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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Slush monster! Got to scofield at sunrise last saturday. Fished madsen bay area. Boy am I glad I brought the snow shoes! The slush was horrible, most people got their boots soaked. Tons of people got stuck with their 4 wheelers and even snowmobiles. I caught one nice fat rainbow right off the bat with a cutter bug tipped with a mealworm in about 8 feet of water then moved deeper, and that was the only fish for the day. Most people didn't get anything. I watched the fish on my underwater camera. They would swim around my lures but never attempt a bite, nomatter what I used. I tried waxies, worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, and minnows with varying combinations, lures, and jigging styles. They just wouldn't bite. Didn't see anyone else the whole day catch anything. I drove around the reservoir and watched people from the road and it was the same story. No fish on the ice either by anyone. I took a scenic drive up to Huntington and it was beautiful weather. The snow was incredibly deep at Huntington and nobody was on the ice. I jumped and crawled up on top of the snow from the parking lot and snowshoed down to the ice. Snow on the ice itself was a couple feet deep. Ice was nice and thick. Used a snow shovel, then I had to bury the auger all the way to the handle to punch through. By then a couple guys walked in my snowshoe tracks down to fish as well. Fished there for a little bit with minnows on a cutter bug jig and watched with my camera at the same time. Saw a couple, but they too didn't even attempt a bite. I'm going to give those reservoirs a couple weeks before I fish again. Let the fish decide they want to eat again. Maybe try the berry. Can't wait for the late ice action now, that is always killer!
 
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I have noticed that about Scofield too. It seems to really slow down by mid January. I don't know if this is because it freezes up earlier than most other lakes, since most lakes, in my experience, slow down after a month or so of ice. February has never been really productive for me through the ice, although there have been some exceptions.
 

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This report reminds me of a curiosity question. Where does the slush on top of ice come from. Is it from melting snow that cannot obsorbe into the ground because of the ice of is it lake water on top of the ice maybe from the lake rising? Just something I have wondered about while I was stuck and wondering if the ice is still safe :?
 

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WeakenedWarrior said:
I have noticed that about Scofield too. It seems to really slow down by mid January. I don't know if this is because it freezes up earlier than most other lakes, since most lakes, in my experience, slow down after a month or so of ice. February has never been really productive for me through the ice, although there have been some exceptions.
After first ice the fish stay near the bottom because it is warmer, later in the season they move to the middle and near the top as the cold has had time to work its way to the bottom. Maybe try working the middle and upper sections of the water by then.
 
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Nibble Nuts said:
After first ice the fish stay near the bottom because it is warmer, later in the season they move to the middle and near the top as the cold has had time to work its way to the bottom. Maybe try working the middle and upper sections of the water by then.
Hmm. I always assumed it was because of the metabolism of the fish steadily declines through the winter due to the lower temps and oxygen levels. I do tend to fish the bottom mostly though because without a finder to tell you what depth they are suspended at it usually seems like the best bet. I finally got a finder this year so I will definitely test your theory this year and see if it works. Thanks.

Has anybody caught any of the tigers they planted in Scofield a couple years ago? My neighbor was down there earlier this month and said they caught a few that were 16" and fat as rainbows. It made me want to get down there and catch some myself!
 

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Nothing since it iced, but almost everybody that fishes Scofield is catching tigers from time to time. They getting bigger than just 16 inches and there are a lot of small ones too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't think it has so much to do with fish location than it does with fish metabolism. I am starting to see that Mid-season ice fishing is slower. This isn't to say that fish in mid ice season don't occasionally perk up and get hungry, but first ice and late ice have the most active fish. I found the fish at Scofield last saturday, but they wouldn't bite. Watching them on that camera really got me thinking.

Also, the slush comes after the temp warms up following a nice snowfall, the bottom layer melts and has nowhere to go. The snow melts before the ice does.
 

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RyanCreek said:
I don't think it has so much to do with fish location than it does with fish metabolism. I am starting to see that Mid-season ice fishing is slower. This isn't to say that fish in mid ice season don't occasionally perk up and get hungry, but first ice and late ice have the most active fish. I found the fish at Scofield last saturday, but they wouldn't bite. Watching them on that camera really got me thinking.

Also, the slush comes after the temp warms up following a nice snowfall, the bottom layer melts and has nowhere to go. The snow melts before the ice does.
Come late ice, the fish should be starting to roam the depths they will be come the spring spawn. Temperature is a huge factor on where the fish will be found. It is just as big of a factor as metabolism. Why is it that on hot sunny days most of the fish are not roaming the shorelines? It is too hot and they have gone deeper below the thermocline if that particular body of water is deep enough to have one. This also affects oxygenation. This is a well studied trend,look into it.
 

