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So my GPS says I'm going 2.5 mph but my riger says I,m going 1.2 mph @ 50 FOW is this common. And what speed do I need to go to catch some salmmon

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According to my GPS, i'm running around 3.2 to 4 MPH. I don't know my down speed but that speed on the surface seems to work well. It took me a while to get the speed right you just have to mess with it a little.

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My down speed is between 2.5 and 3.5 when I am looking for kings.

My gps speed is sometimes faster and sometimes slower , it all depends

on the currents that are at the depth you are fishing .

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The current was tough and strong yesterday. We never go by the surface speed, always the down speed as what's going on up top is no the same as what's going on below. This can be a killer on some days and a time waster. It will also depend on what you are running down below.

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Thanks GUys I will try to keep my Down speed between 2.5 and 3.5 from what i'm reading hear I was going way to slow. I never thought that didferent curence at diferent thermoclines would afect it that much!

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Down speed is key.

 

The GPS displays you boat's speed over the bottom of the lake, not your lure's speed through the water. They are rarely the same, and often are not even close to each other due to  surface currents going in one direction and underwater currents going in another direction. Wind and wave action can further increase the differences between the two. To use GPS speed you really need to have your lures fishing close to the surface.

 

I find 2.2-2.6 the most productive down speed for salmon and steelhead, and 1.8-2.2 for lake and brown trout. Most lures will not run correctly below or above this speed unless they are very speed tolerant. Fishing just one lure faster than it was designed to be run can kill an entire spread of lures if it is doing something odd like spinning (excluding lures/baits designed to spin slowly at trolling speeds like rotating flashers or "meat rigs".

 

I would consider fishing at speeds quicker than these unusual.

Edited by John E Powell

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U can go by the bend in your diver rods and the hum and angle of your rigger cables to. But the best way is definitely a fish hawk or equivalent. If you've never used a down speed/ temp unit, you would be amazed at the currents out there.

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SO I may be missing something but if the boat is going a certain speed over ground (based on your GPS) how is it that your lure can go slower "or faster" then the boat for any prolonged amount of time? I can see  currents maybe influencing the lure action for short bursts but eventually that lure must follow the boat at the speed the boat is going. If my boat averages 2.5mph for 1 hour I suspect my lure will have averaged the same speed over that hour as well. I am a novice here so tell me how this works.

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Currents keep going. Different depths can produce different currents.

For example. You are fishing 2.5 gps or SOG. 75 foot down the current could be moving at your boat from behind, sideways or in front of you. This all effects the speed of the lure you are using which can kill a fishes interest. Say the current is behind you, coming at your stern, you can go 2.5 SOG but the current is also moving at 2 mph. Therefore your lure has little to no action. Vise versa, if the current was at 2 mph from the direction of travel your lure may be spinning at the speed causing your lure to be moving at 4.5 mph which may be too fast.

You will be surprised the speed difference and even the tempo difference five feet at the lure can make .

Nick

Sent from my XT907 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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There are many contributing factors that cause water in large bodies of water to move. Some of them are the Coriolis Effect, underwater geological features, tidal effects of the sun and moon, prolonged and/or strong winds, water movement from large tributaries, and temperature variances. In the great lakes, the greatest factor is temperature differences is water acted upon by winds.

Winds cause waves on the surface of the lake by absorbing energy from the wind. If you stand in the water on a beach on a windy day, you can feel the energy of the waves as the water slaps upon your body. Put the energy you feel in the context of the energy absorbed by the water across the entire surface of Lake Ontario and I think you can see that there is an enormous amount of energy being applied by the wind to move water around.

Here is a link to the latest satellite imagery of the surface currents in Lake Ontario: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?lake=o&ext=sfcur&type=N&hr=00
Note that the direction of the arrow indicates the direction of current flow and the color of the background represents the speed of that current (see the color key to the left). Try clicking on the "Animation" link near the top of the page for a historical look at how the surface currents may have changed over the last 48 hours (the animation plays from 48 hrs ago to the most recent)

As I wrote this response, the surface currents were flowing generally from North to South across the lake. As this water flows South across the surface of the entire lake, it has to go somewhere. Where it goes is downward and generally pushes the deeper water in the opposite direction.

So let us use some examples to try to understand this. Let’s assume the surface current is traveling from N to S at a speed of 1 mph, and this water flow extends below the surface for approximately 30 feet. Below this depth, from 30 to 60 feet, the water is returning in the opposite direction traveling S to N at the same 1 mph speed. The difference between these two currents at the depth of 30 feet is 2 mph. If we were to troll S with the wind and you were using a speed indicator that measured how fast the boat traveled through the water (surface speed indicator - SSI), let us further assume this speed measured 2 mph. Excluding all other factors, a GPS would indicate that the boat is traveling 3 mph over ground (or the bottom of the lake) due to 1 mph surface current plus 2 mph SSI actual boat speed through the water, however, if you were to place a lure over the side and let it run alongside the boat, the lure's speed through the water would be equal to the speed of the boat traveling through the water as reported by the SSI or 2mph.

