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straw hat

Bluff crappie

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OK have been pondering my 2018 Stockton success and lack therewith. Sometimes I go back to my logbook and find very similar catching notes related to similar times of the year, water elevation, fluctuation levels and similar temps air and water. Nothing scientific but this year has been a highly unusual fishing experience at least for me and it has most assuredly been "easy limit or skunk" for me on Stockton. And more often than not I have made the drive home thinking thinking thinking why I whacked them or why I did not?  I spent many many hours over the years with my electronics looking at schools of fish and bait fish at all levels of the lake. I have noticed that the game fish are in my experience in three dominate locations on Stockton. There are those fish that stay shallow their whole lives. I believe these are the most active fish in the lake and are hellbent on feeding activity the most often. These are the ones we catch the most often for obvious reasons. Then there are the weather sensitive fish that extensively roam from deep to shallow, shallow to deep, mid layer suspending till feeding activity motivates them to move. These sensitive fish being the most likely the most affected by seasonal changes and fronts. Then there are the older, wiser deep dwellers who have held around thermocline (39) all summer but when lake turnover occurs and  thermocline is no longer there, they disperse often deeper but will return to near the same summer depths once turnover has receded and the water mixing is over. These are genuinely the oldest and largest fish in Stockton and roam from deep to shallow. But normally only extensively shallow to spawn for a very short duration in the spring. This last group also is going to be hit hardest by the drastic change known as turnover. Once the turnover begins, be it from a cold, hard rain, high winds, mixing the water layers or rapid seasonal change, the fish suspended in the deepest depths will see the most change since the fish that are shallow have slowly acclimated to the cooling water and onset of winter weather. The more I study temperature and especially depth the more I chase my tail but many interesting comments by OA members has set in motion this study on unique Stockton fishing conditions.  I have ideas in my head and will be heading over today, Wednesday and Thursday AM before Turkey time.  I have taken notice and thought about some folks catching fish at to me remarkable (almost deep CA reservoir) depths on Stockton and will be chasing fish considerably deeper than I normally would fish. Going to be interesting and fun. 

 

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Hey Straw Hat....thanks for the scientific input. Its been a LONG time since I was in school but I have fished every fall for the last 45 years. Whether it starts to turn over, or the temperature equalizes from top to bottom, or whatever is going on, when the water temp drops below 50* is usually when I have noticed the grey dingy water, sour smell, and tough fishing for a week or two. And.....I thought it was at 39* that it stopped mixing. And that the water on the bottom would remain around 39* as the surface freezes. Otherwise, if it continued to mix, it would freeze from top to bottom at the same time......I am going to research this again. 

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".....I thought it was at 39* that it stopped mixing. And that the water on the bottom would remain around 39* as the surface freezes. Otherwise, if it continued to mix, it would freeze from top to bottom at the same time......I am going to research this again. "

As my daddy use to say...'Don't listen to what I say, listen to what I mean.'

Your comment above was correct and that is part of what I meant to say. My typing finger (there is only one) has two left feet. Also as water drops below 39F then it become less dense and floats and that is why ice doesn't form on the bottom of the lake.

 

NOW for a more serious note. There is only one condition where ice will form on the bottom. That is in very fast streams under very cold conditions. The velocity of the water makes it difficult for ice to form on the surface but the rough surface of rock on the bottom gives Ice crystals a place to start forming. I have only seen this once. A strong fast current but an air temperature below 10F for 4 days. At the time I witnessed this it was -7F outside. There is a German name for this phenomena but I have racked my brains for the term for years and just can't remember it. It was something like fiblegrist or something. I have done dozens of searches on the internet but just can't find it. One of those things that just nags at your brain.

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