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#11591430 - 05/09/16 10:25 AM Expectations When Locating Fish
Mr Brisket Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 6
Hi There,

The recent post about Graphs, Side Imaging and Side Scan brought up a question for me. I didn’t want to hijack that post, as it was headed in a different direction regarding ettiquete on the water.

My question comes from a recent outing on Canyon Lake where I worked to locate fish at first light. In recent years I have been successful at catching stripers in the spring and early summer by trolling sassy shad unbrella rigs in certain areas at first light. There is usually some minimal surface activity (very scattered), always without birds (never seen birds working at Canyon), and then the fish will continue to feed for a short time below the suraface, just until the sun comes up over the tops of the hills. After about 8:00am, the fish are gone.

My expectation would be that I should then be able to locate a school or schools by using my electronics. I use a Humminbird 998 and run the sonar, down imaging and sidescan simultaniously. After the fish went down, I would see an occasional fish or two or three, but never have the screen light up with an obvious concentration of fish. I tried for another hour moving back and forth looking for any reason to stop the boat, but didn’t see anything worth stopping for.

So here’s my question……what would you do? Is an indication of 2 or 3 fish enough to make you stop the boat and fish? I continued to troll. I have down riggers but didn’t see the need for a controlled depth presentation, as the fish weren’t holding at any particular depth. Should I have just anchored in the area and jigged slabs or blind casted swimbaits, mepps, etc… in hopes that they might come find us?

We did catch two stripers and one white while trolling. Here's my father-in-law with the largest of the day.




Canyon Lake has a decent population of stripers. I try to learn as much as I can from sites like this, but it seems like the fish behave differently on Canyon versus the many North Texas lakes.

I would appreciate any advice you could throw my way.

Thanks,

Mike

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#11591731 - 05/09/16 12:20 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
PKfishin Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/28/12
Posts: 2613
Loc: Texas
I've never fished Canyon but at PK the stripers normally rest on the bottom close to areas where shad or other baitfish are during the middle of the day. If you know the areas where stripers like to hang out, those are the places to fish. If you see nothing on the graph, they are not there and you might as well go somewhere else. When I see them now days I stop and drop shad right on top of them and they bite right away. I joke that it's like my wife bringing me a slice of pizza when I'm watching football but not really hungry. I would not get up to get it but since it's right there...

When stripers or white bass are moving, I normally like trolling or slow strolling with live shad or lures. If they are chasing bait they can move a 100 yards in a few minutes and you basically have to chase them with a heavy lure you can throw a long ways. At Texoma I've seen this as they had gizard shad balls on the surface and chased them all over the lake. Takes a fast trolling motor just to keep up. When they are on the surface and actively feeding they are pretty easy to catch.


Edited by PKfishin (05/09/16 12:21 PM)
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#11591737 - 05/09/16 12:22 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Uncle Zeek Online   content
"Good News, Everyone!"

Registered: 09/26/05
Posts: 19503
Loc: Lewisville
One good approach on the areas with just a few fish marking is to make a drift or two over the area bouncing slabs at the bottom. You'll figure out if there's active fish in a hurry.
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#11591880 - 05/09/16 01:14 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Duece Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/30/09
Posts: 568
I've fished Canyon a few times. There are some nice fish there but you have to work a little harder as the jet ski and ski boat crowd dominate that lake from early in the day to after dark. I've never had any luck on white bass there but the striper we catch are around the sunken island just upstream of the dam, very early like you are doing. Throwing big sassy's letting them bump bottom down the hill side. Once the light gets up and the jet skis start buzzing we down rig troll the dam and pick off fish going back and fourth along the long wall. Not my favorite style of fishing but catching is catching. These pics were from a trip last summer.

