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Reading The Fishing Signs

by Capt. Dan Manyen
Capt. Dan Manyan

Like footprints in the snow, reading the signs and clues given to you before you even launch your boat, can spell success or lack of on any given day or body of water.

You get to the launch on a sunny, no wind day. You look to the West and Black angry clouds with lightening bolts coming out of them are crowding the blue expanses and coming your way. Are you going to launch and head out 5 miles into the lake like you were planning, or let common sense tell you to wait or turn around and go home?

From experience, you know what is going to happen weather wise and it isn't good, so you cancel. The signs were clear; no matter what the skies above you were doing at the time it was going to be ruff, wet and miserable.

Likewise, reading the cues and signs given off by a variety of natural variables now and throughout the day, will give you insight as to what the fish catching strategies for the day should be. This improves your chances for success, and it is only a matter of reading what Mother Nature is showing you at the ramp. And after that, reading both what the fish and your equipment show you on the water.

What am I talking about? Read on and find out.

Ramp and River Signs

You get to the boat launch at your favorite walleye river. You see the river is above its normal levels and has a faster flow rate. So before you even get out and look at the clarity of the water, you know that the walleye will have a little more comfort space than normal to roam around in.

Especially since it is also an overcast day, and those secondary holes which are usually too shallow, might hold some fish today. Plus, the holes you always successfully fish during low water might have too much flow today and push the fish out into those protected fringe areas, especially during and because of the cold fall and winter seasons.

Hopefully, the water came up because the Dam upstream was opened to generate power and not because of heavy runoff from recent rains upriver.

So you get out and take a look at the river waters clarity. It seems pretty stained, unlike its usual clear condition. (I've actually turned around and went home after finding the river in the same state as flowing mud.

Your spitting into the wind thinking you'll have a very successful day in those conditions). So it's stained, now what?

Get one of your rods out of the boat. The one with thewalleye pic. chartreuse or Orange jig on it. Drop the jig into the water. How far down is the jig visible to your eye?

Walleye see 9 times better than humans in their underwater environment. So, you can see the jig almost a foot under water? That's great, that means the walleye can see it 9 feet away. Add to that the other senses that walleye use when foraging, and things are really looking up.

Is it windy out? A heavy wind can dictate both where you'll be able to fish efficiently and possibly the technique you'll have to employ. If you and the crew are not rigged for this possibility, it may be time to change or adjust your game plan now before you hit the water.

You finally launch, and your fish finder temp gauge says the water temp is a frigid 34 degree's. Trolling or casting crank baits has just been shoved onto the extreme back burner for today.

Cold blooded animal like fish, stay pretty slow and lethargic in these . ...continued

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