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hondo573

How to eliminate water and hone in on kings?

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I feel pretty comfortable with running the gear but what I need to work on is eliminating the bad/ fish less water and identifying the water i should be putting time into. It seems it takes most of the morning before I can start figuring it out and i feel i waste a lot of time waiting for something to work. I was wondering if you guys had any tips or tricks or what what your methods are of choosing where to start. Maybe I need to do more driving around before I set up to fish but hate to waste the early morning bite hours driving around. Maybe it's I'm not paying close enough attention to what the wind just did to the water. Also I'd be interested in how often you change your setup from the initial spread you put out first thing in the morning if it isn't working and how often after that. The main goal this year for me is trying to become more efficient at identifying productive water. I know it changes as the year goes on and fish move all over as spring turns to summer so let's use mid summer... say July as our time of reference. Thanks in advance!!!

 

Sent from my SM-G973U using Lake Ontario United mobile app

 

 

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Good question - following. I think you're gonna hear some people say to get a Fishhawk and find where the thermocline is (wish I could afford one right now)

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This is my 3rd season on my own boat and funny thing is a fishhawk really has helped immensely.  

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Assume you fish Lake O.  Firstly, nothing beats having a network of guys to talk to, that will help you all stay on the kings. If you don't have that, start with the Lake O temperature transects. 

 

In spring you're looking for warm water (just look for pockets of warmer water), in summer you're looking for cold water (48F is good to find) ... that will tell you depth of lake and lure you need to be in.

 

https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/glcfs.php?lake=o&ext=vwt&type=N&hr=06

 

After that you have to have your go to spots in the right depth of water ... lake bottom structure and currents is important.

Before you set lines, look at the sonar for a few minutes going perpendicular from shoreline out ... and see if you find bait fish or marks ... if not, don't bother, keep looking, go to next spot.

 

Look out for where other boats are ... go there, check for marks, look around, see if people are hooking up.

 

If it starts getting too late, and you need to drop lines, then drop lines, but don't expect a great day.

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I've had a Depth Raider since they first came out. New one will set you back $450. Watch the classifieds on all the Great Lakes fishing boards, used ones come up for a few hundred. They work fine for down speed and temp.

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I have been trolling  the lake since 1976. 

Used surface speed and I think I did pretty well . My son talked me into getting a X4 . It helps a lot but I don't fish really any  different . No down temp? spread your baits out vertically and fish marks / bait . Better to go a little fast than to slow . 

 You can get a surface speed / temp  module for probably 40 to 75 $ . And it will help  lot . 

I'm a creature of habit . Depending on what time of year I do the same thing . Once Thermocline sets up I will motor out to my spot  50 or 60 ft and drop lines . Then troll a west north west heading gradually getting deeper till I see fish or hook up   . Once I get to say 140 , I  make a decision . Head in or go out . Whatever , I troll north and south after that . 

To me the most important thing is green water . 

 

When you go out , look at what depth other boats are to start .

 

Back to the question on how to quickly eliminate dead water ? That's the 64000$ question .  And what it's all about . 

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You said it yourself.... paying attention to detail is key.....


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

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The easiest way is to have a network of friends to give you reports.  When that is not possible, experience will help.  Learning what winds move fish where in the area you fish is a huge time saver!  Like stated above, a speed and temp unit does help but DO NOT GET HUNG UP ON TEMP!!!!!   Fish the marks on the graph and use the speed and temp unit for repeating what speed, and what temp you took that fish at.  

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This time of year chase the green water. Look at satellite images on modis Great Lakes site. Case in point, there is a report of someone catching kings offshore near Devil’s Nose. If you look at the satellite image from that day, you can see a detached piece of green water that made it offshore. That water might be gone in 24 hours. 

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You're already at one of the best places to find recent fishing reports, second to only a buddy who was just out yesterday. There are reports out of just about every port on the south shore posted frequently on LOU. At minimum it will give you an idea of where to start. Read the reports, think about what the winds did between that report and when you go out and adjust accordingly. Cover as much of the water column as you can until you figure out where they are biting. For me knowing temp is important but I think the biggest advantage of the fishawk is down speed. My first 2 years I fished without one and just used GPS speed. Now that I have a fishawk I see how crazy different downspeed vs GPS speed can be and why I had days I only caught lakers and other days why I got skunked.

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Great Question. I'm in my 5th year of Salmon Fishing and still can't figure out where to go each time. I read the recent reports. I try to find preferred temps. I've driven around looking for bait balls, I've attended the schools. Some days I do well. Other days I strike out only to see people cleaning coolers of fish. I have a fish hawk and itroll and everything else. It's a big lake. Lots of empty water. Do I look for a depth thermocline, vertical, or a horizontal thermocline where there's a difference in surface temp? Why do I sometimes have great days without seeing a single fish or bait ball on my screen? It's more like hunting then fishing. I believe I can catch them if I can find them. But that's the hard part.

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These guys are great Hondo. A wealth of information if you read between the lines and think about it. Took me 12 yrs, but then small crafters can't touch it. Work, study, listen, repeat. Oh, and luck is always your best bet .

Sent from my SM-G900P using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Posted (edited)
On 6/2/2020 at 9:47 AM, garrymny said:

Why do I sometimes have great days without seeing a single fish or bait ball on my screen? 

Sent from my moto z3 using Lake Ontario United mobile app
 

Active fish that are moving fast don’t always mark well on fish finders. Sometimes you see a dot dot dot or “ghosts”, but generally solid marks are stationary or following fish. 
 

My observations are the best fisherman usually are very detail minded and will put in the extra effort. Those who change lures often, motor just a little further, tie the best knots, sharpen their hooks often, check lines often, pay attention to patterns,   etc, etc tend to have better overall performance. There are always days that despite everything you are doing you just can’t make it happen. I’ve had days when boats around me hammered fish and I struggled and vice versa.  Consistently catching fish can be a lot of work. There is definitely a balance of feeling like you are at work and exhausting yourself out there or just enjoying your time on the boat fishing and relaxing. 
 

As far as eliminating water is concerned some general tips are stay away from cold, clear water, move further offshore as the season progresses, and know that a NW wind brings warm water in and a NE wind brings cold water in. When searching I typically go N or S and will do a circle if I have a good screen even if I do not get bit the first time through. Maybe change up my spread and continue to circle a couple times to see if I can trigger a bite.  As the saying goes, never leave fish to find fish. Sometimes the act of circling itself will get rods to fire as the lure changes direction and pulls away from a following fish. Think of shaking a toy in front of a cat. The cat will watch intently but won’t strike until the toy is pulled away.

 

The thermocline will be set up In July so that helps eliminate a lot of warm water near the surface, usually top 50ft or so.   Where you start is a matter of personal preference. In July there is an inside bite with browns and lakers in less then 150. FOW.  Kings can be mixed in, especially earlier in the month or Sandy to Braddocks if you are fishing the Rochester area. Or you can start in 150 fow and go out from there looking for kings and steelhead. I prefer the later. As the month progresses the inside bite for kings can be hit or miss and I’ve found going further offshore (up to 500 FOW by the end of the month) is a better bet for finding kings. August, I’m almost always fishing 300-500 plus FOW and then back in to 100 FOW or less, temp permitting, by the end of the month (Usually Labor Day) and September fishing browns and mature salmon. 

 

When searching in the Summer, I always do a temp check in 120 fow or so before setting. I’m checking to see if the temp is too deep, 100 plus ft down, or too shallow, above 40 ft. If either of the above is true, I  know stable, more productive water where the thermocline is usually 50-80 ft down has moved offshore. That water can usually be found 250-500 FOW. Not to say that fish cannot be caught in those conditions, especially when the thermocline is pushed deep. I just hate fishing 100 plus ft down and prefer to see if I can find cold water up higher so I can run a better spread. I will keep motoring out and do down temp checks along the way until I see the down temps getting better. I then set up and go North from there. Much of this is a matter of personal preference and there are better fishermen on here then me that may have a whole different take. Many times the fish have their own agenda on where they prefer to be and will throw a curve ball to the norm.
 

For lure selection I have a morning/low light lure box (white cups/glow, etc) and a midday/high light (Silver/UV, etc) box. Normal Summer days I’m changing over around 10am to my high light stuff. Also, I never run orange/red/pink below 35 ft or so. Lures don’t stay out more then an hour if not bit. I tend to go “All in” on a color scheme once I find what’s working and will have 8-10 spoons of the popular patterns in my box. Some days I”ll have all my riggers with the same spoon with cheaters if there is a strong preference to a particular spoon. 
 

