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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need suggestions on fishing deep lakes in cold weather. My own body temperature isn't the issue--it's finding the fish. If the surface water temperature is in the high 40's and I haven't had any luck finding fish in the shallows, how should I approach the situation? If a temperature layer has formed, with warmer water deeper, are there proven tactics out there that one should use? I assume a full sink line is needed, but what else do I need to know/do? I've been thwarted at a certain lake that I know has lots of big fish, as I have caught a few there in warmer weather. My problem is that the fish ain't where they normally are. Any suggestions are welcome--other than wait for things to warm up. :DUNNO :MAD :ANGRY :CONFUSED
 

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Certainly cold water slows the fish's metabolism hence their need for chow is not as great. I've found that "dredging" the bottom with a uniform sinking line is fairly productive. A uniform sinking line is progressively weighted toward the tip hence when it sinks, a "belly" is thus avoided. Trolling is not nearly as effective a slow retrieve. One of my fave winter lake flies is a white crystal bugger.

You might enjoy Denney Rickard's "Fly Fishing Stillwater for Trophy Trout". A very provocative and informative book on lake fishing in any season. I've fished for may years and found this book drew together many random ideas that provided me with a TERIFFIC season this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Where can one find a uniform sinking line and who makes them? I've looked around but haven't noticed them. I live in Seattle.
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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First off, there will not be warmer water at depth in a lake. That's an unstable situation, and the water would just get mixed in. In the winter your water temperature is likely to be only a degree or 2 warmer than at depth.

I cold weather I almost exclusively fish chironomids. With a floating line, bobber and a long non-tapered leader. when I get bored of sitting, anchored, drinking coffee, eating pastries and smoking a cigar, I will try to troll around using intermediate or type 2 or 3 lines with buggers, carey specials, soft hackle spiders and wet flies. I keep it fairly slow, but I have been surprised, some days the fish like it FAST!

If I don't hook up on the troll, but get some nips, I will anchor there and try chiros. If a hatch starts, I will fish chiros at around 3 to 10 feet deep, as often that is where the bigger fish are feeding.

As to your line question, I have a Type 2 SA Mastery line that I just love for lake trolling. I have a Cortland Clear Camo Intermediate that I like alot. But the Mastery rocks, I can't tell you why, its just a great line for lake fishing. It casts like a rocket, shoots like lightening, and handles well.

Rob
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Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
 

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Tight Loops: Apparently you could benefit from a study of limnology. Lakes do, in fact, turn over in the winter and the warmer warmer is indeed found at the bottom. Fish, desiring the warmer water, tend to congregate there.

Sorry, but to me, starring at a chronomid bobber (aka: strike indicator) is not my idea of "fly fishing".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I suppose the layering of the colder water above the warmer is much like the weather we are having in the Puget Sound Lowlands today. Thermal inversion. Yes, it happens when conditions aren't stirring up the stratification. Like no or not enough wind in both cases.

Still, what I'm trying to figure out is if there is a sure-fire technique to find the thermocline without having to go and get a fish finder with temperature readout. I somehow imagine certain sinking lines (insert the sink type here) tend to find depth and stay there when trolling at float tube speeds. When I got that hit, I was moving at a moderate, though not particularly fast, speed. My Type III line was coming up when the fish struck. At this point, I'm wondering if there's a Type IV uniform sink line out there, so I can present a bugger at something other than a "very slow" speed. Trout in lakes sometimes do like being coaxed.
 

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The term I've heard before is lake 'turnover'. Cold air sinks, just like colder water will sink in warmer.....In fall, all lakes turnover, some lakes turn several times before the temp in the lake stabilizes to our normal cold 40ish water temp. This fall has been weird. Warm fall, then we get a week blast of freezing temps, then warm, now cold again. Winds can certainly affect how quick the lakes turnover..

I use a Rio type 4 uniform sink line and it works well...My experiences have been to look for the deepest water closest to shore and fish as near the bottom. Try slow stripping/towing a bloodworm sometime...the results might surprise you.
 

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this is fishing!!!!

being politically correct sucks

dude, seriously if you havent noticed that comments such as "sorry, but to me, starring at a chironomid bobber (aka: strike indicator) is not my idea of 'fly fishing'" lead to heated debates that are ridiculously unnecessary, then maybe you would be better off on a different site. thats nearly as stupid as correcting someones spelling or grammatical errors ("starring is not the correct spelling indeed "staring" is much more appropriate). i am so sick of people ragging on fellow fishermen about their personal philosophies that i am about to vomit. superdave i am sure you are a super guy but picking on one another is just retarded in the worst way. we are all fishermen in one way or another and we are all our own people with our own set of fishing and personal philosophies, cant we have the common courtesy to respect each other? now, i hope i havent offended anyone and chris, im sorry for speaking out, but i would really like to see a site where everyone respects and appreciates everyone else. lets learn more about this sport which we all love and learn less about putting other people down. we have a great thing going but comments of that nature are only doing harm. now that i have stepped down from my soapbox i would like to wish you happy fishing and i hope you have a happy holiday season filled with double digit steelies.

~sean~
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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SuperDave:

Lets discuss basic thermodynamics. If water is heated, the heat excites the molecules and they vibrate more, taking up more space. Since there is now more space between the molecules the water is less dense, and it rises to the top.

Next time you have coffee, add some cold creamer to it in a glass cup. Where does that creamer go? To the bottom.

In western Washington lakes that we fly fish in the winter the water does not freeze. The turnover happens in the fall when the thermocline breaks down, and mixing occurs throughout the lake. When the thermocline is fully developed in the summer mixing is only done in the upper layers. There is NEVER warmer water at depth.

For a graphic representation of this:
http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wlr/waterres/lakedata/LkSammN-temp.htm.

For a deeper understanding of limnology: http://www.broadwaters.fsnet.co.uk/index.htm.
---------
Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
 
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