What will the Snow do to Water Temps and Fishing? Shad Kill?
Do you think this weekend's predicted snow fall will cause a shad kill?
If so how long will the "feeding frenzy" last after the snow fall? 2 - 3 days?
Afer this time does the bite stop for a few days because the fish are full?
Water temps tonight (moments before Santa arrives) are right at 45 degrees in the Piedmont of the Carolinas. This is 5-6 degrees colder than at this time last year.
Mac has seen more fishing weather than I have, but this is the coldest I can remember in December.
We have already seen light ice coverage in the back of the creeks on Lake Wylie.
Highs tomorrow will be in the mid 30's. Lows tomorrow night in the upper 20's. Snow, sleet, or 33-35 degree rain will drop the lake temperatures very quickly. We missed the cold rain / sleet event last week, but temperatures have not climbed above the 45 degree mark.
33-35 degree rain, and especially snow and sleet can rapidly drop lake temperatures, much faster in fact than temperature in the teens.
Shad kills generally occur in the 39-42 degree range.
Last year we saw a mild shad kill during the cold temperatures in January. The bite was off during this cold weather snap and for a couple of weeks afterwards. The good news is that the shad kills are not generally widespread. So, if you can find a warmer waterr in hot water discharges or by fishing deep, then you can get away from gorged fish.
Temps on Lake Moultrie are in the 42-44 range right now, and I caught 8 blues yesterday in about 2 hours of bone-chilling north wind, most of them near or under schools of bait fish in 40-50 feet of water. I actually start seeing shad die off when the water gets just below 50 degrees around here after a strong cold front comes through, which is usually in late December or early January, but came much sooner this year, of course.
Do the fish "gorge" themselves out after the first day or so of a shad kill, so that the "bite" is off for a day or so?
the bottom where the die of starts is loaded with shad and you get a concentration of fish there for a day or so...problem is being there on day one.
- Chris Simpson
The shad kill I think remains sort of a mystery to humans. Yeah its obvious that a drastic drop in water temperatures can kill some of the weaker and smaller threadfin and gizzard shad and with alot of them dieing at the same time can cause a bit of a feeding frenzy for a day or two. Excactly how long nobody knows. The water temps may be just right for a kill in one part of the lake but not in another. Theres so many things to factor in.... Depth of water, how long it stays a certain outside temp, how long it stays a certain water temp, how long it takes for those temps to penetrate through-out the water column and the list goes on and on.
The thing is though.... The winter time is usually when all predatory fish get to easily gorge themselves. It dont have to be a die-off. Its a big feed fest for the most part. The cold water makes the shad (small gizzards and threadfins) very lethargic and also causes them to ball up tight, sometimes in large groups. This situation makes for an easy meal for the predatory fish underneath them. They can easily and effortlessly rise up and pick off shad one by one whenever they want, the shad dont have to be dead, they are so slow that they are pretty much dead anyway. The fish dont have to expend very much energy at all. They dont have to roam around finding food, they all normally take the lie and wait approach. This is one of the reasons that jigging a 1/4 to 1/2 spoon, mimicking a shad off the bottom under shad schools will catch every predatory fish in the lake.
Trying to figure out which schools of shad that are getting fed on is the trick to finding actively feeding fish. Contrary to popular belief... the big, huge balls of shad gathered together are not always the best place to stop and fish. This usually means that nothing is bothering them and that allows them to remain balled up. 95% of the time I find that the action is better in areas where you mark small, broken up schools of shad. Usually when they are broken up... that means that something is chasing them to cause them to scatter and break up into smaller schools.
The moral of this story is..... Dont depend on the shad kill to provoke you to go fishing. Theres usually always some heavy feeding going on through out the lake during the winter, if you can catch a shad kill going on then you might have an unreal day of fishing. If you cant, then the chances are good that you can still find a pretty active group of fish feeding on the sluggish shad, it will just take some time to find them sometimes.
- Jason knight
very well explained chris
Originally Posted by chrisblue
"....Dont depend on the shad kill to provoke you to go fishing..."
Hell, a shad kill makes me want to stay home!!! The one last year on Wylie made fishing miserable. I learned to avoid areas where there was a die-off and move to areas where the waters were slightly warmer.
Water temperatures tonight at 9:30pm, after snow for a 24 hours, are around 43.2 degrees. Overnight lows in the teens and highs around 38 tomorrow should drop the lake temps a couple of more degrees.
I've never seen water temperatures this cold in December.
Thanks to all of you for your responses.
I'll hit the lake at least 1 day this week, just not sure which day.... :cowboy:
going to make the turneys mext month interesting lol
Originally Posted by WylieCat