I can go on and on. The best advice I can give you is to ask a lot of questions, always observe and learn and be open to trying new techniques. I’ve been doing this 35 plus years and never thought of running more then two dipseys. Observing others around me that are successful doing it made me think, why not? There are certainly days when the dipsey bite is hot so why not capitalize on it.
 

Hope this helps and good luck.

Edited by A-Lure-A
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Wow thank you for massive amount of info a lot to digest

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There is a wealth of information given above.  I really can't take exception to anything said.  I will add a couple of things. 

  1. Study the environmental physiology of your target.  You need to know this, habitat, niche and how that relates to the conditions of the day.  (It amazes me what people don't know AND more so, about what people think they know, but is just not so about salmon)
  2. Use your GPS.  Use waypoints and tracks to replicate the last bite you had.  There are days when you can troll in a straight line for the limit, but taking several fish from multiple passes over one spot is more of the norm in the summer. 
  3. Use proven (BY YOU) tactics.  Communication from peers is good and I have posted many truthful detailed reports during the years I fished LO, but if you keep chasing the reports and radio you never perfect your game.  Know the lure market and the colors there is often a dominate color and action in the hot "radio" lure.  I once had over 30 plano boxes of spoons in my cabin, when I finished my freshwater career I had 2 and cut my lure expenses by 90% and still filled the board.  Refer to #1, understanding the vision acuity and physics of light, whether a lure fluoresces or reflects and contrast with the surface is the game.  Same with tactics, I never got into the inline planerboard game, lots of guys do it, but not one of my tactics, you need a good arsenal of tactics but you don't need every tactic.  Get really good at riggers, sliders and dipsys then add.
  4. Finally, let me repeat myself, REPLICATE do the same proven thing time after time year after year.  Keep a log until you have done it so many years in a row that you just know what to do when you clear the jetty and look at the lake in front of you.
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Great post by A-Lure-A and Captain Bish.

 

I find it challenging as a weekend warrior (bi-monthly) fisherman to stay on the fish also. Everything previously mentioned is spot on. Few pointers over the years for me.

 

1) Decision fatigue is real - having too many options has left me second guessing myself to much. I have a fishing backpack that holds 4 plastic tackle box trays (8 spoons each) and 2 flasher/fly bags (6 combos). I plan the night or days leading up based off weather and reading reports hear and conditions (4 boxes are labeled Dawn/9am/11am/2pm). This has limited by options when continually second guessing myself when I am not catching

 

2) I start my morning with two opposite sides - One for active fish - short leads and one for negative fish - long leads. I spend my morning in search mode until I catch or graph fish and let them tell me what they want.

 

3) When I do graph fish / bait I stay on them for 3-4 passes before moving on. I used to drive over them once no hits meant no fish. I also do not use a temp probe but stack the water column from a 7-color to a thumper rod. When the fish talk I listen.

 

4) A lot of guys that I have always looked up to on this site (yankeetroller, thrillseeker, gambler) or facebook follows (andy bliss, dirty goose, dan the fisher) just seem to be so consistent catching because they are so consistent in their approach. Every hour on the water you are learning and once you pick up pattern that is favorable log it and stick with it. Things quite often do not go as planned but having the ability to adapt as conditions adapt I believe is what makes some anglers on this forum great.

 

I still have not figured these fish out and hopefully never completely do because it keeps me coming back to this site reading, listen and learning.

 

Good Luck!

-Chris

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Everyone above put a lot of information out there, as a rookie fisherman trying to teach my kids and have fun catching fish I am very appreciative of the knowledge put into the responses.

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If you dot have the Electronic gizmos, get out on the water early at dawn. When the sun gets high around 8:00 AM concentrate on deeper water where the fish head out to. On a bright sunny blue sky day the salmon go deep, really deep, like 200 foot where your graph does not show them as it is tuned to higher depths. As the sun sets in the evening the fish will rise up and move to shore if the water there attracts bait. Cloudy, overcast days are gold fishing days and a good chop diffuses the sun's rays bringing the fish higher.

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Be willing to change lures. Do something different with all of your rod presentations and show as many scenarios to the fish as possible. When the bites pattern, make the wholesale switch and dial the bite in. Don’t just stick proven lures in the water and wash them for hours. Check spoons and rigs every 30 min for shakers or issues. I can’t tell you how much wasted time I have given rods only to realize I dragged a skip or a laker around for an hour. The constant pulling and checking and changing of rigs has made a big difference for me in the last few outings. 

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