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Thread: Patoka

  1. #1
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    Patoka

    After not fishing Patoka for several years, I have went there 2 times in the last month. Let me start with the fact that I am not a pro fisherman by any means, but I have fished clubs and even some redman tournys back in the day. After fishing at Patoka this year I have to say that it has humbled me. 2 trips and 0 bass. Can someone tell me whats it take to catch a bass out of this lake? I hope I just picked bad days to go, but even on tough days I would expect to catch a couple. Any help, or suggestions?

  2. #2
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    They were on the beds hard on the main lake. That was last thursday. I'd expect em to be around fry next week or so

  3. #3
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    My friend said he caught some good LM Bass last week

    He said that the lake had cleared up a lot from all the rain and sediment that was washed into the lake. But he said that the lake was higher now due to the rain and the fact that the CORP was not letting the water out fast as the rivers down stream are also at high level. The Ohio River at Evansville, IN has been so high that the lower plaza area has been closed off for weeks now.

    If he gives me any more clues as to where or how he fishes Patoka I'll try to help you out. I won't give out his specific fishing spots but I can tell you the type of terrain that he fishes and you can use a map to find these types of areas.

    My guess if that the fish are up in the recently flooded land and the brush or grass that's been flooded by the rising lake levels. I'd fish something that you can fish fast to search areas for active fish and them move on. If you find good fish then you can slow down and fish it more thoroughly with plastics grubs, worms or other type swim baits. I fished KY lake with crank baits for LM bass and never did that at Patoka Lake much due to the excessive submerged trees and brush. Now out on the main lake when fish are suspended over deeper water and above the thermocline in the summer months I'd troll crank baits for the fish out over the deepest area and the quickest drops out over the deeper waters.

  4. #4
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    Nothing come easy on this lake. But it can be rewarding if your looking for that big bite. You have to make each bite count.. because you won't get a lot of them...Shad are the main food source for these largemouths so a good bet would be Shad imitators. Fish a caffeine Shad in white slow..I mean really slow around brush and across shallow bays..early in the morning and late in the evening...and another bait that seems to work for me are the Christy Critters in green pumpkin fished 3 to 4 feet of the banks..working it slowly on the bottom...that's a start...go get you some !
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  5. #5
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    Patoka

    I was there a few weeks ago when the lake was way down and was humbled as well. No fish and only a couple of random bites. I was there between a few fronts which I knew would make it tough.

    I used to fish this lake when the Corps kept it at typical summer pool so not really sure why they keep raising it up above typical pool levels.

    I was there yesterday and while i did manage just a few bites the fish I caught were very nice. I boated a 5 lb, a 3.5 lb and another that would have kept. I also managed to catch a healthy 12" striper off a main lake point.

  6. #6
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    Corps are all about flood control

    The US Corp of Engineers manage Patoka Lake for flood control purposes. The rivers down stream from the lake are at high levels due to all the extra rain we have had from global warming. So the Corps are holding water in Patoka so as not to aggravate the high water levels down stream from the lake. Excessive temperatures means more rain and more frequent rain. It's simply a hydrologic effect. More heat means more evaporation and thus more rain.

    So the lake levels being higher than in the past was predictable. More extreme weather should be expected as long as the amount of Green House Gases in the Atmosphere continue to rise without any control.

    We just have to learn to adjust to these new conditions. There will be more bugs this year too. More ticks and more flies and more mosquitoes too.

    So wear long pants and tuck your pant legs into your socks and apply the deet and other insect repellants. Check yourself after walking in the fields or the woods. Avoid area with lots of ticks and mosquitoes..

    Fish shallower waters as the bass and other fish will be in the shallows at times (not all the time) feeding. But that's always been the way it was. Get up early and fish the shallows before the sun get up higher in the sky. Bass fishing is always best in the early morning in the shallow waters. The waters in the shallow areas heat up faster and cool down faster than in the deeper sections. Fish the deeper sections after the sun get up. Fish the wood by following the sun. IE fish the shady side of trees and stumps when the sun is up.

    Try fishing at night too. Fish in the early evening before the sun goes down.

    Fish the areas of Patoka that are stained and let less sunlight penetrate down to the depths. Fish are not as spooky when the water is stained or muddy. Predators like Eagles and Ospreys can't see the fish as well from above in the murky shallows so the fish are more likely to stick in the shallow waters longer. Patoka normally is pretty clear especially in the main parts of the lake. Fish the feeder creeks after a rain. Rain washes food into the feeder creeks and the fish are there to fatten up on worms and other bugs that get washed into the water in the shallow area.

    Find the feeder creeks that have ditches running from them up into the shallower waters and follow them up into the shallows or back to the creek that lead back to the River Channel.