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#11592237 - 05/09/16 03:04 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Tx Tree Grower Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 09/17/08
Posts: 797
Loc: Palestine, TX
The absolute first thing you need to do is make sure you have that graph tuned in to where it is giving you a good reading. With the traditional sonar use a crappie jig get it down under the transducer and just observe what it looks like. Make sure you are getting a good arch reading. If not you may need to adjust the angle of transducer. You can also use a slab. Reading should obviously be larger than the crappie jig. Once you have confidence it is reading good it pretty much boils down to experience after that. Often times when people are trying to learn electronics, they get into a good school of fish and get so excited that they don't take the time to observe their graph. This is your best opportunity to learn what a good school of fish really looks like. I don't get the opportunity to fish for true striper very often, but with hybrids this time of year I'm looking for a school of fish, that on traditional sonar, is connected to the bottom. In other words not suspended. Often times on my 898 a blob of hybrids on the bottom will look alot like a yellow bump on the bottom. When I was really focusing on learning my electronics I would let the boys fish, when we happened to stumble on a pile of fish I would just look at the graph and observe. It can really teach you alot.

I never fish Canyon so I'm not sure what the fish concentrations are like. When you catch those fish trolling I would consider drifting those same areas while keeping a close eye on your graph. When you get hits, especially multiple hits, learn what the screen looks like when that happens. Looking back when I first started really focusing on learning my electronics I can think of many times I fished things on the graph that I would never stop to fish now, but thats all part of the learning curve. Its like putting a big puzzle together. Spring is a great time of the year to learn. Once it gets hot the schools get smaller, scatter quicker, and move more. That's when knowing your electronics really pays off.

One last thing is a good navionics map or hotmap will generally let you rule out 90% of the body of water. At that point focus on the 10% that holds the majority of the fish. Up the odds any way you can.



Edited by Tx Tree Grower (05/09/16 03:09 PM)

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#11592446 - 05/09/16 04:14 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Fish Inspector Offline
Angler

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 493
Loc: Canyon Lake
Brisket, you are spot on the fish pattern at Canyon.
The Stripers sometimes can be located real early, then they do seem to disappear.
You sometimes can find some in the deeper standing timber but those areas are difficult to fish.
Canyon has limited shad and you will hardly ever see birds.
The hump by the dam sometimes holds some but I rarely see the schools, like in other lakes.
Large minnows sometimes work,
They seems to roam vast areas.
If your catching any your doing good there.
I normally go Catfishing after the sun gets up. Some good Blues in there.
Good luck,

FI
_________________________
I'm a humble fisherman in the service of our Lord.
Started fishin at 5 years old and can't stop.
I've owned a boat every day from age 16.
I fish for every type of fish in every different way.

Kevin

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#11592757 - 05/09/16 06:31 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Capt. Michael Littlejohn Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 8824
Loc: Lake Tawakoni, Tx
In a nutshell, this is how I view "fish-finding" as it relates to the time of day.

Overnight the fish "stratify" or seriously spread out over open water vs. where they where generally the afternoon before.

Basically, the fish hit their "reset" button each morning and generally it's the same thing day in...day out. During summer months (70 degrees and above) fish will possibly school just after daylight. Depending if you have cloud cover, that schooling could grow in intensification as the Mornin progresses. When this is happening...fish finding is better made by the human eye (birds, fish splashing, etc)

On sunny days, the early morning fish are STILL very hard to find on structure early. But, as the sun comes up...say after 9am, the fish spread out from previous night will begin to gang up on humps, structure...etc.

Say all that to say....I don't use my side imaging near as much in the first 2 hours of daylight as I do after 9am...or so.
_________________________
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www.tawakoniguideservice.com
Click HERE for Recent CATCH Photos!


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#11593117 - 05/09/16 08:52 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Custom Rod Maker Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/04/15
Posts: 73
Loc: Flint Texas
Salsa
Like the new logo. Just one question did you start stocking fresh water sharks in tawakoni ? Looks like a shark image in the middle. LOL

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#11593207 - 05/09/16 09:23 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
Mr Brisket Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 6
Thank you for all of the good information. I still have a lot to learn.

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#11594846 - 05/10/16 04:47 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
txfour Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 9404
Loc: Jack County
I really like this topic.

