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Morning/Evening Bite


Sea-Mac

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We all know the few hours between sunrise and sunset can be great fishing. I'd like to hear some info/opinions on why you think this is. I think I have a pretty good idea on why, but wouldnt mind hearing some other thoughts on the matter.

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First it has to do with the fact Salmon like sharks can't sneak up on anything in well lite water. They need some light to see to feed so they are low light preditors based on the idea of using the least amount of energy to feed. To do this they must be able to get close low light conditions allow this. They are also cycloic feeders much like us however they are to me more like 3rd shift workers. I see it this way they wake up in the early evening and have breakfast based on whatever is close to them. As darkness settles in they move into warmer water and begin to herd the bait fish sometime around midnight they have lunch taking whatever they can grab easy. As dawn approaches the light angle lights the upper water column allowing them to see the bait while still hiding in the darker water underneath and they begin supper. Once full they become more neutral and begin to slide off to bed which can be moving out to deeper colder water or just laying on the bottom depending on the water temp.

That's my theory anyhow for mid summer fish Spring fish and staging fish however seem to stay in the bait zone all the time and eat any time they have room in their stomach for more food.

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During times when bright sunlight is not present, baitfish and salmon often will be found in the top 30 feet of water. This are the times of the day where the fish are most concentrated, and most importantly they are actively feeding.

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Correct. It actually has to do with the predator prey relationship between the phytoplankton, zooplankton and planktivores(Salmon prey) Low light conditions are perfect for all species to prey on and have less predation at the same time. The angle of the sun causes light to only penetrate the upper water column. This allows predators to attack from the darkness below into the light. The low light levels also give the prey a better chance against sight feeders than full daylight. Upper level schools will form to help against predation. Since most Great lakes planktivores are sight feeders, night feeding is low where they could have the best chance for survival.

All this adds up to high concentrations of active baitfish and good predation characteristics in the upper water column for the salmon. They can see the food and it is concentrated for them. So they instictively are in active feed mode during that time whether there is bait around or not

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I agree completely. Thats why your graph suddenly goes from few fish adn bait to full of fish and bait as the light fades. The plankton get active along with the bait fish along with the predatory fish. And as it gets brighter it reverses. Its one big domino effect.

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Overcast can prolong the feeding period however even on overcast days the light angle is high meaning it penatrates deeper into the water. The light angle and color spectrum it provides is the biggest key. Think like a theif you don't want the light shining on you but you want some light on your target so you can see it. Ideally as the sun comes up or goes down you have a period where only the top 20 to 30 ft of water gets light this gives the entire food chain a dinner bell. Many times when we are out fishing in the evening we will miss our mark and be in what should be dead water and yet still pull several fish this is because of the dinner bell going off and since we were there the fish came to us. My evening fishing pattern is simple find the bait fish early mark them then I head offshore for Steelhead with the plan of being back near the baitfish at sunset. When I am on target the results are amazing several times we have had every rod on the boat fire within a matter of minutes. One night we went 7 for 10 in about 45min had 5 on at one point could not reset lines it was just a fire drill we were dumping the fish on the floor and pileing the rods forward still hooked to the fish while we fought other fish for 3 guys in a 18ft boat it was cool. Nothing better than deck loading kings with a boat that looks like a bomb went off in a bait shop LOL.

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