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stepchild

Odd situation makes for tough fishing

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My family has decided to invest in a lakefront cottage on a deep, clear Canadian shield lake. I was excited at the fact that there might be some untapped fishing opportunities, given lake access is restricted to property owners. In the spring (when the season's still closed), I was overly excited when I spotted 4 pound smallie swim by the dock so I knew I'd have my crack at them. Late spring/early summer was great to me, especially when coudy or windy.

But now with the water warmed up, the fish have scattered and seem a lot more opportunistic. The trick is, this is known as a deep lake trout lake that also has brookies in it (and also an overabundance of rock bass given the lack of warm-water predators). About 85% of the banks drop directly to 50+ feet of water, leaving only a few points and shelves for the smallies to rest on. Could they have moved offshore and feed in open water? Recent catches have revealed good sized rock bass as a food source since the tail was still sticking out of their throats. My question is, on a deep lake with relatively steep banks and minimal structure...where does one begin to look?

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Start looking in shady spots on cooler days.  Smallies like warm water but they feed where other fish hang out, cooler water.  Find out where the trout and rock bass hang out, and you'll find where the smallies hunt.

Good luck!  ;D

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Another thing to think about is that they may be suspending in open water, about 2 or 3 feet below where the sun penetrates. The water is warmer, and they use the decreased visibility as cover and concealment while cruising for bait fish.

If you can see down, say 15 feet, try targeting around 18 to 20 feet where there is food.

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Good call guys. I just had a breakthru and cashed in bigtime!  ;D I found a rocky flat (i could've sworn i went over it with the depth-finder before) where t-rigged senko's were the ticket. Visibility is about 20 feet, so it's a real clear lake. Long casts were needed to get at the fish, which made for really fun battles for the bigger ones. Even a few real solid fish, one pushing 5...but I still don't get what they're really foraging on. Maybe it's little rock bass and crawfish here...

Later on, in the evening, I spotted some fishing breaking surface over 80-100 feet of water. I throw out a white x-rap and low and behold, non-stop action for a good 30 minutes. I just don't get what they could possibly be chasing over water that deep?! I just want to know so I could somewhat match my presentation to what the fish are eating.

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