In the Fall, water temps on lakes and reservoirs begin cool at the surface. At a certain point, the surface water reaches a lower temperature than the water below, and with the cooler water being denser than warm water, the surface water suddenly sinks to the bottom of the lake. This shift to the overall water column is called lake turnover.
After the lake turns, the water temp will be relatively the same from top to bottom, and the dissolved oxygen levels will be relatively the same from top to bottom. Also, the rising warmer water will bring algae and other debris from the bottom of the lake. This debris can make it troublesome to troll through, with build-up on your trolling lines.
After a lake turns, it can take 2 to 3 weeks for the lake to re-stabilize.
What this means for anglers… There will no longer be a stable, highly oxygenated section of water in the water column, and the reliable Summer patterns you’ve been fishing will disappear. Fish during this period can move around a lot! Some fish will move very shallow, while others will retreat to deeper water. Some will suspend and roam, others will hold tight to cover in ambush.
The lake turnover period can be challenging to fish, but keep in mind that fish are still present and they still need to eat. There are two schools of thought to catching fish during this period.
The first process is to cover as much water as possible. Fish are generally scattered throughout the lake, shallow to deep and on-shore to off-shore. The more water you can cover, the more fish you will encounter.
Some lures to keep in mind during this period are typical trolling lures such as spinners and spoons or casting and retrieve lures such as swim jigs, topwater lures, and crankbaits. Remember to clear your trolling lines often because of the extra debris in the water.
The second process is to go to an area that you know fish were abundant in throughout the summer and slow down and fish that entire area very methodically. If possible, fan cast to cover all of the water in the area in search of your target species.
Some of our favorite lures for this process are football jigs, tube jigs, or ned rigs, oftentimes utilizing a craw or minnow-colored soft plastic.
Additional Blog Posts
For more information about our TRG MudBugs and their uses, visit our blog post ‘Three Uses For Our TRG Mudbugs’.
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