John's Journal...


Rising or Falling? The Lake's Water Situation

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: According to Rick Clunn of Missouri, four-time Bassmasters Classic winner and the newly-named best bass fisherman of all time by bass fishing fans across the world, "How to fish a new lake is one of the most-common questions asked by anglers.” “I particularly hear this question when I'm giving seminars. I never remember having a seminar where someone didn't ask me how to fish a new lake," Ken Cook of Meers, Oklahoma, former fisheries biologist, Megabucks tournament winner and Bassmasters Classic Champion in 1991, told me. "If I had to pick one question I can bet on being asked at any seminar I go to, it is about how to fish a new lake," Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, former winner of the Bassmasters Classic, told me. Apparently everyone is seeking the answer to the same Click to enlargequestion. But one question that always should precede how to fish a new lake is, "What information should I have about a lake before I go to fish it?" If you have the proper knowledge about a lake before you arrive at a lake, then your chances of successfully catching bass will be far greater.

"When I am going to fish a new lake I have to know whether the lake is rising or falling," Gary Klein explains. "The water level will tell me where on the structure I can find the bass, if I am angling for shallow-water fish. I know if the lake is rising, the bass will be moving in close to shore, holding on the back sides of stumps and bushes and looking toward the bank for their food. I also realize that if the lake is rising, it is probably stained or muddy. Therefore the bass will be in much more shallow water than if the lake is clear or falling. With this information, I can determine that I must have bait that will come from the bank toward the deep water and that I will be fishing in probably less than 6 feet of water. If I discover the lake is falling, I know the fish will be pulled out toward the deeper water. They will be on the outside of bushes on the deep-water side. Also if the water is clear, the bass will be extremely skittish. By knowing whether the water is rising or falling Click to enlargebefore you go to a lake, you usually can paint an accurate picture of where you will be fishing, the bait you will have to use, and the presentation you must make. If at all possible, my personal preference is to angle for shallow water fish, which are easy to catch. The water condition is critical. Another factor is the weather I can expect on the lake during the time I plan to fish there."

Watching The Weather:

If you know where the bass should be, the type of structure they should be holding on and whether the water is rising or falling, the next critical ingredient is the weather on the day you plan to fish. If you are angling on a cloudy, overcast day, you must understand that the bass should be on top of the structure rather than under it like they would be on a bright, clear day. If a cold front is moving in, and you will be on the lake ahead of the front, then you know that the bass should be in a feeding mood. If you are going to be fishing on the day a cold front hits, Click to enlargethen you must realize that to be successful you will have to angle for deep water fish, which are less affected by weather changes than shallow-water bass. Knowing the weather before you go fishing not only plays an important role in the success of your fishing trip but also tells you where you can logically expect to find the bass and what mood they should be in on the day you plan to fish.



Check back each day this week for more about WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A LAKE BEFORE YOU GET THERE

Day 1: Why Fish A New Lake?
Day 2: Learning Seasonal Migration Patterns and Narrowing the Lake
Day 3: Rising or Falling? The Lake's Water Situation
Day 4: Knowing How Deep The Bass Go And Where They Don't Go
Day 5: Using Aerial Reconnaissance



Entry 313, Day 3