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One of many good places to start looking for Bass and other impoundment fish is in or around the lakes many channels. The old river bed winds its way through the main lake basin. As the river snaked and carved its way along the old valley floor it created major features such as steep banks, humps and hillocks around the river banks .The major changes in topography were created by moving water carving many channels to lower ground. The channels in the lakes basin are now of course flooded with varying depths of water.
Channels could be classed into two categories primary and secondary .The primary channel is the largest and often it is the original river or stream that was dammed. This channel can be traced through the entire lake and back to the rivers source at its headwaters. Secondary channels are all the little tributary streams and gullies that joined the main river along the way.
Break lines are sudden changes in topography or contour created by channels in a lake basin. Any major changes in water depth and exaggerated contours are prime areas for fish to aggregate. The following areas should be investigated thoroughly as fish will feed or stage around these break lines.
Use a good depth sounder to locate steep or near vertical contours around channels. The submerged cliffs, rock faces, and old river banks create ideal habitats for cod, Bass and yellow belly, these fish are attracted to good structure. Water depths and water conditions will vary throughout a lake, however temperature and oxygen are more consistent at certain depths. Fish tend to concentrate near these areas as they need only to move short distances to find food and a comfortable depth zone. The close proximity of the steep structure also provides shelter or an ambush point for fish. The same solid structure funnels food along its length and creates easy pickings for many predatory fish.
Because fish and forage are continually moving throughout a lake system, natural aggregations of fish occur at many of the junctions of primary and secondary channels. It is these concentrations of fish/forage that anglers look for on their sounders.
Other good locations for angling around channels are where major directional change occurs in the river bed (ie 90 degree turns and Ox bows) These areas again concentrate fish and forage. I am partly theorizing here but some text evidence indicates that subliminal water currents do move through lake channels. Only however when there is significant inflows and when there is an outflow (dam gates open ). When this occurs it may trigger up- welling of nutrient and create fertile areas for Phytoplankton and zoeplankton to blossom. The beginnings of the pelagic foodchain perhaps?
Mounds of sediment e.g. gravel beds or sand as well as rocky outcrops along submerged banks are also prime fish holding structure. Often these areas were created by the old river and its effects of erosion and deposition. The changes in bottom composition ie. stone, gravel and mud need to be thoroughly investigated in regards to fish habitat and angling. Mark Thompson

Copyright© 2000 Mark Thompson. Sweetwater Fishing Australia