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setterguy

Baitfish locations

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While I know why most predator fish are where they are is because of forage available is there any publication or dvd that accurately explains why the bait fish are where they are in different conditions? It seems like being able to predict forage movements would greatly increase the chances of finding fish....any thoughts?

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I am in no way endorsing this, but the newest Ice Team (Dave Genz) DVD, something like "Ultimate Panfishing" or something, does a good job of explaining where to find the most plankton and larvae, which baitfish/panfish depend on. He says the key is bottom composition - find the "sticky bottom" that vacuum sucks back on a depth bomb when you go to pull it pack up and that's where the baitfish food will be. Pretty useless on a rocky/sandy lake, tho - plus, I've had tons of bugs/plankton cover a lighted underwater camera at night over sand, so I'm not convinced.

Some people think that incoming low pressure fronts cause plankton to become suspended above the bottom right when the barometer drops, too. I dunno about this either.

All types of larvae are important, too. again, sticky mud tends to hold larvae, I've read about catching pannies with euros over sticky mud and they had mud in their mouths from digging up larvae.

Simple fact is that larvae and plankton need oxygen, so anything that increases oxygen is something to pay attention to. Current, inlets, cracks and heaves, green weeds, organic bottom composition.

Figure out plankton and larvae, and you might figure out baitfish (peel the onion). This is quite possibly why there is a thread in the Mille Lacs forums about fishing in zero-structure-flat-no-mans-land where the sand ends and the mud starts - the baitfish are roaming there, and the big boys move in to feed on the baitfish.

What I'd personally like to know is more about sandy bottom lake food chains. The mud thing is easy to relate to, but I'm a little stuck on sandy/rocky bottoms (no pun intended). I know about the role that crayfish play, but what else is going on there?

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