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Have you seen a decline in your smallmouth catch this year due to the die off or other reasons?

h2o
 

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The fish have been hard to pattern for this time of year. For the most part, they just aren't doing what they should be doing where they should be doing it. I'm no biologist so I don't know whether that has more to do with the cooler temperatures or the die-off. But I'm leaning more to the lower temps keeping the fish scattered and not schooled up like they should be.

There's areas of the St. Clair River that should be fishing real strong right now but they're just not. Water surface temps are still running below 70, compared to last year when they hit 70 by late July. I'm a firm beleiver that these fish, especially in the upper stretches are either resident river fish, or Lake Huron fish - therefore not effected by what we saw happen in St. Clair with all the dead fish.

The tournament weights are way off what they were last year at this time. For example, in yesterday's BFL there were only 2 bags over 20lbs, and 20th place was 13-10. In last year's tournament on the same weekend there 7 bags over 20lbs, and 20th place was 17-7. Again, I think this is because the lake is just hard to pattern with them still being scattered and not where they "should be" in strong numbers. For example: The guy that won the Stren tournament two weeks ago had a three day combined weight of 61-05 (22-11, 18-06, 20-04). In yesterday's BFL he had 11-12, in weather conditions very similar to the last day of the Stren when he caught 20-04.
 

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Definately a decline this year, but because of the die-off? I don't know, but I do know what Doug said may have more to do with it. Since summer(if you can this this "summer") started the just are where they normally are. Die-off may be part of it, but I'm not sure? Personally I'm leaning more toward the odd weather patterns we had. Go back to the "spawning" season and read some of my posts when I mentioned the spawn seemed like it was late or going to be late, and read the Freep article Czar posted.
Even before and during the period of the die-off things were slow compared to previous years.
 

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Well the reports of 1,000's dead must of hurt it. And those are the one's seen. It will come back in years to follow with fingers crossed.

I know the few times I've been out lately I caught more LM.

h2o
 

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Sure the dead fish will play a part, maybe this year for some, and yes I've got a lot more largemouth this year, more rock bass as well.
But even in what normally is the height of the "spawn" the fish just weren't there. Sure they were beds and a few fish that were visible, but nothing like I've seen before.
It's that darned Global Warming, I'm telling ya
 

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They're still out there h2o. In the days leading up to the Stren I found several areas that would give up 20-30 fish up to 3lbs in a short time with no problem.
 

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I know Capt, but the experienced angler has the advantage with the know. I'm just wondering what the average angler has been experiencing. I have not seen alot of killer reports or big SM reports. Scratching head in wonder but have a feeling our SM population got hurt.

I'm hearing there still spawning and they are deep.

h2o
 

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I'm with Doug and Laura, just because people aren't catching them as well, does not mean the die-off effected the fishing. It's too early to make that conclusion after only 3 or 4 months. I know our inland lake tournaments have been really light this year too, largely due to the cold weather. The die-off could be having an effect, but we can't jump to that conclusion yet.
 

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The percentage of fish that died is extremely miniscule.....it has no bearing on the reduced catch rates this year.

Doug nailed it....low temps and unusual amounts of easterly winds have kept the bass from schooling and migrating in their usual patterns, IMHO.

I'm more worried about what this year-class will look like down the road, we should know in about 6-8 years.
 

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the one dnr officer told me they stopped couting smallmouths on this years survey at 200,000 fish so i doubt its die off. maybe ill have to see if the girlfriend wants to go perching. i know when i took my niece and nephew a few weeks ago i only drop shotted one perch and i caught a bass as soon as it hit the bottom so i know there out there. also a ton of gizzard shad out by the channel right now, i think is part of the reason so many doing good on the walleyes out there. im sure the bass are out there feeding on em also
 

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I haven't targeted SM since musky season started but I have had 2 trips that I did catch some nice SM on musky gear. I have been catching a chit load of LM though.
The last time I targeted bass (Memorial Day weekend) I caught no SM & a whole lot of LM. I didn't see the numbers of dead smallies this year in Anchor Bay like I have in years past. I seen maybe 3 or 4 dead SM this year in the bay.

People need to realize that there is no such thing as "NORMAL" when it comes to LSC.
 

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I defer the biologists that reported on the die off. He said several things that were interesting. First, there were a couple thousand dead fish, but he also stated the same thing has happened several other times in recent years, just not quite to that magnatude. Second, he stated the number of dead fish was very small compared to the overall population. Third he said the cause of the die off may have spread more this year due to the proximity of the fish to each other. So many fish are in the lake that is speads easily. Finally, this spring there was a ton of east wind blowing all the dead fish into one area vs. in past years where variable winds will move the floaters around.

I would be more concerned about a lost year class due to the lack of stable weather for the spawn this year. I know in our tournament fishing this year here in Indiana, the fish are not in the normal spots and patterns as previous 'normal' weather years. I would bet the same is true on St. Clair and all other bodies of water here in the midwest.
 

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ive been getting them out in deeper water 18 fow while perch or walleye fishing maybe this screwed up summer and spring we had changed there habits a little i even got one in 30 fow in the shipping channel last week
 

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I have noticed an increased amount of largemouths, with alot less smallies in my fishing this summer. Each time i am muskie casting mid-day, I am catching 4-8 largemouths(17-20inch) in 8-12.5 fow. Times i have been targeting smallies, i just cant seem to get any numbers in proven areas...
 
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