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Many lakes experience what is called a thermocline. You'll also hear anglers say that a lake stratifies. On some lakes, the warmer, oxygenated water rises during the summer and leaves the cold, less-oxygenated water in the depths. Fish need oxygen to survive and will seldom venture below the thermocline. Without expensive equipment it is impossible to determine if a lake has a thermocline and, if it does, how deep the dissolved oxygen can be found. It's been said that divers can feel a drop of several degrees in water temperature when they move below the thermocline but that doesn't help the rest of us who are still up there in the boat. Locating fish who are holding just about the thermocline is all trial and error. Try fishing shallow and work your way down. When you start connecting with fish on a hot afternoon, they're probably holding at just above the thermocline. Most of the fish will be right at this depth.
Muskie baits can be a huge surprise, especially at the checkout counter. Most muskie baits range from 6 to 12 inches and cost anywhere from $8.00 to $20.00. Lots of muskies are taken on those bruiser-sized lures, but muskies are also taken on smaller baits, as evidenced by the occasionally surprised walleye anglers who hook a muskie on a tiny jig. Don Weaver is the former President of the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club and has boated over 600 muskies in his fishing career. His secret weapon? A 3-inch minnow imitator crankbait in Tennessee Shad, Firetiger and Blue Shad colors that runs about $5.00. Over 70 percent of the muskies he's caught have fallen for this little crankbait.
You don't want to be left on the side of the river bank with a pair of waders that just couldn't keep the water out. Spend the time to pick out the right pair to keep you high and dry when you go fly fishing. Here's how:
• First decide where you're going to fish and what kind of climate you'll be in.
• Then you can consider what kind of material is best for you. Neoprene is popular because it's durable and you can select the best thickness to suit your needs. Thicker is best for cold weather. Thinner is best for warmer weather and freedom of movement. Nylon works well for the beginner fly fisherman. They're lightweight and will keep you warm, but they'll also keep the heat in too. Rubber is more affordable, but keep in mind that they're heavier and trap the heat in.
• Next on the list is getting a proper fit. Though it might look better to have on a snugger fit for those trophy photos, you want to get a pair of waders that are looser. That way, you can dress accordingly underneath your waders for the climate. You also want to make sure that you get a pair that doesn't restrict your movement. Remember, that a proper fitting wader is important so that you're comfortable and unhindered. You don't want any fishing attire that will contribute to a slip or wading mishap.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|