Welcome to our FISHBLOG!
Everyone Wonder What Color to Tie For When Steelhead Fishing?
Steelheaders know water conditions are everything.
Ontario fishermen are so fortunate to be surrounded by thousands of rivers and lakes - including the largest freshwater lakes in the world - our Great Lakes! Recently I had the opportunity to head across the border to the USA and fish the south shore of Lake Erie. The season opens earlier for smallmouth bass in New York state and hosts numerous tournaments running from May-August. Before heading out, it is important to gauge several well-known environmental factors when fishing for smallmouth bass - wind direction (historical and forecasted), cloud cover, water temperatures, and pressure changes.
For this time of the year on Lake Erie, I prefer winds from the south or southeast, 10-18 knots. Offshore winds minimize wave heights even under higher wind conditions. Lake Erie is known for changing rapidly, making fishing undesirable and unsafe so plan the day right. Throwing out a drift sock or using the Minnkota helps to slow down and control the drift so your baits remain on the bottom.
Water temps, even surface temps can offer some indication to smallmouth activity. Once getting to the 50's you can expect more action. This is not a perfect science for numerous reasons but most guides and charters captains will always head to warmer surface water temps. If heading out, watch your temperature!
Smallmouth will hit under most cloud cover types when fishing water deeper than 25ft. Still, my preference is to stick with the now discoutinued Storm Thunderblade lure - silver/black or rainbow green/silver. Not really sure why this lure was discontinued but it is a great bait that gets you down deep, provides great vibrations, and is better than dragging a tube. A close cousin is the Kamooki Smart Fish.
Atmospheric pressure changes are thought to impact feeding behaviour of bass. Though not proven, many fishermen have experienced a "lock-jaw" effect when pressure rapidly changes from high-to-low, or low-to-high. From my experience, it is this "change in pressure" that does in fact slow down feeding - but not stop it completely. I tend to slow down retrieval rates, go with more natural colors, and even go with live bait to entice the bite. From my perspective, it is all about giving fish time to acclimate to the pressure change.
All in all, the day was great and we stored our fishing photos as waypoints using FISHBUOY Mobile. Next year, we will have the information accessible in FISHBUOY Mobile and FISHBUOY TripPlanner to help us find our spots and align our trip to the right fishing conditions.
Water turbidity whether in a lake, reservoir, river or stream, directly impact how and where we fish. Sometimes, water conditions are too murky and make it nearly impossible for fish to identify your bait in the water. Many fishermen have experienced the challenges around timing fishing trips to the right water conditions. Unfortunately, turbidity is not a frequently monitored water parameter and as a result, leaves fishermen guessing about how clear or how dirty their waters may be once getting to their spot. Using technology such as FISHBUOY allows fishermen to collect turbidity data while in the field and start to build a catalog of conditions that also helps fishermen make an educated guess about how wind direction, magnitude and amount of precipitation may influence water turbidity. Try these steps and start to learn your waters.
1) Open FISHBUOY App and take a photo of the water. Make sure to get some perspective on depth by either wading in to a safe depth and taking a photo of our wading boot - or take a photo of your outboard motor in the water. These will give you a sense of water turbidity based on what you see in the water.
2) FISHBUOY App automatically collects water and weather parameters and tags this information into each photo. This includes water level, water discharge, wind direction and speed, and the precipitation amount and more. In some case, even turbidity and water temperature is included but this is dependent on the available sensors on that water body.
3) Continue to take photos using the "Species" option to collect the relavent water and weather data. Simply use dummy data for species, size and bait color as this information is not necessary when trying to determine how weather may impact water turbidity.
Over time, you will begin to see how the photos in your gallery are impacted by weather.
Turbidity in a fishermens terminology is often used to describe how clear or dirty water is. For most freshwater sports fishermen, water clarity is extremely important because it directly influences decisions made on and off the water. Many fishermen, those wading, compare water clarity to visual depth until your wader boot is no longer visible. For example, a fisherman wading in a river would refer to water clarity in terms of feet or inches of "vis" or "visibility". This basically means, the visual distance you can see an object until it disappears from sight. This is important because most freshwater sports fish are visual feeds first. Similarly, fishermen in boats will also refer to feet of visibility. FISHBUOY Software taps into over 17,000 water monitoring stations, many of which, record turbidity. Looking at turbidity prior to heading out can drastically improve your chances of catching more fish.
Common fishing tactics related to water clarity/turbidity include:
1) Lure/bait color selection - Dirty water (>25NTU) often means brighter colors. Clear water oftens means smaller baits using more natural colors found in the environment.
2) Lure/bait scent - Dirty water makes fish rely more on their other senses, including scent. There are numerous fish scents on the market - try one out!
3) Lure sound/vibration - Dirty water often means attracting fish to your baits through the use of vibrating or sound producing lures. When in turbid waters, add a little extra sound to catch a fishes attention.
Paying attention to water conditions has helped me over the years when fishing for steelhead, salmon, pike, bass and even pan fish. Turbidity affects all species and is worth taking a quick look at FISHBUOY Online to know before you go. www.fishbuoy.com
Every spring and fall, steelheaders from the Great Lake Region prepare their gear in anticipation of the false-fall steelhead run, or post-spawn steelhead exodus back to the lake. This time of the year means paying attention to water conditions and matching bait size and color to water flow and turbidity. FISHBUOY not only helps fishermen to determine what the current water conditions are, FISHBUOY also provides steelheaders with this handy Spawn Tying Guideline that accounts for water turbidity, water velocity, number of eggs per sac, and spawn net color to use. Try it out and learn for yourself the importance of match your bait to water conditions.