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  #1  
Old 08-06-2008, 01:02 AM
shaane shaane is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Default Where do all the wipers go??

Hello there I am looking for some advice you may or may not have experienced with wipers. I reside in Colorado where several lakes have been stocked for years and our wipers have become a healthy and attractive game fish to go after. One lake in particular I have been chasing wipers for the last three years consistently. Something happens In mid June where the wiper bite slows down and typically picks back up in mid-late July. Our mornings and evenings by mid July are filled with wipers busting the surface and utter mayhem. This year however the bite is still just NONEXISTENT. I fish in and around a close nit group of guys who consistently scour the lake looking for the schools but they just arent there. My theory is that the blistering heat of the summer months alters their feeding mood dramatically, pushes them to deeper water? Does this happen in the lakes some of you fish, how or what do you guys do when this happens. I understand these fish are a here today, gone tomorrow phenomenon but if they are deep should I be looking for them below the thermocline?? I know they like flats and I have been scouring the flats on the lake including the drop offs, this lake is a hybrid flats/canyon type lake where our flats right now are averaging 35-40ft but the drop offs go to 70-80 within a 20ft span, well below the thermocline. Water temp is low 70's. Any advice is helpful, Im willing to try any tactics you typically use when the going gets tough. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2008, 01:17 AM
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zimno1 zimno1 is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

drop a thermometer into the deeper water at intervals and get readings for each depth. in feet ie' 40' 50' 60' and try jigging just off the edge in each column of water. we are in the same mode here as the sea surface temps are above 70 degrees and climbing to close to 80 in some areas. i personally feel that the genetic makeup of these fish instinctively makes them go and find the temperate zone to be in and come up and out only when they really need to feed. most guys are trolling in 30 ft of water successfully. am not a wiper fella but i am sure before the next day is out you will hear from some of the indiana =and lake monroe guys on this.



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  #3  
Old 08-06-2008, 02:30 PM
YAZ YAZ is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

shaane,

If somebody could answer that question, and be right about it, they would be worth a bunch of money..........mostly from me!!!!! You have several things that are very different about your lakes out there, so pinpointing a reason will be difficult. Without more info, it will be hard to speculate. But, if I can ask some specific questions, maybe we can help. 'Ole slowretrive is an expert and tracking down those disappearing hybs.

One thing that stands out to me is you indicated that the water temps (presumably surface) are just now in the lower 70's. Our lakes are mid 80's right now, and have been above 70 for three months.. I can not see a distinctive thermocline setting up with those low temps in your lake. We just have begun to see signs of it here. Can you see signs of the 'cline on your finder?

Here, when temps get to 65-68 degrees, our stripers, (and hybs) go through their pseudo spawn, in which they drop their eggs. That would make sense since the timing of their (disappearance) seems to coincide with those water temps. That is a two to three week period, but not all go through it at the same time.

Hybrids are a lot more heat tolerant than their full blooded striped cousins. 70 degree surface temps is kind of the "magic" number around here for them to be all over the water column. In the summer, when the 'cline' puts the squeeze on them, they will choose the coolest water temps with the most oxygen to spend their time in. They will also choose cooler water over more oxygenated water to spend time in.

So let me ask some questions:

What is the primary forage (bait) in the lake?
What is the hottest the surface temps get in the summer?
When is iceout for your lake?
What is the deepest water in your lake?
What is the biggest your hybs get?
When are you going to take me fishing so I REALLY give you a good answer?


I know, a bunch of jibberish, and I still didn't answer your question.

Yaz
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2008, 03:46 PM
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Slowretrieve Slowretrieve is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

