bass you ever thought possible. Whatever you do, don't throw in the towel, for sure!

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Take a minute and read reply #6 to "a little help please" below this thread.

The fall transition means the bass are moving from their summer locations to the winter locations and feeding as they make the transition.

Cold fronts are common during both the fall and spring periods and the bass react exactly the same; move deeper.

WRB

PS; a 7 lb bass is a trophy size in PA, congradulations.

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Most small bait fish will go deep when the temps drops low enough.    Currently in Texas, we haven't seen temps plummit, so our shad are still cruising the creeks in the shallow.     they may move 3 miles in a few hours, they will continue to seek the plankton blooms in the creeks.          

On those inactive days, you find the bass suspended below the bait in the winter in deeper waters.     Learn to jig a spoon vertically to them and you may see your catch rate improve on those slow days.

Matt

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Pretty close to what happened to me in AR.  Except, the bass never followed the smaller baitfish into the back of coves.  The algae bloom was so intense, any water less than 20ft was pointless fishing it because there were no bass there even though the shad were there by the thousands.  The bass had pulled off to deeper water and either hanging near structure or at the mouth of the coves waiting for the baitfish to come out.

Now, the water temp is in the low 60's and the bite has shut down really low.  The bass that we have caught are definately healthier than we have seen in the past.  That's a good sign.

Problem is, I can't seem to find them.  I haven't looked out into the main lake yet but that is my next strategy.  

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It doesn't mater if the lake is up in Main or down in Mexico, if the lake is a same classification, same type of bass and similar bait fish or prey, the bass will respond to the changing conditions in a similar manner.

Texas for example will have hill-land and high land class reservoirs used for water storage and power generation predominately. High land and hill land reservoirs are planted with thread fin shad and sometimes gizzard shad, along with bream, crappie etc., that are all baitfish targeted by largemouth bass.

The key to locating bass is locating the bait fish and thermocline layer in these reservoirs. If the bait is there, the bass are close by. Keep in mind that small bait fish like shad survive by schooling during the day light hours, hiding in cover during the darker hours and transitioning from cover to open water schools. Bass target the shad in all three places that allow the bass success.

Any lure that doesn't miminc the shad in the location the bass doesn't expect to find shad may not interest the bass. During the warmer water summer periods the bass are more scattered and tend to ambush bait fish of opportunity. During the colder water periods they school up to be more effective at feeding on schooled bait fish and no longer hold at ambush site for long periods of time.

The key during the fall transition and winter periods is locating the bait fish and the thermocline level so you don't fish at depth below it, using lures that mimic the baitfish and the bass will respond to those presentations, regardless where the lake is located.

WRB

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That happened to me too.

The bait are now scattered further apart in the deeper parts of the lake.

So fish deep spots close to shallow spots.

Don't throw in the towel, I got 3 yesterday on a smelt jerkbait. Besides, when it does ice over, go snowboarding!

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It seems like the fish are moving into their winter patterns up here, the water temp has dropped down into the upper 40's low 50's and it is supposed to get much colder in next few days. I have noticed the that the baitfish that were in shallow rivers and coves have now moved out.

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It seems like the fish are moving into their winter patterns up here, the water temp has dropped down into the upper 40's low 50's and it is supposed to get much colder in next few days. I have noticed the that the baitfish that were in shallow rivers and coves have now moved out.

Keep in mind that you are reading surface temperatures, unless using a camera with a temp probe. The reason the bass and bait fish go deeper is because they are seeking warmer water just at the thermocline where it will stay throughtout the cold water period. Find the thermocline and bait, the bass will be there, in lakes and reservoirs. Rivers will not have thermoclines due to the current. Power generation reservoirs may have mulitple thermoclines layers. Good luck and stay warm.

WRB

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WRB-When you are fishing lakes that are only 7 feet deep at the most (Which are the only lakes I can getting into because of winter draw-downs) is there a thermo-cline??? And the clostest power-genarated lake is probably a few hundred miles away.

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WRB- Just an example about bait and the types of lakes we have up here. There is only 1 lake left in RI where you can still get into and have a good time. This is an example of the water clarity, it doesnt get deeper than 6 feet, there is NO off-shore structure. And as soon as the pads die all you can do is fish the retaining walls and laydowns.

post-10234-130163008422_thumb.jpg

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I'm afraid we anglers place a little too much emphasis on fall fishing, as though it were a big improvement over summer fishing.