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I think that most still waters have a "reverse" thermocline in the winter. Water usually becomes more dense as it cools tending to sink while warmer water that is less dense rises. In winter as water near the ice cools to near freezing (I cannot remember the exact critical tempature) it becomes less dense and tends to rise in relation to slightly warmer water. So the very cold, less dense water near the ice stays on the surface and stagnates, kind of like the bottom of the water collumn in summer. The ground on the bottom cools much more slowly than water and I suspect remains at a rather constant tempature year round. In winter instead of water being cooled by the bottom like in summer, it is actually warmed. The warmer water from the bottom tends to rise while the water a few feet from the surface cooled by the very cold water near the ice but not cold enough to become less dense is still more dense and tends to sink. So I think there is some mixing of the lower water collumn throughout the winter except for the top few feet. I think the fish move up or down the water collumn depending on how vigorous and possibly intermitant this mixing is. My 2 cents :D
 

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campfire said:
I think that most still waters have a "reverse" thermocline in the winter. Water usually becomes more dense as it cools tending to sink while warmer water that is less dense rises. In winter as water near the ice cools to near freezing (I cannot remember the exact critical tempature) it becomes less dense and tends to rise in relation to slightly warmer water. So the very cold, less dense water near the ice stays on the surface and stagnates, kind of like the bottom of the water collumn in summer. The ground on the bottom cools much more slowly than water and I suspect remains at a rather constant tempature year round. In winter instead of water being cooled by the bottom like in summer, it is actually warmed. The warmer water from the bottom tends to rise while the water a few feet from the surface cooled by the very cold water near the ice but not cold enough to become less dense is still more dense and tends to sink. So I think there is some mixing of the lower water collumn throughout the winter except for the top few feet. I think the fish move up or down the water collumn depending on how vigorous and possibly intermitant this mixing is. My 2 cents :D
I think you have reversed the process. I know the water is colder at the deeper ends excluding some exceptions. As the winter progresses, the water that was chilled by the cold sinks to the bottom, and the fish begin to rise. In some waters, the water can become cold enough on the bottom that it freezes as well. The fish are shallow come spring spawn because that is the warmest spot. The sun continues to heat the water and then come summer, it gets too hot and the fish go deeper in the days. Come fall the air and water start to cool again. Fall turnover happens when the cooler water from the cooler temps begins to drop to the bottom and the fish spread out because at this point, the warmer waters are scattered in patches from top to bottom. Then as winter closes in and the ice forms, the top water is the coldest for a while and the fish hug the warm spots until that cold water works its way to the bottom again, then spring, then summer, fall, winter and the cycle goes on.
 

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Nibble Nuts,
Read my post again. I think we are essentially saying the same thing. In summer colder water sinks while warm water warmed by the air temps rises. In late summer this can create a thermocline below which there is not much mixing of water. The only mixing occurring by wind near the surface. If I remember right the DWR mentioned around 30 feet for Strawberry in August. Below that depth there is so little oxygen that all the fish are in the top 30 feet of water. That is why they chose that time to treat it. As you mentioned, when the water cools from the top down by cooler fall air temps. The cooler water on the surface becomes more dense and sinks and the lake "turns over". This mixing of water continues in the deeper areas of the lake through the winter except as you mentioned in some shallower lakes that cool all the way through the water collumn. But there is a very interesting property of water. That is that as it cools to near freezing I think about 34 or 35 degrees it becomes less dense. So the water near the ice is trying to rise creating a thermocline near the ice. Below that thermocline the water continues to mix the same way it did in the fall because the water is "warmed" by the bottom of the lake that is not frozen and thus warmer than the top of the lake. Below the thermocline the water that is in the high 30 degrees and most dense sinks and is replaced by warmer water below that is less dense. So in winter there is more mixing of water near the bottom and not much mixing near the ice, just the opposite of summer. This is what I would call a "reverse thermocline".
 

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I remember when the sewer ponds would turn in the Spring and Fall in Logan. Oh that smell was wonderful. -)O(- I think it is called destratification, I remember learning about it in my wastewater management course. When the temperature gradient is constant across the entire water column the slightest force (such as a breeze) can cause the water to completely mix. The water from the bottom will come to the top and vice versus. Never thought it would come in handy. :wink:
 

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jahan said:
I remember when the sewer ponds would turn in the Spring and Fall in Logan. Oh that smell was wonderful. -)O(- I think it is called destratification, I remember learning about it in my wastewater management course. When the temperature gradient is constant across the entire water column the slightest force (such as a breeze) can cause the water to completely mix. The water from the bottom will come to the top and vice versus. Never thought it would come in handy. :wink:
It's always nice to know bits of info like this whether its about fishing or turds. :mrgreen:

Campfire, I guess I should have read your post a little more closely. Yes we are on the same page about this.
 
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