I have to agree with Yaz. Those questions need answering, especially the question of forage fish. If it's shad and you had a real hard winter in '07, there may not be much forage for the hybrids. When you have mild winters, the shad don't die off.
Having said that, let me tell you about my Indiana lake. It's not deep. There are 40+ foot depths, but mostly it is 16-24 feet--until this year. The rain has been constant. The lake was twelve feet over summer pool until the last week; not it is only a foot over summer pool. Wipers have not been busting the surface. Shad balls or swirls are hard to find if you find them at all, and wiper fishing has been hard, hard, hard. They're down there, but they aren't interested. In fact, it's been so difficult, I have even considered using live bait and chicken livers on them.
Initially, I would suggest this. Fish the late evenings just before and after sunset. Other times are fun fishing times, but the sunset time is serious catching time. I see a lot of guys going off the lake as the sun starts to set--wrong.
Wipers love flats (areas of the lake where the water is 3-9 feet deep and adjascent to deeper water) and they love chasing baitfish onto the flats at sunset. Be there. Also, wipers like humps. They seem to hang around them. The only thing they like better than a good hump--they're almost human, aren't they?--is the mouths of inlets. Those inlets mouths are essential to wipers. They're hard to catch in big, open water, but they bunch up at the inlets.

What colors usually work in your area? We use a lot of chartreuse here. When I fish for wipers in TN or KY, we use a lot of pearl colors, but oddly the pearl does not work well in Indiana. Must be the angle of the sun. Silver and gold shiney spoons work well, too. Kastmaster makes a great casting spoon that wipers seem to take to.

I fished wipers in deep lakes. We spotted them under 49 feet of water trailing along beside shad schools. We dropped silver Kastmaters to them and they took them without hesitation. It is a trick to being a fighting wiper up out of 49 feet of water. Takes stout line and a good deal of patience. We took several one day by drop jigging.

Sometimes 3-4 inch glow grubs work, too, especially in the Fall.

Anyway, good luck with your quest. You might also check one of the earlier threads on this site where the Indiana DNR tracked wipers throughout the largest reservoir in the state. They tracked them for a full year. In fact, I saw them out tracking them this past week. They post the trackings, and it is insightful to see how the fish relate to structure and how they generally move about the 12000 acres of water. It may give you some ideas; they can't be that different in Colorado.
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2008, 10:25 PM
shaane shaane is offline
 
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Default Okay to answer all your questions

To begin with thanks for showing the interest, and help.
to answer "YAZ"
Primary forage in the lake: gizzard shad 2nd bluegill 3rd bass ( our bass don't get very big)
Hottest surface temp in the summer: called a few of my buddies nobody remembers the lake ever getting above 80 so the best answer is 78,
Current surface temp: 75
Deepest water in the lake: By the dam 110', closer to the inlet averages 50-60'
biggest hybrids: We average 5-6lbs, a good day is a 9lb, I know of several 19lb wipers taken from the lake in the last 3 yrs
I will take u fishing whenever u come to Colorado, I live 5 min from the lake, all I need is an excuse.
To answer "Slowretrieve"
You talked about your flats, on our lake there are three main flats each about the size of 2 football fields. their depth this year averages 30-40' So it is surprising to me you look for flats in the 3-9', I will defiantely begin searching out theese areas.
This year has been a dry one, we are just beginning to get the dark threatening storms roll in in the afternoons, it has cooled off our afternoons but not a signifigant amount of rain.
I do target the humps that i have found, all are marked on my gps and most all are on the flats I speak of.
There is one main river that supplies 99.99999% of the water in the lake, that water comes directly from snowmelt in the rockies. The reason for the percentage is there are many feeder creeks into the lake but in mid summer they are at best a trickle, and when it does rain a little more.
Here we use A LOT of chartreuse (I just realized thats much easier to say than spell) we troll spinnerbaits in chart and white, and throw flukes in pearl with chart tails. For vertical jigging Cabelas real image spoon with a blue back is the most consistent. I have honestly never tried gold, but will now.
*Other things to note is we had an above average snowfall last winter and the lake is the highest it has been in 8-10 yrs. I would say 5' below the highest it has ever been 12 yrs ago
*Also here (I assume because of the dry heat) we don't have vegetation, green vegetation in the lake. Most of what you will see are dead weeds, willows etc, no lilly pads, very little green growing under the water.
* Question??? Chicken Livers??? I have never heard of this and I guarantee none of my buddies ever have. So do I put them on a hook raw out of the package, do I let them sit in the sun and get rank as though Im going for catfish, please learn me more about this..
I hope Ive answered all ur questions, now u know Im serious about this education, Any more questions Ill get right back to you, Any advice will be applied THANKS....
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2008, 11:27 PM
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jakebird jakebird is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

