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Mike 12345

Water Clarity theory, as it relates to bass location

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I'm reading a book right now where the (very well known) author states that - [paraphrased]

"If you can see a white lure down to a depth of 3 ft. under water, the bass in that lake are probably no deeper than 15 feet....if the water is particularly muddy, bass may be within 15 feet of the surface, since a muddy lake may not have any appreciable visibility below that level...  But if you can see a white lure down to 12 feet, the bass could be as deep as 30 feet or more...."

I find this interesting, and thought I'd see what you guys had to say about it, generally speaking.  

The lake I most often fish is very stained, and I really can't see a lure more than 18 inches deep, in a best case scenario.  Less most often.

Also, it occurs to me that I don't think that any of the fish I caught last year (or got good bites on) were any deeper than maybe 8-10 feet. Between 2 and 7 feet most often.  The best was 4.5 lb in 49* water in December, in 3-5 feet.

Add to that a converstion I remember having with a local recovery diver, who said he rarely dives in this lake because there is no visibility. (I know bass have lateral lines, but this is just about visibility)

If all of these things are true, would it be reckless of me to jump to the conclusion that, regardless of season or water temp, a bass that is interested in feeding would likely be relatively shallow, and I would be best served by trying to build patterns around this set theories, observations, and experiences?

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If it is saying that with 12 foot of "visibility" that a bass can only see lures if it is shallower than 30 ft, i say BULL SHAT!

Now if he means to say that if you can see the lure from 12 ft away, that the bass can see it from 30 ft away, ill buy that.

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Yes, the fish should be relatively shallow all year. In murky lakes oxygen is often lacking at deeper depths. In winter many people go up murky creek arms and flip and fish are shallow. People just prefer clearer water when its really cold so you dont hear much about fishing shallow in the winter. I fish lakes that are murky all winter and I catch fish in December and January less than 6ft deep.  ;)

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What he's saying is that if we, the people, can see a lure as deep as, say 12 feet, then that would suggest that the water is quite clear, and that the bass could be holding as deep as 30 feet or more.

For example, I fished Dale Hollow Res. this summer with some friends, and in the back of a cove we could look straight down off the boat, and see an aluminum can sitting on the lake bottom in about 10 FOW.  Dale Hollow is a deep, clear lake, and I could understand the fish holding deep often.

Alternatively, if we can only see the lure (dropping it in the water next to the boat, for example) down 3 feet underwater, then the visibility in the water is much more restricted, therefore positioning the fish in much shallower water.

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Generally, what the author is talking about is that food chains are based on sunlight, and penetration matters. This doesn't mean the contrary, that clear waters won't have shallow fish. But it's a good bet that very low vis waters do not have a deep bass fishery.

I would be interested to hear if others here have had success in very chronically low visibility waters (not transient) in deep water. I am guessing most will echo mrbassky's response.

I know bass have lateral lines, but this is just about visibility

Bass are primarily visual hunters. The lateral line is a short range system sensitive to low frequency vibrations (essentially water motion) that provides info valuable when closing on prey. Hearing is a longer range sense but, according to researchers, is not directionally accurate -that is bass cannot tell precisely where a sound is emanating from. They may attempt to ascertain that by going into a search mode to close in on the sound.

Bass that live in low vis waters can adapt to it. They tend to live shallower, and are often tighter to cover using more of a close-in "ambush" type hunting strategy than clear water bass. If clear water bass have a bunch of mud dumped in on them, they may simply shut down. I've seen this, and under prolonged periods, have seen them get really skinny.

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mrbassky and Paul,   your responses are kind of what I was getting at.

I have been really getting excited to work myself into some good structure fishing this year, and have been really focusing my reading, etc toward that end.  However, if the particular lake in question is unlikely, or less likely, to be one that would support successful deeper offshore structure fishing due to its low visibility, then I might be more succesful concentrating on shallower structure and cover.

Then go to the other, much clearer local lake for deeper structure fishing activities......

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mrbassky and Paul, your responses are kind of what I was getting at.

I have been really getting excited to work myself into some good structure fishing this year, and have been really focusing my reading, etc toward that end. However, if the particular lake in question is unlikely, or less likely, to be one that would support successful deeper offshore structure fishing due to its low visibility, then I might be more succesful concentrating on shallower structure and cover.

Then go to the other, much clearer local lake for deeper structure fishing activities......

Funny, I 've been discussion exactly this in another forum. Catching bass in low visibility is a lot easier than it is to do the same in high visibility, why ?

1.- Bass can 't see well the bait but they use other senses to home in on the bait so preciselly that you catch them, too bad for the bass beacuse when they can actually see the bait it 's already too late for them.

2.- It conceals your presence, it conceals all the mistakes you make.

3.- Bass will normally be shallower, where ? in the same kind of structure and/or cover that draws them if the water were clearer.

See how muddy the water is ?

Guess what ? we catch fish in that lake in that same spot year round regradless on how muddy or clear the water is, the only difference between muddy and clear is the type of bait we use and how deep we fish.

post-369-130163011726_thumb.jpg

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When ever I hear somebody say that they catch almost all of their fish in, say 8' to 10' of water - my question always is - How much time did you spend fishing in water 15' or deeper?  There are so many variables that can affect where bass are holding - water clarity is only one of them, but it is one of them.  There are lots of other things you have to consider as well.

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Paul is on the right track with this one. The wording is a very simple analogy that anglers can use based on limnological principles. In fisheries research they use a tool called a secchi disk, a black and white quadrant disk lowered into the water to determine visibility. You can do similar with a white lure.

Anyway, the principle in play is at approx. 3 times the level of visibility of your lure is also the level at which light diminishes past the mark where respiration and photosynthesis match. Deeper than that and respiration is greater and likely to lead to oxygen debt or anoxic conditions, making unsuitable conditions for fish life. It is just a simple rule of thumb though to help guide a quick decision, and certainly not applicable all the time.

-T9

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Paul is on the right track with this one. The wording is a very simple analogy that anglers can use based on limnological principles. In fisheries research they use a tool called a secchi disk, a black and white quadrant disk lowered into the water to determine visibility. You can do similar with a white lure.

Anyway, the principle in play is at approx. 3 times the level of visibility of your lure is also the level at which light diminishes past the mark where respiration and photosynthesis match. Deeper than that and respiration is greater and likely to lead to oxygen debt or anoxic conditions, making unsuitable conditions for fish life. It is just a simple rule of thumb though to help guide a quick decision, and certainly not applicable all the time.

-T9

That is the principle as I have always understood it from my reading.  And while it is only a rule of thumb, give or take a few feet, there is science behind it.

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