Colder weather is here and the water temperatures are dropping on all lakes. That means that turnover will have an affect on all lakes. 

In a nutshell, here is what happens:

Remember that this is a process, not an event. It takes a while to finish. The smaller and shallower lakes turn over first, then the larger deeper lakes.

During turnover, the warmer water from deeper down rises (heat rises) and carries with it sediment from the bottom. This is what make the lakes green and smelly. After a week or so, the lakes resettle and the water becomes quite clear. This creates some of the best fishing of the year for both muskies and walleyes.

Turnover generally occurs when the water temperatures are dropping through the 50s and requires cold air temperatures to keep the water temps dropping.

If you are fishing a large deeper lake, you might have difficulty identifying this effect, as these lakes don’t have a lot of new sediment to bring up. They can just look darker than normal and the fishing will be difficult.

In general, the best tactic to deal with turnover is to move to a different lake of a different size and depth. When possible, look for a post-turnover lake such as a smaller, shallower lake. The worst thing that can happen would be if there is a significant warm spell during the turnover process, as this seems to keep the lakes green and unpleasant for the duration of the warm spell. We need consistent cold weather to complete turnover.

The post-turnover pattern will be some of the best fishing of the year and gives anglers a lot to look forward to. On the Eagle River Chain, this means fish the holes for walleyes and in general deeper for muskies.

Walleye fishing is good, with action on jigs and minnows throughout the area in deeper water as the fish move to the holes for the winter. This will make the Chain quite green and unappealing. On the deeper big lakes, walleyes are hitting off of the weeds in water as deep as 25 feet.

Muskie action is good and getting better. They are now hitting suckers quite well, but with the streams so high, suckers will be hard to find. Hope for some dry weather for a while. Muskies also are hitting jerk baits and twitch baits consistently.

Bass fishing is slowing for the largemouths, but the smallies are hitting quite well in deeper water. Ned Rigs have been by far the best. Smallies can be quite deep.

Northerns also have moved deeper, and you can catch them off the weeds also in water to 15 feet deep.

Panfish action has slowed considerably, but anglers can get some nice perch action in the deeper weeds in the fall. Crappies are moving toward the holes on the Chain, but can still be found in the weeds on warm days.

Open water fishing is just about over on our lakes, so get out there the next couple of weeks.

Good luck and good fishin’.