Compared to bass fishing during the summertime, fall fishing is typically erratic and unpredictable, but not without cause.

For starters, the major temperature trend is "down", which progressively reduces the metabolism of the entire ecosystem.

In addition, the lake stratification that took place throughout the summer months is completely undone by the "fall-turnover".

After the lake turns over the Thermocline and Oxycline are both "gone". During the post-turnover period, the water temperatures

and dissolved oxygen are essentially homogenous throughout the entire lake. For this reason, bass may found at any & all depths,

which puts an unusual strain on the locational factor

Find Bait And You've Found Bass?

Yes and No. Both baitfish and gamefish have free reign of the lake, but the location of baitfish will hinge more on prevailing winds

(which moves plankton) than on water temperature. Here's the upshot: the biomass of baitfish far outstrips the biomass

of gamefish. As a result, it's not unusual to find bait without bass, but it would be very unusual to find bass without bait.

Roger

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Rologreat info about the fall.  But down south, the lakes are so big you have baitfish everywhere, where as the smaller lakes we have (anywhere from 100-1000 acres) it seems like all the bait and bass will head towards one or a few general areas of the lake.

For example, on one of the more popular bodies of water in the state, everyone knows that all the bait from the entire lake spend fall and winter in one little 3 acre branch of the lake. And in a tournament most anglers will fish there and thats where the tournament will be won out of.

There is another lake where EVERYONE knows that the bait heads towards the north end of the lake where a one river flows in on one bank and on the other bank a river flows out and you will see 25 boats in a 10 acre section of a 1,300 acre lake.

So if almost all of the bait is in one area of the lake, then most of the bass will be there too.

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The reason I prefer to use lake classifications is to group lakes into categories that apply to where ever bass may be located. Natural lakeas and rivers are very different from man made impoundments. The vast majority of bass fishing occurs on man made impoundments, followed by natural lakes and then rivers. The lake classification is generally based on the geography ot topography of the region the impondment is located. Examples; hill country with low elevation rounded mountains and wide rivers valleys are call "Hill-land" and regions with more rugged steeper mountains and long deep river valleys are " High land", flat plains with wide meandering river valleys are "Flat land" and coastal river valleys "Low land", deep long narrow river valleys located in the west are "Canyon" reservoirs. The one thing every reservoir has in common is a dam to back up the impoundment and control the water use. Each classification can be very big or small and the bass that live in each class of reservoir generally have similar behavior, prey and habitate.

Turnover is a very misunderstood term and few reservoirs below the Mason-Dixon line experience cold enough air temperatures to cool the surface water fast enough to create a turnover. It can happen, but you need a combination of freezing or near freezing nights and windy days to create conditions where the upper warm layer of water cools so fast it out weigh the lower deep heavier cold water and turn the lake over. Turnovers usually occurs following the winter ice out on northern lakes where cold water conditions will turn a lake over.

What most southern and western reservoirs experience is the weed cover dies due to cooler nights and shorter day light, sink or suspend and decay. The cooler surface (Epillimion) water slowly drifts downward mixing with the deeper (Hypolimnion) water and disrupts the middle (thermocline) layer for a few weeks until the system stablizes and thermocline rebuild IMO. It is common to have gas bubbles stream upward cuased by the decaying weeds and the water becoming off colored. Bass tolerate a wide range of dissolved oxygen (DO) and don't require a oxygen rich layer, the ideal is 7 to 9 mg/I and can tolerate about 5 to 12 mg/I for short time periods.

Looking at the photos you attached indicate that the lake may have a alge condition that is depleting the DO due to warmer than normal conditions causing a bloom and may leave with windy colder conditions.

Bass are cold blooded animals and need less food as the water cools, however bass can not survive water colder than 40 degrees, so the shallow lake must have warmer water somewhere like a spring for example or they move to the warmest water availble. I wouldn't bother with cold water bass in a shallow lake enviornment, try to locate a deeper lake where the bass should be a little more active.

WRB

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Great info WRB. You hit it on the head about the alage too. Up until two weeks ago our temperatures were 10-15 degrees above average. But now they are saying upper 40's for highs during the day and upper 20's during the night. So the surface temp will be really dropping now, as if it hasnt already, dropped from (67 to 50) in the course of those two weeks. Winter is definatley coming  :'(

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