The Barometer as it Relates to
Barometers measure the
ambient atmospheric pressure. It is a tool that is useful in forecasting
the weather and the weather's effect on the feeding behavior of fish.
Have you ever wondered why the fish were so eager to take the bait
yesterday, but there seems to be little or no interest today? It could
be that a low pressure front is building. When the barometer is low and
dropping, a storm is present, or on the way. When the barometer is high,
the weather is fair and dry. An exception to the rule is when sitting on
the lake, under storm clouds, and a rain shower happens, this causes the
barometer to rise. That is why it is said, that the fishing is good
after a rain.
The barometer is a useful tool to help us unlock some of the
mysteries of fishing and catching. Atmospheric pressure fluctuations
affect the air bladder in the fish. When the barometer is low, the bite
is off, as the fish will spend most of their efforts on equalizing their
air bladder and pay less attention to feeding. However, when the
pressure is high the chances for catching fish is far greater.
Fish will generally feed at the onset of a storm and between the
approaching fronts, or as the barometer rises and falls through the
course of the day.
Wildlife also knows when and
what to expect from the weather due to changes in barometric pressure.
When the surrounding birds and wildlife are active and being their
leisurely selves, the barometric pressure is stable or high. The
majority of wildlife can sense the approach of a storm, you'll notice
that it can get pretty quiet on and around the lake when the pressure is
dropping because a storm is approaching.
Thermocline as it Relates to Striper Fishing
Locating feeding fish is
one of the most important skills a fisherman can develop. You can mark
fish on your sonar and not entice them to strike your bait if they are
not in their "feeding zone".
Most species of fish have a preferred temperature of water that
they will actively feed in. Find this area of temperature with fish
present and you will greatly increase your chances of catching fish.
Remember, fish are cold blooded. In water too cold, fish will be
dormant, sluggish and will not feed. In water too warm, they will be
seeking a more comfortable better oxygenated environment. So an
understanding of how the different temperature levels of lakes will
On most lakes, water temperatures tend to settle into horizontal
layers of warm water and cold water that are separated by a moderating
layer known as the "thermocline". The thermocline typically will be the
most active "feeding zone".
Simply put, the thermocline is a thin layer of water in a lake
which is sandwiched between the upper layer of water (the epilimnion)
and the lower, colder layer of water (hypolimnion). During the summer
months, surface water is heated by the sun and the surface temp could be
85 degrees or more. This floats over a layer of colder more denser water
called the hypolimnion. Between these two layers you have a thin layer
(the thermocline) which the water temp and oxygen ratio is generally
considered the stripers comfort zone.
Sunlight is a factor to consider when
seeking the striped bass comfort zone out. Usually the thermocline where
the light is just right and the oxygen is comfortable for the stripers.
However stripers like other bass can see ultraviolet rays and do not
have eyelids, their pupils do not adjust as humans do. Also remember
sunlight will diffuse differently depending on the time of day. Early
morning and late afternoon the suns rays will be at more of an angle and
not as intense. Midday with the sun directly overhead, very intense, and
of course don't forget the favored overcast day. Wind (wave action) will
also affect the suns penetration into the water, as will the clarity of
In the heat of summer, early fall, and
deep winter striped bass will be in and around the thermocline. In fact,
depending on weather conditions (high summer temps) stripers can be
found in the hypolimnion, sometimes catching them in 40 feet or deeper
The bottom section of a lake is where everything settles to decay
thus eating up the oxygen and not a good place to find striped bass.
In spring and fall stripers usually have more options depending on
weather patterns and the thermocline does not play as much of a role in
Quality sonar units can identify and display the thermocline quite
well nowadays. Keep in mind, on large/deep lakes the thermocline depth
and density can vary from area to area.