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Nature's signs

Norm M

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Today was a great example of why we should pay attention to what is going on around us while on the water. The water temps have dropped 6 degrees over the weekend slowing the bite considerably. I was fishing slowly and methodically with plastics picking a a fish here and there but nothing to write home to Ma about.


I say the swallows start to swoop down low over the water and start eating bugs coming out of the water. It was obvious a hatch of some kind was going on. I moved as close as I dared and went with a fluke on a weighted hook so I could target the larger fish lower in the water column eating the smaller fish that were eating the bugs. While the hatch lasted it was non stop action on the fluke, once the birds left the fish left.


I fished all around that area with a variety of lures and couldn't buy a bite for almost an hour afterward. I know there were fish around as they didn't just pack their bags for Boca and jump on TWA. It was the influx of prey that turned them on and I would have missed it had I not paid attention to the birds.


I made the tricky wade back to where I started and went back to methodically straining the water for fish. I did discover a pattern of sorts, multiple larger fish near the head of the slackwater spots on the seam where it starts moving out away from shore.


I was at another spot upstream checking out a a similar head of the slackwater spot when I saw some more swallows darting low over the water near the head of an island.


Once again I headed to the birds but it took a little longer as it was a much nastier wade to get there. I went with the weighted fluke again and had non stop action as long as the birds were eating bugs. The birds left and so did the action.


Twice in one day , I encountered fast non stop action on an otherwise slow day, because I paid attention to the signs nature provided. One other thing of note, both times when the swallows started swooping, herons flew in and started feeding. They made a heck of a racket protesting my approach each time.If it's a good enough cue for the real master fisherman of the river, it's good enough for me.

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In the fall it was the birds eating the baitfish. Same concept, but probably one we're all a little more familiar with. It's a good practice to follow on Lake Michiganas well; the gulls would find the baitfish and the coho or browns would be right under them. A jointed countdown Rapala worked well; the lure action was great but more importantly you could cast it a mile to where to where the birds were.

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Norm, the way I do it is with binoculars.I drive around the State Park and look for a

big black car.Then I sneek up to the river with my binoculars and spy on this clean shaven

handsome man and observe his techniques.He always seems to know where and how.

Then I return and fish his spots.If this doesn't work then I send him a PM and ask him

how he does it.


...Note: post edited to protect member from being stalked :blink:






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Just as long as it's not the little red car with all the hippy stickers, that guy is generally lost.

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The one thing that's really interesting to me is about this is that what works on the ocean for saltwater fish is also a very effective technique for freshwater fish as well. I cannot tell you how many times I've been fishing and seen seagulls diving on a spot and when you arrive, the fish are driving the baitfish to the surface. It can be fast and furious catching fish for a while and then poof... it's over just as quickly as it started!


Now then, we were down in Mexico on one trip and came across a bait ball the size of a football field on the surface but the only difference was that there were no birds present. We fished that thing thoroughly: all around it, under it, through it, next to it, besides it, you name it and could not catch a fish. The bait fish could have still been driven to the surface by big fish but it was interesting because no one was home and that hardly ever happens in this type of a situation. Normally, if you see this... it's like THREE LEMONS ON A SLOT MACHINE! :D You catch fish until your arm falls off!!

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