Of course, it’s the angler’s responsibility to fish the conditions in front of him or her. And more than likely, the approach will be the one used to fish last week–or even yesterday. But what if the lake has turned over–say, last night?

In this part of the Southland it’s possible. In fact, it’s pretty apparent it happened just across the street and is eminent in all the local waters.

In the most extreme case, the shallow Lake Elsinore, last Tuesday between noon to 4 I found 64 degrees in general, yet there were large patches of 70.2 along the west shore.  Sixty four to 65 had been the same surface temperature for most of the reservoirs in Western Riverside County, dipping just slightly as a row of nights in the 40’s finally set in.

This morning (checking the home lake where I have the most data) I discovered I missed the big change since last Tuesday. That 64/65 had turned into 61.16 on Saturday and by this morning the reading was 60.62.  Interestingly, that extra half a degree drop was constant throughout the water column–down to 18 feet in the natural lake.

But I was also able to read oxygen content (ODO or optical dissolved oxygen for the tool used to measure it) at the same time at the various depths. Those readings also changed, actually dropping during the week from somewhere in the 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to around 6 per liter in the downwind areas and slightly higher on the protected side.

This tells me (as the wide range of temperature readings less than a week ago) that not every drop of water or portion of a lake will be affected exactly the same.

And since most fish thrive in levels above 5 mg/L there was nothing particularly life threatening in the process (though we await the consequences of pH and oxidation due the rise of dead matter on the bottom).  Environmentally, it’s apparent that fish lower in the water column may be subject to the more extreme changes.

As a sidebar, what’s been missing this fall so far are the really strong winds of a year ago. Perris always catches the worst of a Northeast blow, but I even heard DVL had some snotty conditions in the last 10 days. Yet, with a greater volume of water, the deepest reservoirs are the slowest to turn.

You would think that fishing “shallow” might be the answer. But there is no quick answer as a fisherman. What happened pretty quickly in Nature still requires your plying the water where you feel you can best get a bite. Sonar and temperature readings may help, plus your own surface observations.

The good news? In barely a week, you won’t be able to blame the turnover for much. The bass will adjust to the changes of environment, and you in your Under Armour cold gear should be doing the same.


4 Responses to “Lake ‘turnover’: Blink and you could miss it”

My lake {Russell here in SC} goes up & down so much almost every day; I wonder if it ever truely “turnsover”. They {COE} generate {run water out} and then pump-back almost everday….Really has killed the shallow back of the creek fall bite. You’ll run into a topwater bite in 40 ft. more often. That and the Blue Back Herring have really changed the game, but if I wanted easy fish I’d go to the fish market!! CYA

Moving water (as in rivers or tidal waters) just don’t get a chance to stratify unless they feature closed end sloughs or significantly “isolated” pockets or coves. Which makes sense: instead of one big upheaval, pump-back lakes are in a state of mixing all the time. One thing I’ve found, the fish seem to react better to those conditions than I do. 🙂

LOL We wish the water temperature was 60 or even 50! The lakes and ponds and rivers here are all shallow and are now at an average temperature in the Delmarva region of about 40 degrees. Soon they will be down in the 30’s! To top this all off, the average depth is about 5 feet with deep spots being around 8-10. Very similar in depth and structure to Florida except for a few exceptions and of course the temperature! It was 29 degrees last night with a high today of 42 with 30 mph winds. Fun huh? Tight lines, Steve

Steve we get some cold weather….but our water hardly ever gets below 45 for too long….allways amazed how shallow they get in the winter. We have lots of very deep water but about Jan. I lose the deep fish and have to hit the bank. Right now you need a jig’n spoon & a 100 Sammy on deck…they from over 30 ft. deep to running bait on top….drives me crazy.. LOL a good crazy…CYA