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By Beau Butler - Posted on 13 July 2010

Ok, not so strange that fish were moving up and down the stumps. However, if you ask yourself why, it becomes a little more interesting.

Would you think that maybe water temperature is playing a role here? As the wind picks up, wave action begins to drop the amount of available sunlight, thus water temp. slightly changes, but not to a great degree.( We will get some better numbers on this.) When the wind lets off, water temp. rises quickly, and more sunlight can penetrate to a greater depth, thus warming the sub surface temp. slightly.

Shallow water warms faster than deep water, and thus cools quicker. So why are the fish holding in 11-12 feet of water and appear to be scattered? What if, and at this point, a big if, the food source they are seeking is highly temperature sensitive and a large part of this food source's life cycle depends on a certain temp. at a certain depth, AND water depth is critical to this life cycle. Do you think maybe the fish are moving up and down seeking that food source?

There are a lot of questions yet unanswered and many more to be asked. Presently, we are working to identify particular insects and understand their life cycles to a greater degree.

We will keep working on this and keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, keep checking to see what your fish are eating and let us know what you find.
Good Fishng and don't over think it.

Ray's picture

Humm. This is very interesting. If I could catch some crappiei I could be helping with the data but I seem to be in a slump right now. I have always known that crappie eat bugs of different types but was surprised to read that the majority of what you guys found was insects. Shadi are so plentiful right now on my lake I would think that was be the primary food source but the fish suspending like they are right now makes me question that thought. I am going to bet in about a month the stomach contents will change to primarily shad. I have to wonder if during this period post spawn if the insects may just be easier prey.


Beau Butler's picture

Ray, Our theory, and mind you that it is just that, all crappiei are not feeding this way. You still have a large if not majority of the crappie suspended in summer patterns.
However, at certain times, some of the crappie move into the edge of the timber and where conditions are favorable for insect larvae to "move" up the stump to pupate, crappie take advantage of this. Thus water temp, light and such play a major role in this scenario.
We are trying to understand this life cycle better, which could then allow us to pin point ideal conditions for a particular area. We are quite sure at this point that water depth is influencing water temp, thus water in the 10-11 ft range, which seems to be ideal for the "bugs". Since there are just so many "bugs" crawling up one stump, you would have a limited number of fish waiting to take adavantage of a meal.
We still have a ton of unanswered questions, but we are having fun trying to answer some of them.
We both agree that because most of the crappie came from the same general area, they are feeding primarily on the same food source. If we could get some samples from deeper water or open water, I am sure we would find that shad were the primary food source.(I think)
this is one of the reasons we wanted samples from you guys, to see if there is some sort of pattern that we over look.
Hugo also has a ton of shad, which right now you see everywhere. We all know that most times shad is the key food source as insects are limited to certain times of the year.
we'll keep working on it though and see where it goes from here.

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A place for a game fish to rest in relative security from predators and current. Coveri is a non-permanent physical feature of the body of water. This term is often confused with the term 'structure' which refers to the permanent features of a body of water. Examples of cover include bushes, stumps, dock pilings, and laydowns.

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