Waiting for fall

October 5, 2017

Stevens Point-  The way the weather is going, we may never get a good solid frost.  That is kind of sad because I rely on the lack of vegetation to corner the deer to certain areas of property where the oaks are.  Sure the deer like acorns, but with as much green as there is right now predicting when they will show up to the oak flats is about as accurate as predicting when who will win the World Series in 2018.

So if I can not hunt deer effectively then go hunt something else right?  Too much foliage yet for squirrels and grouse and rabbits are hard to find.  Besides rabbits need a good frost to be considered in the safe zone to eat.  They contain a lot of parasites and the killing frost is meant for just that, killing off the weak.

Well I guess that means heading to the water to catch fish, the warmer weather should make it prime time for catching fish.  Actually it does not.

The best fall fishing is yet to come and we need some cold weather to induce the fish into biting.  Many of the larger fish of any species do not tolerate warmer temperatures and want to sit below a body of waters thermocline.  The warm weather makes fish lethargic.

The small fish do not mind the warm temperatures and thrive in the oxygen rich shallows where they can also hide from potential predators.  It is a playground for them so to speak because the big eaters are down deep being dormant by low oxygen levels and lack of food.

That is not to say they will not stop into the grocery store of the shallows for a bite to eat.  Count on low light level times of the day for easy ambush options for the behemoths of the deep.  Taking the sun into consideration large predators use the light to their advantage to quickly grab a bite to eat and head back down to the depths.

If you are trying to time this, good luck because the window of opportunity is short lived.  With the warmer water the fish do not want to put on the feed bags.  If they are in the warm water for long they pretty much just lounge around much like we do in warm weather.

We continue to wait for the day where the sun can no longer keep the water warm.  In the summer because of the sun, the water gets heated up into and over 60 degrees.  This significantly changes the density of the water and creates two distinct layers.  A top layer that is hot, and full of sun and a bottom layer that is dark and cold and struggles to maintain oxygen.

The top layer is called the hypolimnion and the bottom layer the epilimnion.  The transition is called the thermocline and depending on the clarity of the water will be dependent on the depth of the thermocline.

At the point in the fall where the top layer can no longer stay warm and starts to drop the layers will combine.  This is called fall overturn and is marked by a significant feeding frenzy in the larger fish of each species.  Imagine being locked up for a couple of months and then all of a sudden you can go anywhere you want to and eat whatever you want.

When the water mixes the entire water column will have the same temperature throughout the lake.  The large fish hang out where they want to and hunt the smaller fish down in the shallows.  The prey species are not used to the predators and are sitting ducks.

This is the point to be out.  Figuring out when the turnover is going to occur is fairly simple.  A person could watch the water temperature with a thermometer.  That may seem mundane and it is.  The key is to simply watch the lakes and watch the water clarity drop instantly.  When the two layers mix, it creates current in the lakes enough to stir it from head to toe.  This is the time to hit the lakes.

The days ahead are getting shorter and the turnover will happen soon.  Unfortunately everything else  in the outdoors as aforementioned will became active as well so it is a matter of picking your poison to fill your freezer.

May your day to do so be one in which you do not have to work and can be out on the water or in the woods.

Until next time, shoot straight

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