View Full Version : when a lake turns over

12-17-2005, 09:24 AM
OK, I'm swallowing my pride and asking a question most of you already know...

From what I understand, when a lake "turns over" that means the surface water finally gets cold enough that it becomes heavy and sinks, displacing the deep water, which is forced to the surface, which rearranges the overall depth stratification of the lake. Do I have that anywhere close to right?

And, how do you know exactly when that happens? Are you looking at the surface temperature? Activity on the depth finder? How important is it to good winter fishing?

12-17-2005, 10:14 AM
Here's a link from a google search. http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/fish/ponds/laketurn/

12-18-2005, 10:59 AM
I guess the article on lake turnover at Folsom Lake made its way off the Fishsniffer home page, but here's the link:


12-18-2005, 08:52 PM
Thanks for the articles. Now I know what it means. Now how do I know it happened? Does the lake look any different or can I notice anything different?

12-18-2005, 08:57 PM
When the water flops over it's a good thing for winter fishing - The fish we hunt follow the food chain and give us a chance to catch and release them in an environment they can survive for another fight.

12-19-2005, 06:58 PM
It depends on the lake. In the higher foothill lakes and mountain lakes, for example, water clarity isn't affected so much and the DO (dissolved Oxygen) profiles change a little bit, but oxygen availability isn't a big issue for the trout. In lower elevation lakes (think Berryessa, Bay Area lakes) clarity takes a real hit- sometimes if it happens fast enough, you can smell the difference if you are downwind of the lake. It even takes a bigger hit when you realize that turnover at low elevations coincides with rainfall and the associated runoff. You know when Lafayette turns because all the weeds die... Too cold in shallow water.

In bigger lowland lakes (Shasta), turnover can actually make for tougher fishing for a few reasons: (a) fish used to be in the thermocline, they are nw spread out through the water column, (b) forage die off means lots of easy to eat meat that is hard to imitate, assuming you find the fish, (c) water clarity is decreased. After a couple weeks when the die-offs stop and the clarity stabilizes, the fish tend to stay shallower and the fishing gets better...

01-02-2006, 06:41 PM
Thanks everyone!