I am still struggling to locate fish as well. I've had a couple of good trips (even a blind squirell will find a nut now and again) but otherwise, I really struggle to locate fish.

All I have is regular sonar and downscan. I basically cruise hump and long points. I'm just not finding many fish at all. It's pretty frustrating and it seems my fishing trips are more about cruising the lake staring at my graph.
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#11594880 - 05/10/16 05:04 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Capt. Michael Littlejohn]
Coachzee Offline
Angler

Registered: 01/11/13
Posts: 497
Loc: Ray hubbard
Originally Posted By: Salsa®
In a nutshell, this is how I view "fish-finding" as it relates to the time of day.

Overnight the fish "stratify" or seriously spread out over open water vs. where they where generally the afternoon before.

Basically, the fish hit their "reset" button each morning and generally it's the same thing day in...day out. During summer months (70 degrees and above) fish will possibly school just after daylight. Depending if you have cloud cover, that schooling could grow in intensification as the Mornin progresses. When this is happening...fish finding is better made by the human eye (birds, fish splashing, etc)

On sunny days, the early morning fish are STILL very hard to find on structure early. But, as the sun comes up...say after 9am, the fish spread out from previous night will begin to gang up on humps, structure...etc.

Say all that to say....I don't use my side imaging near as much in the first 2 hours of daylight as I do after 9am...or so.


Great tip right there salsa!

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#11594891 - 05/10/16 05:09 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Mr Brisket]
jbobo Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 2550
Loc: springtown,tx.
Txfour, that is not necessarily a bad thing. You should be learning the contours and structure, and creating waypoints, as you are cruising looking for fish. You can always go directly to these places at a later date more quickly to check them out. I watch my graphs a lot when moving around. If I see a good looking structure, I will circle and check it out really well, then mark a waypoint if I like it, before moving on. Right now, it is a guessing game unless you are there every day and sometimes even then.
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817-220-2312
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#11594990 - 05/10/16 06:02 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Custom Rod Maker]
Capt. Michael Littlejohn Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 8824
Loc: Lake Tawakoni, Tx
Originally Posted By: Custom Rod Maker
Salsa
Like the new logo. Just one question did you start stocking fresh water sharks in tawakoni ? Looks like a shark image in the middle. LOL


Hey Frank....lol, I don't just guide in fresh water...thumb
_________________________
Michael Littlejohn's Full-Time Lake Tawakoni Guide Service
www.tawakoniguideservice.com
Click HERE for Recent CATCH Photos!


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#11594995 - 05/10/16 06:05 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: txfour]
Capt. Michael Littlejohn Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 8824
Loc: Lake Tawakoni, Tx
Originally Posted By: txfour
I really like this topic.

I am still struggling to locate fish as well. I've had a couple of good trips (even a blind squirell will find a nut now and again) but otherwise, I really struggle to locate fish.

All I have is regular sonar and downscan. I basically cruise hump and long points. I'm just not finding many fish at all. It's pretty frustrating and it seems my fishing trips are more about cruising the lake staring at my graph.


Side Imaging will fix a lot of those issues.
_________________________
Michael Littlejohn's Full-Time Lake Tawakoni Guide Service
www.tawakoniguideservice.com
Click HERE for Recent CATCH Photos!


Top
#11595093 - 05/10/16 06:58 PM Re: Expectations When Locating Fish [Re: Capt. Michael Littlejohn]
txfour Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 9404
Loc: Jack County
Originally Posted By: Salsa®
Originally Posted By: txfour
I really like this topic.

I am still struggling to locate fish as well. I've had a couple of good trips (even a blind squirell will find a nut now and again) but otherwise, I really struggle to locate fish.

All I have is regular sonar and downscan. I basically cruise hump and long points. I'm just not finding many fish at all. It's pretty frustrating and it seems my fishing trips are more about cruising the lake staring at my graph.


Side Imaging will fix a lot of those issues.


I think so too. Can you send a note to my wife telling her so? grin
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