Identify the Species

Posted by MNAngler On September - 12 - 2010

When I was up at my in-laws’ cabin, Ken and I found what could only be described as a fish highway.

On one of our less successful outings, we were off the shore of one of the islands and started to head home, when we saw a couple of fish on the fish finder. As those fish moved across the screen, more fish appeared, then more, and then even more. There were at least 6 fish on the screen all the way back across the main part of the lake. Most of them were all hovering at 30-40 ft in 50-60 ft of water. But there were a few stragglers that were up at 10-15 ft. We couldn’t believe it. Our mouths were gaped open the entire way.

Later that week, we weren’t able to find as many fish in the highway, but we still saw a bunch of them. Many of them were held in the thermocline. We tried to catch them with bottom bouncers and dipsy divers, but had no luck. I think this is mainly because we didn’t know what species they were. Therefore, we didn’t know what they would bite.

So, in your expert opinion, what species of fish were they? What species of fish hangs off the bottom by about 20 ft? I don’t think bass go that deep. And walleye are usually just a few feet off the bottom. Northern pike, maybe? What about Lake Trout? The MN DNR web site states they stocked the lake with more than 700lbs of yearling Lake Trout back in 2003 and 2005, but no one has caught a Laker out of the lake in decades.

With the hypothesis of what you think these fish are, how would you go about catching them?

5 Responses to “Identify the Species”

  1. Bob Benditzky says:

    I’m assuming it was in the evening. I am going to say they were Ciscos (sp?). I’ve been up on Eagle Lake in Ontario and have come across schools of Ciscos 200 to 300 yards across. This was occurring every evening. I was told, and saw, people fishing for walleyes and northerns around and above the school.

    I’m not sure how to catch them. Also, I’m not sure it’s worth it to try to catch them.


    Great question


  2. Jim Braaten says:

    I agree with Bob. The first thing that came to mind when I read your post was Ciscos. Of course, that is just a guess as you may never know for sure.

  3. Next time get a heavy spoon with a big treble hook and rip it up through them. If they don’t want to bite, get em anyway. Just kidding. Not sure what they would have been. I have seen white bass in a similar grouping in deeper water, but that was in the early spring as they were moving towards the rivers to spawn.

  4. MNAngler says:

    Thanx for your opinions, guys.

    I didn’t consider the schooling aspect. I was asking more about what fish hover that deep and that far off the bottom.

    As far as I know, there are no Ciscos or striped bass in that lake. At least, not as reported by the MN DNR in the last survey. The lake does have whitefish and white suckers, though, aside from smallies, northern, and walleye.

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