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The Seiche Effect: How Wind-Driven Current Affects Fishing

The Seiche Effect: How Wind-Driven Current Affects Fishing

Perspectives with Hook and Look

How many times have we been on the water and caught fish so well that we can’t wait to get out there again? How many times have we gotten on the water the next day and the exact same area doesn’t produce a single bite? It happens, right?

As anglers, we often have our theories as to why it happens. The intelligent explanations come to mind … The baitfish moved, or the cloud cover wasn’t the same as yesterday. Then there are the illogical reasons … I should’ve eaten scrambled eggs instead of over easy, I wasn’t holding my mouth right today, or shouldn’t have worn fresh underwear and socks.

If we want to be able to be consistent as anglers, we need to learn as much as we can about fish behavior, what the factors are that cause a change in those behaviors and how we can adjust to them.

Having spent much of his adult life above and below the water’s surface fishing and filming his Hook and Look program, Kim Stricker has seen it all. During one such outing on New York’s Lake Champlain, Stricker found smallmouth in one area that were willing to strike, and they caught several quality fish on camera.

They returned the following day to finish the underwater portion of the episode and didn’t get a bite. After donning their scuba gear, he and his son Danny found that the water had stratified differently in the area than it had the day prior. On the first day the water was evenly mixed with turbidity and fertile aspects that were visible to the pair and the camera lens. On the second day, the water several feet up from the bottom was crystal clear, and much cooler, while the turbid, warmer water was elevated off the bottom.

Stricker researched and found this to be called the Seiche Effect—pronounced (say-she). A Seiche Effect occurs when wind drives water across a lake or area of a lake, and it creates wave action that can change the stratification of a body of water. In this case, the wind drove cooler water into the area, and because cooler water is more dense than warm water, it sunk to the bottom, forcing the fertile, warmer water towards the surface.

Most anglers who fished here again on day two found little response from the fish and have left the area. What Stricker found was that the fish tend to follow the warmer water upwards, and a simple adjustment to fishing for suspended fish with a crankbait, jerkbait or some vertical presentation like a spoon or a dropshot may have yielded results.

Atmospheric changes can have effect on the fishery—like a ripple in a pond that just keeps spreading.

See Stricker’s Seiche Effect video below:

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