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We hit SoHa today. Disappointing to say the least. Lost nice fish first thing then dragged around a very small king for a while. Trolled in and out of 90' to 120' all morning  southwest of the pier head.  Riggers with sliders, 1/2 core, fully core, 200 and 300 Cu.  Marked a bunch of? On the sonar. What do you all think, baitfish or bugs?

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2 minutes ago, Hockey390 said:

I had the same experiance in Grand Haven on Thursday. Lots of bait. 1 for 3 but with all the bait felt there should have been more fish.

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I have not seen balls of bait like that in years. Kind of why I was wondering if you could see swarms of bugs hatching up off the bottom on the sonar. There were a lot of bugs in the boat and dead on the surface of the water. 

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Honestly it's a good question. Over the last 5 years I've seen marks like this, usually in the morning, rarely after the sun is up.

I've always thought it was bait, but I suppose it could be something else. I saw small may flies on my boat when I launched and there were a ton of small black bugs on the boat in the AM while trolling. There were fish marks in/around these, whatever they are. I also could see my downrigger cable and diver wires vibrate when I went through them. I didn't see any sign of bugs on top of cannonballs or anything like that.

It would be an interesting experiment to have a camera to drop down and see.

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You can definitely see bug hatches on your locator. We were once fishing what we thought were bait schools when the water behind us turned dark brown and started to look like smoke. Then we trolled right through one of the pods of insects and you almost couldn't breathe. It was a midge fly hatch we experienced that was so thick it was almost biblical.

If you were surrounded by flies on deck, I would say those definitely could be insect hatches you marked.

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23 minutes ago, TyeeII said:

You can definitely see bug hatches on your locator. We were once fishing what we thought were bait schools when the water behind us turned dark brown and started to look like smoke. Then we trolled right through one of the pods of insects and you almost couldn't breathe. It was a midge fly hatch we experienced that was so thick it was almost biblical.

If you were surrounded by flies on deck, I would say those definitely could be insect hatches you marked.

98% of our bugs on Friday were the same midges you experienced and sounds like they may be the same thing Darrin had up in Grand Haven. 

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So I guess the million dollar question would be... Do you fish those spots or avoid them? I always try setting up on these types of marks and get frustrated when I can't get a darn thing to work in/around it. 

PS, sorry if I'm hijacking the post.

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22 minutes ago, Hockey390 said:

So I guess the million dollar question would be... Do you fish those spots or avoid them? I always try setting up on these types of marks and get frustrated when I can't get a darn thing to work in/around it. 

PS, sorry if I'm hijacking the post.

Nothing to be sorry about. This is exactly why I'm asking the question. Just like you we assumed that those were baitfish and stayed in the areas where we marked the "baitfish" to no avail. Now I'm wondering if that was the wrong move. I'm not sure what the salmon think of it if there are heavy concentrations of bugs in the water. Does it irritate their gills and they move out of the area like when a big blow puts a bunch of stirred up sand in the water? Logic tells me that even if those were bugs, would something small be eating them at some level in the food chain that ultimately leads to something salmon like to eat?  Good discussion. 

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There was another boat fishing similar depth and catching fish when I wasn't. I was pounding the area and depth of the bait/bugs. He might have been outside of it. I can think of at least a half dozen trips where I've marked these and consistantly have not caught much when fishing in or around it. Most of the time I catch fish that aren't even on the graph.
I did catch a suspended lake trout around those clouds. Go figure.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

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There was another boat fishing similar depth and catching fish when I wasn't. I was pounding the area and depth of the bait/bugs. He might have been outside of it. I can think of at least a half dozen trips where I've marked these and consistantly have not caught much when fishing in or around it. Most of the time I catch fish that aren't even on the graph.
I did catch a suspended lake trout around those clouds. Go figure.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

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There was another boat fishing similar depth and catching fish when I wasn't. I was pounding the area and depth of the bait/bugs. He might have been outside of it. I can think of at least a half dozen trips where I've marked these and consistantly have not caught much when fishing in or around it. Most of the time I catch fish that aren't even on the graph.
I did catch a suspended lake trout around those clouds. Go figure.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

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There was another boat fishing similar depth and catching fish when I wasn't. I was pounding the area and depth of the bait/bugs. He might have been outside of it. I can think of at least a half dozen trips where I've marked these and consistantly have not much when fishing in or around it. Most of the time I catch fish that aren't even on the graph.
I did catch a suspended lake trout around those clouds. Go figure.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App

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18 minutes ago, Hockey390 said:

There was another boat fishing similar depth and catching fish when I wasn't. I was pounding the area and depth of the bait/bugs. He might have been outside of it. I can think of at least a half dozen trips where I've marked these and consistantly have not much when fishing in or around it. Most of the time I catch fish that aren't even on the graph.
I did catch a suspended lake trout around those clouds. Go figure.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App
 

Well it turns out those balls might actually be bait fish after all. My neighbor went out this morning and fished the same area, same depth as we did yesterday and went 7-8. One of his comments was "Lots of bait, all of the fish were full of alewives. On the way out there were alewives all over in the river. Saw 2 people catch steelhead off the piers."  To make it even more interesting we had the same moonshine spoon on a 300 Cu that took 3 fish for them and several other same or similar presentations. 

So what's different?  We got our lines in between 7:30 - 8:00 and lost a nice fish almost immediately. He set lines just before 6:00 and had slow but steady fishing until 8:30 and never had a hit after that. To be fair they had to pull lines at 9:15 due to other commitments, so who know how well they could have done if they could have stayed out longer. 

I guess my point is that if those marks are all baitfish, then the salmon could just be full early and the old adage of the early bird gets the worm might be appropriate. Years ago we always had our lines in at least 30 mins before sun rise. My old fishing partner always wanted to make sure we were off the water and getting a burger and beer someplace around lunchtime. I think I just got lazy when the fishing was easy but, getting out early always put another 3-4 fish in our box. Might be the difference.

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I had lines wet with "?" marked on the graph by 6 AM. Like I said though, there was a boat near us that was 7 for 9 by around 9 AM and I think we were still 0 for 0 at that point. Who knows.

I like the idea that it's just bugs and all the fish were avoiding the spot we were in. At least then I have a reason we didn't catch anything. HA

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