    Bass have lateral lines on both sides of their bodies and can hear vibrations though their lateral lines and their ears. Try letting the wind push your boat into the fishing area and being very quiet and you will catch more bass. Running the electronics may allow the bass to hear you and especially if you use the trolling motor. Fish can sense the vibrations of the trolling motor. Patoka is so heavily fish that the fish may be spooked by these sounds and move out into deeper water. I caught more bass when we used oars and no electronics. Learn the fishing lakes bottom by looking at the topo maps and memorize the lay of the land under the water. Then use GPS to find your fishing spots. You won't need the depth finder if you memorize the lay of the land under the water and use your GPS unit to determine your exact location. Motor upwind of your fishing spot and turn off the motor and allow the current or wind to push you into your fishing spot. You will catch more fish this way. Or anchor and stay on the spot a while if it's a good spot. Sooner or later a school of fish will come by.

    90% of the fish are in only 10% of the lake. So learn to target the good spots and catch more fish.

    And always think like a fish. The sun helps them see but the sun also allows their prey to see the bass coming. Bass are predator and ambush is a predators best friend. They won't have to expend as much energy to catch a meal if they use ambush techniques. That's why Bass like to stay next to drop offs and stumps on drop offs where they can hide in the shady side of the stump or drop off and then zoom out and eat unsuspected prey fish. They also like to eat Crayfish. So areas with bottoms that cray fish can live and hide in are good spots. Transition area of soft to hard bottom are easy to find with todays electronics. Mark these spots on your SI unit and then come back after things setting down and fish them using the GPS coordinates.

    And if you get really desperate use live bait. Night crawlers with air injected into them with a hypodermic needle and fished off the bottom are good baits for Large Mouth Bass in the deeper drops.




    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisMatt View Post
    I was there a few weeks ago when the lake was way down and was humbled as well. No fish and only a couple of random bites. I was there between a few fronts which I knew would make it tough.

    I used to fish this lake when the Corps kept it at typical summer pool so not really sure why they keep raising it up above typical pool levels.

    I was there yesterday and while i did manage just a few bites the fish I caught were very nice. I boated a 5 lb, a 3.5 lb and another that would have kept. I also managed to catch a healthy 12" striper off a main lake point.

  7. #7
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    Sorry for the long delay, been very busy. I'm going back next Monday. Most of the details that I have read was tried in my previous 2 trips. I know 2 different people who said they burnt them up over memorial weekend. [have my doubts about both] I think I just went when it was bad conditions the other trips. I will let you know what I figure out.

  8. #8
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    Patoka has always been hard for me fishing for LM Bass.

    I caught some nice LM bass using plastic worms. Cast them out away from the boat and let them sink on a slack line down to the bottom. I probably should have let it fall on a tight line so that I could feel a bite on the way down but it worked. When I let it sit a while and started to reel it in I set the hook in a nice 3 lb LM bass. I was fishing the edge of a line of submerged timber at the mouth of one of the bays in the Patoka River Section just upriver from the bridge somewhere. It was a flat area at the mouth of the semi large creek mouth. This area up from the bridge was flooded before they could cut all the trees down. There are large areas of flooded timber up in the Patoka Lake River Section of Patoka Lake. This are has a lot more fertility and I fish it now. I started out fishing the Lick Fork area of Patoka Lake as most of my trips were one day events and it take me about 2 hours to drive up to the lake from my house. So four hours of drive time takes up most of the day. As I got older and wiser I started camping up at Patoka so that I could fish the entire weekend. Then I got older and even wiser and started fishing during the middle of the week. Patoka Lake is a entirely different experience in the middle of the week. Patoka lake is a high land type lake. It has varied structure and pretty clear water on the main lake most of the time. The water was very clear when the lake first opened back in 1978/79. I could see Northern Pike down in the top of submerged trees that were 10 ft tall and in 15 ft of water. And Northern Pike are camouflaged pretty good with their natural color pattern. But the sunlight penetrated down 10 ft. into the water and reflected back up to my eyes allowing me to see them below the surface hanging in the tree tops.

    Keep fishing and you will learn the tricks of Patoka. It's definitely not your typical flat land reservoir that everyone is so used to fishing around here. The fish in Patoka Lake have a excellent supply of gizzard shad and minnow to feed on and they have thousands upon thousands of places to hide in the submerged forests. Way up river there are stump fields off the main river channel along the flats that are adjacent to the old Patoka River Channel. The Old River Channel is pretty narrow. It's not wide like the TN river or the Ohio River. It's more like the width of the Pigeon Creek channel that runs though the city of Evansville, IN.

    There are many types of fish in Patoka. Walleye would be my favorite to fish for. Small Mouth bass. See Ray Rigsby for information on how to catch Patoka Lake's SM bass. LM bass and stripers are all over the lake.