With chicken livers, they are difficult to stay on the hook. Take a pair of your wifes old panty hose and cut some small squares. Some guys sew them up, I just wrap it around the livers and use the hook to secure it through the panty hose. Try fishing them on a carolina rig. a slip sinker 1/2 to 3/4 oz above a swivel on a two to four foot leader and a large treble hook for the bait. They do seem to be better wen the've been out in the sun a while, though right out of the package works as well. Any large cats in the area will also tear these up. Not as exciting as trolling or a surface bite, but very effective, esp along these shallow flats, where they are constantly cruising and eating whatever they find. I like a baitcaster with a clicker...easy to hear when they pick it up. Good luck!
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2008, 11:37 PM
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Slowretrieve Slowretrieve is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

It sounds like you're facing many of the same conditions we face in Indiana this year, mostly the high water. I doubt anyone knows where they go when the water is high. All the things we knew from past years are not working now. But chicken livers always work. Get a fresh package at the store. Get a seive, too, or you'll have chicken blood all over the deck. Keep them cool. Rig your pole Carolina style with the egg sinker at the top, the bead, the swivel, three feet of line and the hook. Big hooks work best. Fish in right on the bottom near dropoffs. For some reason they love chicken livers.

If you have high water, you probably also had a cold winter last year. Shad cannot tolerate water below 36 degrees; they die. So when spring comes, the baitfish aren't there, and if it's a year when the water levels are high, there's not much you can do. I say optimize you time on the water by going out close to sunset. Try the livers. They troll okay, too. If you were here, I would tell you to pay special attention to the mouths of all inlets at the deepest end of the lake. As sunset hits, troll into the inlet.

That's my take on it.

Good luck.
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2008, 01:38 AM
shaane shaane is offline
 
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Default Hey Thanks for all the Info

Thanks for the info guys, I'm obviously no professional but theese wipers have to be one of the hardest species of freshwater gamefish for an angler to find consistently. I will definately try the chicken livers, thanks again.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2008, 11:14 AM
YAZ YAZ is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

With the water temps staying in the 70's to low 80's, I'd probably use live bait all the time. The problem with bait for us this time of year in 80+ degree water is they do not last long, and they are very sluggish on the hook. So, they are not very attractive to the fish. Are you allowed to fish live bait? Shiners, chubs, shad? I know slowretrieve will cringe, but, I'd troll till I found a few, and then drop live bait in on them. Sorry, slowretrieve!!!! If there is a shortage of shad due to a winter kill. It should make for some fast action.


Yaz
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2008, 02:27 PM
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Daveo76 Daveo76 is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

Wow, they must be tough to catch from a lake. Fortunately I have the Ohio River to fish for the Wipers. Temp is 83 right now, best times are very early AM(before 8) and late evening to just after dark. Between those times this time of the year ,they are hard to catch. The river doesn't get much deeper than about 30 ft around here but they stay close because of the hydro-electric facility and a constant bait supply. They can be zeroed in on one bait in particular that they are chasing and won't hit anything else. Today they were after Shiners , so the 3" Sluggo worked. Tomorrow it may be Lures as big as Pencil Poppers or a 6" Swimbait. It's taken a long time to "learn" the river . I just don't fish for them in lakes but maybe something here may help you. Liver does work here too, as well as Shad guts. Cut shad ,Skipjack ,Mooneyes and Shrimp.
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  #11  
Old 08-12-2008, 08:05 AM
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Slowretrieve Slowretrieve is offline
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Default Re: Where do all the wipers go??

I've noticed this one the lake, too, Daveo76. The fish seem to fucus on one thing, and what works today may be useless tomorrow. If you angle with lures on the lakes, you pretty much have to try everything you know usually works, and if it doesn't work, start picking through the stuff in your tacklebox. Sometimes it's silver spoons, sometimes slabs, other times plastics. There's really no way of knowing. On the lake, though, pretty much all they eat is shad, but they don't always bite on things that look like shad. One afternoon I had a great time fishing with large tiger-colored Thundersticks. They couldn't have looked like any shad they had ever seen. And oddly enough, I've never had a wiper take a Rapala J5 shad lure. I think Shaane's right; they're a tough species to nail down with any regularity.
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Last edited by Slowretrieve; 08-12-2008 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Rethought it
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