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Daily Fish Migrations

 

We set up on Lake Isle over a known feeding flat, punching holes everywhere from four feet to 15.



The approach was simple: the fish were going to come up in the evening and we were going to be there to meet them. Our target was the ever popular walleye. With the task of drilling done and the sun still high, we moved out over deeper water and hunted perch to quench our angling thirst. As the sun dipped low on the horizon it was time to make our move.

We trekked back to our pre drilled holes and commenced fishing. Using spoons and jigs tipped with minnows, we probed the deeper holes first and sure enough, walleye started to bite immediately.



Given that our holes were pre drilled, there were no outside disturbances for our entire fishing time. All we had to do was hop holes and move with the fish. As the evening started, the walleye bite was best to the deeper side of our pattern, but as the sun scratched the horizon, we found lots of them up in our shallowest holes. The bite was fast and over the span of and hour or more bent rods were the norm. The fishing lived up to the anticipation and with the sun down and darkness upon us, we packed up and headed home.

Fish migrate. We talked about seasonal migrations last month, but even daily fish migrate, and the act of migrating is not random. Fish move from their deeper water daytime hangouts to their shallow water feeding grounds in a predictable way. This movement is done with purpose and the fish will use the natural contours of a lake to guide their approach. Natural counters could be a weed line or an underwater bay along a drop off also known as an inside turn. As an example of an inside turn, imagine a creek bed cutting an extended underwater channel into a lake. That is one example. As another example, think of a drop off that follows the shoreline for a spell, then juts straight out into the lake at a right angle. That too forms an inside turn. Inside turns naturally funnel fish and finding one and fishing it is a guarantee that more fish will be passing by the hook.

Knowing this small bit of information helps me plan were and how I fish within the day. If it's bright out, it's time to fish deeper and slower. The reason, fish are usually less active during the bright of day and will hunker down out deeper.

When it comes to species, it doesn't matter if I'm fishing rainbows, whitefish, walleye or pike; if it's sunny the approach will be deep and slow. Because we're allowed to fish two lines in Alberta, I'll jig with one line, keeping the jigging action on the slow side and I'll put out a set line off the other. When it comes to using set lines for trout, pike and walleye, I'll suspend bait near bottom. Worms for trout, minnows for the pike and walleye. But when it comes to whites, I've never had reliable luck with bait, as surprising as that may seem, so I resort to suspending flies.

Now fishing deep is a relative thing and often the deep I refer to when ice fishing is only 10 or 12 feet. For most of my daytime fishing efforts, I place a set line on the deepest edge of an underwater weedline and then walk away. This approach is ultra quiet and will guarantee exposure to the occasional cruising fish that will undoubtedly pass by.

As evening approaches, I give up my deep-water haunts and move shallower. Fish move shallow in low light to feed so that's where I set up to catch them.

Beforehand, I drill enough holes to give me full coverage of the area. If I know the area well and it's one of my 'go to' spots, I may only need to drill a dozen holes, but if it's a new area and I'm unfamiliar with it, I may drill twenty or thirty holes to get the job done. It's then a matter of letting the area rest until the evening bite approaches. At some point in the evening, for a spell of anywhere between ten minutes to a couple hours, the bite will pick up and be as good as it gets. For this reason I run and gun. I'll fish a hole for up to ten minutes and then move on, trying to find active fish.

When the bite happens, I fish a hole until it cools and when it does, I move shallower, because that's where the fish will most likely be. Following the fish throughout their daily migration has served me well and I'm sure it has connected me with a lot of fish.


Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(154) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(155) "Northern Exposure"

(156) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard