Ice-Out turnover is not a new phenomena, but depending on where you live, maybe you are just noticing it. Simply put, the turnover, or mixing of the water column from bottom to top happens immediately after ice-out (when a body of water no longer is covered in ice).
Unlike most liquids, water is actually less dense as a solid than as a liquid. The result is that ice floats, and the densest cold water sinks. This leads to lakes becoming layered — capped with ice on top, and the water below stratified by density. This stratification is actually weaker in winter than in summer, but the ice cap keeps water layers from mixing. In the spring, when the ice cap melts and the surface heats up, mixing (or turn over) occurs. This turn over is vital to the health and well being of aquatic life in the lake, since the upper layers become infused with oxygen by the air and, upon mixing, bring oxygenated water down to the lower layers. The lower layers, in turn, bring sediment- and nutrient-laden waters up toward the surface.
What to Look For…
If things look unusually green and “nasty” then its time to move. But where to? You have two options
- moving water that will provide a bit more mixing
- areas that are not dominated by flat bottom structures and therefore have an over abundance of vegetation sediment coming off the bottom
Once you find better water, then standard pre-spawn strategies will work…
Finding steeping contours is the most important and most basic of pre-spawn tactics. Remember, “shallow” and “deep” are relative terms and in and of themselves don’t mean a whole lot. You are looking for the quickest transition from shallow to deep, whether that is 2 to
Next step – Locate the Best Cover
After you find the proper structure (steepest contours), look for the best cover on that structure.
Baits and Techniques
If you find water that is close to “normal”, whatever that may be for where you are fishing, then you can stick to standard colors and vibrations
The more you find yourself in darker, dirtier water (from what is normal) the more you want to veer towards the bolder, more solid colors like blacks.
Baits that offer good vibration or water displacement are also a good choice.
Notice I’m talking about baits and techniques towards the end, because that should be your priority as well. Too many times, I’ve tried to make a bad water quality situation better with a “magic” bait or color, when the thing I should have started with was finding better water.