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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All the years I have been catfishing I have been told fishing floats would produce more fish certain times of the year on lakes and reservoirs. My Grandpa swore by it. I never really understood why until about 12 years ago when I got a descent fish finder and learned what a thermocline was. Over the years of watching the thermocline move up and down in the water column, certain times of the year it would move closer to the surface. When it would get up high in the water column I would begin to float fish. Low and behold Pops was right. My numbers would increase. Thats when I learned that the oxygenation in the water was relatively affected by the thermocline and vise versa. I have talked with other great catmen over the years as well to try and better understand thermocline fishing. I have come to the conclusion that with any kind of fishing there is no exact science to it, but there are different things we must experiment with in order to become better fisherman. The thermocline theory has proven itself to me quite a number of times, and I figured if it worked for me it might help someone else.

I would appreciate any input on this as I am still experimenting with it. I know we all look for new ideas and ways to improve, so this is just one thing I can offer to hopefully help another catter out.
 

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If you got a prety good fishfinder you can turn up the sen. and spot it out. If you don't just drop a live bait out on bottom, leave it for awhile, pulle it up and if he is dead you will have to fish higer up. Fish will go below the thermoclime for a short period, maybe to grab a bit of food but they have to come right back up.
I use to play around with it and try to figure it out but now i just ride around and look for fish and don't fish a place just cause i have caught fish there before. The thermocline changes things, find the depth water the fish are in and drift fish it.
Interesting topic and i hope you get some remarks on it because it is that time of year.
 

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I think I have a decent sounder but I can't ever seem to mark the thermocline, it's a Garmin 250. What am I looking for guys? A black line or the remaining depth the be solid black. Would be some useful information for sure but I fish like Dean. If I don't mark something I usually just keep going. I know in Moultrie though the fish can be so tight to the bottom that no sounder will mark them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rick,
Every sounder is a little different on how it provides and shows the thermocline. It is more prominantly shown in deeper waters, say greater than 18 feet. Most sounders you would have to turn the sensitivity up. You will see a prominant line within the water coulumn that usually shows the same color as soft bottom would. This shows due to the fact that water with less oxygen is more dense than oxygenated water.

Once again, with every sounder being a little different, you will have to experiment with the sensitivity to gain better results with how your sounder shows the thermocline. Most sounders user manuals will show you what a thermocline should look like on your sounder. I will try and get some pics posted of this.

Hope this helps.
 

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I have the sensitivity turned up to about 75%. Much more and the screen starts to turn black. I'll look at my manual to see if it has some pictures. I read the thing when I got it but I can't remember now if talked about the thermocline. I just know that I have been on Moultrie in the heat of summer and never seen anything like what we are talking about. I'll keep trying to adjust it,
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here is a pic that I found online that shows it pretty well. If you notice near the middle of the water column a prominant line. That would be the thermocline. Moultrie and Marion do have a thermocline this time of year and on through the summer, although it is not as harsh and prominant. Usually you will mark lots of suspended fish during thermocline cycles, my experience at santee has been that the cats would congregate right along the thermocline line during these cycles.
Santee winds and water pull for power generation helps to keep a thermocline less prominant. Usually lakes with little to know current would be a more prominant place for thermocline fishing, but generally speaking all lakes have one at certain times of the year, current dictates how prominant it would be.
 

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You have to have fairly stagnant water for a thermocline to develop, or, a significant difference in water temerature such as a hot water discharge.

I think what a lot of people see on their sonar unit is a a concentration of plankton. Depending on water clarity and movement, a thermocline can technically exist at any time of the year.

Whether fish can exist below the thermocline depends on the amount of dissolved oxygen, and this is usually lower in the warmer months. The location of the arches and bait balls will reveal a lot about the DO in the warmer months.
 

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"...when fishing the thermocline,do you over or under it?..."

Yes!

Many times the colder water is the place to be. The sonar will tell you if it is the place for the fish.

Be careful though, in some areas in the summertime I have found the the area below the thermocline can be devoid of oxygen. If you are seeing fish stacked just above the thermocline, then you can bet the area below it is not the place to be!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dieter is correct, the answer could be yes for over or under. The cooler water is definantly the place to be, but only if the oxygen levels are adequate for fish to survive. Again look for stacked fish on the sounder it will tell you which way to go. I recommend that all fisherman to learn there sounder. I have fished with people before that had been reading there sounder wrong and couldnt figure out why they were not catching fish.

Learn to distinguish between fish, bait and structure. Best way to learn this is when you catch a fish while playing him bring to the back of the boat under the transducer and look at the arch that shows on the sounder. Known structure that can be seen you can ease over with the transducer and see what the sounder shows.

Just remember, to fish the thermocline you need to do your homework and insure that you are reading your sounder properly. As Dieter said earlier a strong line of plankton or algae could be misconstrued as thermocline. It is a great way to fish once learned, and the beauty of it is that it also helps you learn your fish finder in the process.
 

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i use a slip bober rig mainly at night ive had sum luck with carolina rig but slip bobber rig works best i fish 15ft of water with my bait suspending 6 ft off the bottom try this maybe it will help u!
 
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