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It seems to me that whenever I saw fish below a thermocline it was because there was deep vegetation producing O2 below the zone. In that case expect bass to be there in cooler water in hot months. That's the ideal situation to find, and often happens here when the lake has been low, vegetation establishes, then the pool level rises sharply. Hydrilla can take that to 25' of depth and still grow. In that case bass here very often rest below a thermocline and hang around right at the edge of vegetation just high enough to cover them. I like to fish the very edge where the weeds stop growing, where they look like mowed grass, where a bait isn't likely to get fouled.

But if aquatic vegetation is not present there's no mechanism to replace O2 in deep cold water below a thermocline (except maybe in a river with strong current, but a thermocline isn't likely to survive that), even though colder water can hold it better. It doesn't stay long. Dissolved O2 is of course likely to be present in shallow water due to waves and some direct absorption, but the upper water column is subject to heating and rapid loss of DO.

Jim
 
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DO is a major problem in some of our Florida lakes. Since I have been here I have learned that this one thing makes or breaks a fishery more then anything else. We can suffer huge fish kills here due to the lack of O2.

I need to get me a O2 sensor and start metering the water around here to find better O2 areas of these lakes and concentrate in those. Some of the lakes that are less then 7 feet everywhere would be interesting to see if say 5 feet deep has better O2 then say 2 feet deep? Stuff like that can help me find and catch bigger bass in the upcoming summer months.

Does anyone recommend a O2 gauge? Cheap hopefully :D
 

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Down there I'd be concentrating on the deepest holes with bottom vegetation where you will find the greatest DO. You should also pay attention to pH there. You have a lot of limestone bottom there which makes acid water. Find the more neutral waters. A combo DO/pH meter would be better. Don't bother with the cheap meters that only test the surface. You need a probe on a 3 meter cable. Several pros around here use them, Brauer for sure. It does make a difference in finding the biggest fish. Get a big name meter. I bought a brand about 10 years ago that I can't find replacement probes for, the brand out of business, one made for government and sold through the GSA catalog. That was a ripoff! I can't recommend a brand now since I don't know how the replacement brands are working out. The Corps had me order a box of 20 replacement probes that cost about $70 each, so until they run out they won't know how future replacements work out. Probes last about 2 months unless kept squeaky clean with distilled water. We used the meters very often before I retired. Now nobody messes with it. It's a good investment for anyone going after the trail money. It helps you eliminate lots of unproductive water, especially in the Fall when vegetation begins to die back and upset the pH. Without it avoid any dead vegetation until winter when the alcohol content of plants is gone.

Jim
 
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Oh wow, that is pretty pricey. Jim, you are right. Stick Marsh/Farm 13 no longer has any grass of any kind and it is unable to grow there. It has the biologists puzzled. One theory is that since it used to be a farming plot of land years ago that it has allot of old fertilizer still in the soil that gets released when hurricanes churn the water over like they do every few years.

It has some vertical ditches and horizontal ditches that intersect. I drew this rudimentary map of the lake to show you a lay of the land.


Based on this map which is not totally accurate mind you, where would you Tom and Jim target post spawn fish?

For a long time most people fish down in the south end of the Farm in all that timber. Normally it is real good down there also. However, when north winds blow it muddies up that water till it is useless to fish in the Farm period. Fish just don't bite there in muddy water. Now the water is never clear but it can get 2 or more feet of visibility. It is always tanic stained color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
First quick targets;
1. Stick marsh, north west corner near the 18' levee north to the timber.
2. Farm 13, south west corner; ditch intersection with arrows towards the nursery area.
This is based on westerly winds (out of the west blowing towards the east).
The ditches and levee provide sanctuary and the timber cover. The east areas would be more silted and lower clarity if the wind is out of the west.
If the winds are out of the north or east, I wouldn't bother with west corners and stay closer to the ditch intersection areas.
Tom
 
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Thanks Tom. I usually find myself in the ditch area on the west just away from the nursery area. It is called this because many beds are found here. This is also where I caught my 8.1lber in December.

The boat lane that is north of the levee in the Stick Marsh starts to fill in as you head west. I forgot to mention this. It is only 4-5 feet deep when it reaches the west side of the lake. They dug that area out to make the levee so they didn't need to dig this area out all the way across the lake. About halfway between the end of the levee and the west bank is where this ditch begins to get shallow till it is like the rest of the depth around it.

One guide caught a 14lber on a lipless crankbait basically around this area of the lake in the fall last year. To me I don't do that well in this deep water and it baffles me really. This canal is a big Crappie hole also so lots of Crappie hang out there and so lots of fisherman looking for them fish in this deep cut. I have caught bass along the bank of this levee at times but nothing like I do in the SW section of Farm 13. But those fish get beat up hard down there. For instance starting in late April the top water bite will get phenomenal and the guides and locals alike will all be down in the wood of Farm 13 throwing chug bugs and other top water lures hammering allot of fish. Sometimes they get a big one that way. But most of the lake is left alone. I try to fish those ditches more sometimes but the winds sometimes make it impossible to do that for me.

I am interested in getting a double digit from this lake and beating the wood in the S of Farm 13 along with everyone else is not going to get me there. I know I can get 4,5,6 and even some 7lbers in there and maybe an 8lber in the wood but hardly ever a double digit is caught in there except during the spawn. So I know they must go back out in the main lake and hang out in there around ditches and chase the huge balls of baitfish this lake has. This lake gets huge Shad. I have seen some Shad that are 1lb or more. These are not Shiners but Shad. Perhaps American Shad? This lake does connect to the St. Johns River which does get a huge migration of Shad every year from the ocean. Somehow they have worked there way all the way down here. Plus, this lake has needle fish in it too. Pretty funny to see a Bass busting a 13" long needle fish as it is jumping out of the water for it's life.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I do appreciate it. Maybe the illustration will help someone else too? Sort of why I did this not just for my sake. It is fun seeing how other folks dissect a lake and choose spots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
It's impossible to pinpoint any area on lake that you never have been on. All anyone can do is try to establish a place to start, then gather on the water information to confirm or change what you may have thought to be places where bass should be.
Based on your personal experience, things like crappie are located around the deeper canal and larger baitfish are sometimes targeted, I would definitely try a swimbait that has either a crappie profile or a golden shiner; Matt lures crappie or Huddleston shad. Both these lures are around the $15 to $20 range, but worth the investment when targeting big bass.
Tom
 

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great info. I have always caught bigger bass pre-spawn. Now I know why it has been harder to find the bigger ones through the summer months.
 
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