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Birds Sitting on Water #13411383 01/21/20 03:28 PM
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lonestar Offline OP
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I usually fish quite a bit, but mainly in late spring and summer due to my work. Now that I'm retired, more fishing opportunities are available. I mainly target whites, hybrids, and stripers. I can do fairly well in the summer. I now have a question, a lake that I drive by frequently that I have caught lots of whites will have a significant number of birds sitting on the water in the mornings during the winter. I have never been on the lake in the winter but wondering if the sitting birds (usually gulls and sometimes white pelicans) indicate that fish are near. I assume it may indicate shad in the area? Anyone have any experience with this?

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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13411507 01/21/20 05:00 PM
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If I see birds on the surface in a cove or protected area on calmer water I don`t think they are near fish, just resting. If I see birds on the surface of rough water I figure there is fish/shad in the area and they are looking to feed or recently fed. It takes some effort to stay still in the wind and waves so there must be a reason for them to stay. If they are not diving then the best action is over but probably still some fish in the area. But that's just my experience.


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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13411514 01/21/20 05:07 PM
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Birds sitting on the water are worth looking, but if I see a loon in deeper water I will always take the extra time to search the area

Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: 44 Diesel] #13411935 01/21/20 10:17 PM
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Donny Parker Offline
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I have seen birds sitting on the water in a big group, no fish in the area. Like said before, I think they are just resting.

The gulls are usually diving when the fish are active in that area.

Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13412520 01/22/20 02:15 PM
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Bones72 Offline
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Yeh I would say depends on what kind of birds. Gulls and terns dive from the air, cormorants, mergansers (fish ducks) or loons sitting on the water would however lead me to believe there might be fish about

Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13412521 01/22/20 02:16 PM
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i agree. if they are rafting its usually just a sign that they are resting and digesting food. don't get fooled if you see the cormorants on the water and gulls above them. the gulls are there to eat Comoran poop as they fly off.


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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13412601 01/22/20 03:19 PM
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Gulls not Terns are worth investigating even if sitting buoying . They are not there for their health, there is a reason for them being there. Go upwind and drift into . A number of times we just missed working birds and they are waiting for the encore .

Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: Boomerbrewer] #13413429 01/23/20 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Boomerbrewer
If I see birds on the surface in a cove or protected area on calmer water I don`t think they are near fish, just resting. If I see birds on the surface of rough water I figure there is fish/shad in the area and they are looking to feed or recently fed. It takes some effort to stay still in the wind and waves so there must be a reason for them to stay. If they are not diving then the best action is over but probably still some fish in the area. But that's just my experience.

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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13414033 01/23/20 04:48 PM
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I was taught resting birds equals nothing diving birds equals active fish.


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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: gborg] #13414132 01/23/20 06:02 PM
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MilesHunter Offline
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Originally Posted by gborg
Gulls not Terns are worth investigating even if sitting buoying . They are not there for their health, there is a reason for them being there. Go upwind and drift into . A number of times we just missed working birds and they are waiting for the encore .


Agreed. If there are gulls there the fish are probably not far off. Drift into them or ease up with the trolling motor and start thumping. Chances are good that you will stir up some action. We did this exact same thing the other day and within 10 minutes the graph was lit up and there was surface action close by.


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Re: Birds Sitting on Water [Re: lonestar] #13415037 01/24/20 03:47 PM
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Don't sleep on resting gulls

As a general rule animals stay near the food source. Efficiency is an instinctual force in nature. (applies both hunting and fishing)

With the exception of roosting, groups of gulls are typically near an active feeding area. If you see a large group during surfacing season chances are there is a surfacing pattern nearby. Its just a matter of timing.

Same goes with Blue Herons and hybrids. If you see three boathouses in a row with a blue heron sitting on top during the summer there are likely gizzard shad being pushed by hybrids nearby.

Luck is driving up on obvious scenarios like diving birds. Consistency is found in recognizing the subtle not so obvious details.

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