Let’s say our lure is an Evil Eye spoon that runs well at this speed. If you rely only on GPS speed, you would think this lure is running well at 3 mph (when in actuality it is running only 2 mph). Now, you attach our lure to our downrigger release and send it down to 45 feet, right in the middle of the 30-60 foot current going the opposite direction. Remember from above that there is a 2 mph difference between surface and subsurface currents and in this case we would be trolling into the subsurface currents so the Lure Speed would have to be added to the SSI speed so the lure would be traveling through the subsurface water at 2+2 or 4mph! Relying on GPS speed alone we feel confident in our Evil Eye's tantalizing wobble when in reality the fish sees our Evil Eye spinning like a propeller blade.

Now we see a nice pod of bait and some active fish on our sonar but we don't get a hit so we decide to turn the boat 180 degrees to make another pass through them. As we change our heading from traveling with the surface current to traveling into the surface current our GPS speed drops from 3 mph (2+1 going with the current) to 1mph (2-1 going against or into the current). Let us see what our lure is doing: The boat is still moving forward through the surface water at 2mph but you're now going into a 1 mph current so the boat has a net speed of 1mph which interestingly matches the GPS speed of 1mph. But now let us recall that our lure is attached to a downrigger that is set at a depth where the water is traveling at the same net speed and direction as the boat. Now our fish sees our Evil Eye dangling from the release dead in the water. A side note here - this is why so many novice fisherman catch fish when they make turns, because as they turn, lure speed transitions from too fast to too slow, or vise versa, and for a brief time during the turn the lure travels at a speed where the lure is productive and they catch a fish - all the while thinking their unknowingly incorrect GPS speed finally caught them a fish and because of their success they come out the next trip and continue their speed errors confident in their misunderstanding of what is actually happening with their lure presentation.

Getting back to our scenario, the GPS speed skipper thinks he's only going 1mph, with, in reality, a net 0mph, so what does he do? He increases his boat speed by 2mph so his GPS once again reads 3mph (the speed at which he was traveling earlier when the lure looked so enticing to him trolled next to the boat). Now in reality, his lure which was dead has sped up by 2 mph to a speed where the lure was designed to be productive and as we approach and pass through our pod of bait and active fish, we catch one. We even might pass back and forth through this spot alternating between propeller spinning lure speeds going South and productive speeds going North and catch a few more fish, but all the time we think we're traveling 3mph on our GPS when in fact we only caught fish when our lure was in a turn or on the productive North troll at 2mph.

What a downrigger speed and temperature unit does is take the mystery out of all the possible variables. It uses a precision sensor at the same depth as your lure is being trolled to let you know exactly how fast the lure is traveling through the water (surrounding the lure) relative to all the combined factors which influence and effect boat speed. It helps you keep your lures moving through the water at the correct productive speeds all the time, not just part of the time. That is why it is far more useful a tool than a GPS to measure trolling speed. Moreover, you will be able to share your information with others, and use the information other people share with you more effectively. If they are experienced trollers and they are talking speed, it's pretty universally understood they are likely reporting down speed (lure speed) and not GPS speeds which can be correct or off by a lot from day to day. An experienced troller is going to rely upon something that is consistent and repeatable from day to day, not a system that has lots of variables and changes throughout the day as environmental conditions change.

Unless you are out on the water near another boat going the exact same direction with them (where all the environmental variables are likely duplicated between your boat and theirs) any reference to a GPS speed is likely useless because you cannot know the environmental context or collective factors which influenced that speed. To read a forum post where someone says I caught all my fish at 3.5 GPS speed yesterday on a SW to NE troll is pretty much meaningless to you today. Hearing on the radio that a buddy is catching fish on Evil Eyes should tell you that he's probably trolling a little slower than usual because you know that lure's productive speed range and it will clue you into the fact you may need to slow down and change you offerings to something designed to work at slower speeds. But, if you listen to him tell you he's going 3.5 on his GPS, you might think you have to speed up cause you’re going 3mph (and on your South troll, your lures are already spinning) What are they going to do at 3.5?

Now if you’re near each other and he tells you 3.5 GPS on a heading of 355 degrees, at least you will be in the ball park part of the time.

If you want to catch fish more consistently and in greater numbers, do yourself a favor, buy a downrigger mounted down-speed unit and stop using your GPS speed for this purpose.

Edited by John E Powell

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WOW!!!   Alot of information there. All is true and when you finally get a down/speed unit it will all make more sense, as it did for me.

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Thank your John and everyone else trying to teach this old goat some new tricks I have logged approximately 6 hrs of salmon fishing time. Saturday I go back out with my two young boys hoping to finally land something.... Anything! to make the boat worth the cost and aggravation (besides the obvious.... spending time with my sons and getting away from the old anchor .... LOL)

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