Fishing the Thermocline

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by e5catfish, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. e5catfish

    e5catfish New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Smilax, KY
    Does anyone have any experience on setting lines and jugs when the thermocline sets in in July and on in through September and October? On Lake Cumberland here in Ky. it's usually around 28 - 30' deep or even 35. The books say the bigger flatheads go deep when the thermocline sets in and they'll locate structure right on the thermocline where it touches the banks and will actually lay right on it as if it were a hard bottom. Has anyone set lines deeper to acount for this and gotten bigger flatheads? Any personal experiences on this one? Will be trying a deeper approach this year on vacation down at the lake in July by locating and concentrating on the thermocline. Any advice?
     

  2. bartmccollum

    bartmccollum New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    Oklahoma
    OK.................This is hard for me............to part with this bit of knowledge. I've spent years trying to understand lake flatheads. Finally, through diving, fishing and ....studying, I GOT IT! Flathead, after the spawn go into a waiting period for barometric changes. When the weather is right they feast, and then go back to waiting. Where they wait is the KEY. For manmade rocky lakes I've found that they do hold on the bank just under the thermocline..usually 15-35 ft. Most of the time they lay vertically along a rock cliff, with their lower lip resting on the rock. They just lay there for hours....days. If you can find a semi-vertical wall in 30 ft. of water with just enough cover to slow any main current, then YOU'RE IN BUSINESS.
     
  3. e5catfish

    e5catfish New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Smilax, KY
    Griz: Thanks for the links.

    Bart: What do you mean by barometric changes? They do better when the barometer falls and rain and storms are coming in? I used to do some scuba diving but only saw 2 cats on my dives. Do you really see a lot of big flatheads down deeper laying on that thermocline like the books say they do? I'd like to here more about what you've seen down there about flatheads, coming from someone that's actually been down and saw first hand. My lines are only about 35' long with 5 hooks on each. Catch a lot but still looking for the 40 and 50 pounders. My hunch is I'm not fishing deep enough to reach the thermocline where the really big ones stay!
     
  4. bartmccollum

    bartmccollum New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    Oklahoma
    What I mean is that the flatheads stay right at the first thermocline. Sometimes there are more than one. I just did a job on Keystone dam this past week. I went down 74' on the up-stream side and went through three very distinct temperature zones. Below the first zone there was nothing but clams and blackness. The temp on the bottom was around 55 deg. compared to 70's and 80's in the first zone. However, on the downstream side below the flood gates I saw flatheads all over. Just past the apron laying in the rocks on bottom....14'. I actually had to poke some of those fish to get them to move. It's like they just meditate all day long. I know from fishing experience that occasionally a flathead will cruise around at night looking for a meal, but I also know that every time I fish in a storm I catch big fish after big fish after big fish. I don't think the big fish go real deep to .....meditate. I think they stay at the bottom of the first temp. zone(15'-?') in shelter not far from the main channel. When they go on the prowl maybe they go deeper to travel in the channel but I doubt they stay deep for long. Aside from crawdads, all the prey fish stay shallow at night(in the top temp zone).
     
  5. e5catfish

    e5catfish New Member

    Messages:
    65
    State:
    Smilax, KY
    Thanks for the reply Bart. I also do better when it storms. Seems like the bottom line is: When it's a rainy, nasty, stormy night for you, it's a good time to catch cats!

    The books and expert advice say to fish the channel. But if the channel is in 90' of water and the thermocline is at 30', they're aint nothing down there! The only thing I can figure out is to go all the way up in the creek arms off the main lake to where the thermocline hits the creek channel at that 30' mark. Lord willing, I'll find out if it works in about 2 weeks!
     
  6. yellerbelly69

    yellerbelly69 New Member

    Messages:
    24
    State:
    indiana
    so tell me basically what does all of this mean. if the water in the top level is warmer and has more oxygen in it then wouldnt that mean the fish would be more active and feed mostly in the top layer? i know alot of people catfish in deeper water because its colder and supposedly thats where big cats lay. but if the water is so much colder on the bottom level then wouldnt that cause the cats to slow down and not be as active or feed as much?
     
  7. fat_fish55

    fat_fish55 New Member

    Messages:
    394
    State:
    illinois
    yeller from what i understand about the thermocline is that below it there is so little oxygen that life pretty much ceases to exist