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ballhagen

Please try to help me understand why!

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The lake that i fish near my house has not been producing this year. We have tournaments every thursday evening. Now this time last year, it was taking 20+ pounds to win this tournament every week. There was a cirtain spot on the lake that was a sure spot to catch fish. This spot was a hump in the middle of the lake. Now we had a big drought last year and the lake got really low. Not sure if this has anything to do with it.

     Now this year we have had a good bit of rain. And instead of it taking 20 pounds to win this tournament it is only taking about 7 to 10. Its not only that it is not taking much weight to win the tournaments, it is very hard to catch fish in this lake right now. And that cirtain hump that was a big producer last year. You can't hardly catch a fish there this year. It is almost like the fish have completely disapeared. It is hard to find them on main points or on any structure, drops, flats, humps or any of these fish holding spots. Tell me why you think the lake is not producing.

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Obviously when there is much less water and no less fishing pressure, there is a substantial increase in overall traffic per acre of water.

This along with the drastic water drop naturally moves fish to different habitat than they or the fishermen are used to, which causes less success for many of the normal fishermen.

Now the water increases and the natural vegetation has changed or is no longer there. With these types of aggressive water levels there is a big change in fish patterns from before.

Unless the fish have been over harvested and I doubt that this is the case, the numbers should still be there. Other reasons could also be the number of injured fish from improper catch an release procedures or constant relocation of fish from high numbers of tournament releases overloading fish numbers in certain areas of the lake that cause extreme competition for natural prey populations.

These are normal miscues in popular fisheries but are often overcome by the most knowledgable and experienced fishermen who are able to follow the changes to water levels and location changes to prey and predator fish species.

My thought is that they are still there, just harder to locate and pattern to our normal fishing styles or tendencies.

Big O

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sounds like the "community holes" have been beaten up pretty good and the fish have moved.  no spot, no matter how good, is going to kick out fish indefinitely.  the pressure will eventually cause the fish to move or become difficult to catch.  i had one such "money spot" on my favorite lake.  the kicker was that i seemed to be the only one who knew about it.    i caught several very nice fish off that spot too and i thought it'd always be dependable.  but i fished it too much, too hard, and too regularly.  and guess what- the fish seemed to disappear.  lesson learned.  one of the hardest things to do in fishing is to avoid forming "emotional attachments" to baits, tactics, and especially spots.   we talk about making adjustments to the fish all the time, but the fish make adjustments to cope with fishing pressure as well.  

the lake you are referring to sounds a lot like beech lake in lexington.   good luck and hope you figure it out. :)  

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I will have to disagree with paul on this one, I'm catching bass on the same structure I did 35 years ago; while it is the same structure it is not at the exact same GPS locations. Bass will move up/down structure with changes in the lake level which causes changes in cover but they will not totally abandon prime structure. If they did they would soon run out of structure.

Toledo Bend is notorious for changes in lake levels due to electrical generation at the dams; couple that with natural evaporation and periods of no rain and these drops can be huge. Two years ago the lake level dropped 17' which means structure where I was fishing before I could now walk around kicking dust. After the lake level came back up to normal I'm catching bass off those same spots.

See the picture below, notice the ridge in the foreground? That is one such spot and the bass simply relocated to the tree line in the back ground.

low.jpg

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one of the hardest things to do in fishing is to avoid forming "emotional attachments" to baits, tactics, and especially spots.

 This is so true. One of my favorite spots on the Alabama river is now a favorite spot of a man who uses a fish trap and catches baitfish for his troutlines. As he contuinued to harvest more and more fish and catch more and more baitfish, this spot stopped producing with the exception of the occasional fish.

 

  However, whenever I went fishing I always wasted an hour or more on this hole instead of locating another honey hole. I have finaly managed to break away and locate new spots. Fortunately, we have better holes to fish now  8-)

 The lesson I learned is never to get too fixated on one spot and make sure you maintain a variety of spots that consitantly yield fish.

During this same time I learned that trying to use lizards year round may not produce the best results. I am now much more comfortable with cranks, topwater, jigs, and various plastics.

Good luck on the lake.

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I will have to disagree with paul on this one, I'm catching bass on the same structure I did 35 years ago;

X2

Of all the lake I can always catch fish here, the only time I don 't is in the extremely rare ocassions, which makes two in the time I 've lived here ( 28 years ) when this feature is out of the water. It sits on a flat normally between 30 to 45 ft deep, it extends for 30-35 yards ( x 20 yds width ), the flat on which it sits ends abruptly at the old creek channel which is bordered by willow tree stumps:

post-369-130163010775_thumb.jpg

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Another pic farther towards the creek channel:

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impoundments have different characteristics than natural lakes when it comes to changing conditions.natural lakes are always in a metomorphis,evolving and changing w/ conditions.fish habits and even population changes from yr. to yr. and so does the fisherman.natural lakes have more defined cycles that can last longer.some never get back to where they once were some rebound quiker.impoundments seem to change w/ age but are more predictable and adaptable.

ive noticed the same on some of the natural lakes we have tx. on in past drought yrs. it would take 15-20lbs. now w/ full lakes 10+.they arent on the same structure and not in the cover for extended periods or concentrated as much, so are harder to find and catch.

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How big is this lake?

From the data I've seen, fish populations and the population structures are very cyclical in nature. You have the normal ebbs and flows of the predator/prey cycle, but this is compounded when you add in fisherman. Our DNR reports Bass fishermen follow the hot lakes, especially when it comes to trophy fish (runs on about a 5-7 yr cycle). I know I have visited new lakes after seeing impressive tournament hauls.

As for your hump, I would pay close attention to the weed structure on it. Bass like to relate to weeds and weeds can change. Paying close attention to the submerged aquatic weed structure has really helped me understand the bass in my lakes.

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this is not a very big lake? And yes paul you hit the nail on the head. it is beach lake in lexington. My thoughts were that the lake was so low last year that the fish were all just stacked in together. because where you got on a good fish last year you could just about limit out right there. This year i believe sense there is so much water in the lake it has the fish spread all over the place. this may not be the case but i figured i might would have something to do with it.

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