    I use to catch the Northern Pike in the deeper sections of Lick Fork Creek area on White safety pin like Spinner Baits. Never caught many LM bass as the Northerns were aggressive and hit my baits first all the time.

    I read in an In Fisherman Critical Concepts book that Walleyes will chase the SM bass off their favorite haunts and the SM bass have to go to the deeper areas after being chased off the prime spots. Not sure if that's true but I thought I would throw that in as food for thought. I've not caught any SM bass or Walleye at Patoka. I fish mainly for Crappie and have caught some nice Channel Catfish while crappie fishing. Seems that the crappie and the catfish hang out in the same drop off areas with brush piles or stick ups on them.

    Good luck. The more you fish Patoka the better you get at it. Just like any other lake you have to put in the time to learn the fish's habits and locations. The rest is up to you. Time of day is a key factor especially in the hot summer months with the sunlight is intense and the sun is higher in the sky. Remember that Patoka has Eagles and other large birds of prey that feed on fish in shallow waters. So fish naturally are more skittish when they are in clear water and in shallow water. Check out the deeper drops in 18 to 20 ft depths. The thermocline at Patoka Lake sets up around 25' to 28'.

    And the water is up due to excessing rain and the flooding down stream from Patoka Lake. The Corps have been holding the water back in Patoka Lake to allow the water's down stream to finally dump all their water into the Ohio River, Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. That's taking longer these days due to the fact that it rains more often nowadays.

    Note: when the lake is up it's a different lake. New areas of brushy bank and grassy banks are opened up to the fish to feed in. They may be fishing during the evening hours too. I know guys that fish for crappie at night and do very well with artificial lights in the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by najerry View Post
    Sorry for the long delay, been very busy. I'm going back next Monday. Most of the details that I have read was tried in my previous 2 trips. I know 2 different people who said they burnt them up over memorial weekend. [have my doubts about both] I think I just went when it was bad conditions the other trips. I will let you know what I figure out.

  9. #9
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    I went back to Patoka Monday. I fished from 9 am until 5:30 pm and again I got spanked. I fished this lake exclusively in the mid 80's through most of the 90's and just don't remember it being this tough. One thing that I have figured out for sure is that any old spots I had are no longer worth fishing. Its become personal now and I wont give up.
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  10. #10
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    Who gases up your truck and boat?

    Do you gas up your truck/vehicle and the boat? Do you wash your hands of gasoline after your done filling up the gas tank? Do you ever wear rubber gloves to cover your hands and prevent gasoline fumes/scent from getting on your hands. If you get gasoline on your hands it will effect your fishing trip negatively. That's a known fact. And if you get it on your hands and don't wash it off it will transfer to your baits. Fish can smell a tiny amount of gasoline on your bait and get turned off and not bite them. Even live bait fishermen know this. Also the size and diameter and the type of line can effect the bite. Clear line like Fluorocarbon line disappears in clear water. Choose a fishing line that has the same refractive index as water and you bite at Patoka will increase.

    I remember as a kid fishing a local swimming lake that also allowed fishing in the non swimming areas. I would drag a plastic worm though the shallow water and sight fish for small 1 lb and 1/2 lb LM bass. They looked interested in the bait but the worms back in the 1960's had the hooks exposed. There were two sets of hooks buried in the worm and the worms were not like they are today. They didn't flex and wiggle like todays softer plastic worms. And I didn't use any scents on the worms back them. I could watch the bass approach and then get turned off and not bite or try to inhale the worms. The fish probably could see me as I could definitely see them along the edge of the water. I was just a kid in Grade School back then. I didn't think about scent and how it effected the fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by najerry View Post
    I went back to Patoka Monday. I fished from 9 am until 5:30 pm and again I got spanked. I fished this lake exclusively in the mid 80's through most of the 90's and just don't remember it being this tough. One thing that I have figured out for sure is that any old spots I had are no longer worth fishing. Its become personal now and I wont give up.

  11. #11
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    Another thing that seems to be missing from the earlier years that I fished Patoka is the grass. I haven't found near the grass that used to be in the lake. Another thing that seems to be missing, what happened to the small island that use to be in the main lake between Painters creek and the dam? May have been 2 small islands, but I know there was at least 1. One of them always had a eagles nest on it.

  12. #12
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    Global Warming and excessive rain and flooding is what

    People want to deny the facts but the facts can be seen if you look. Excessive heating of the earth causes excessive variations and extremes in the weather. It will be raining in some areas more and drier in other areas more often. Remember we are talking about higher AVERAGE GLOBAL Temperatures not just higher temperatures in your local area. As the entire earth gets a few degrees warmer the effects of global warming can be seen if you look for them and accept what you see. There will be wilder swings in the weather over the coming years as more heat is added to the earth over time.

    Now the grass is gone as it's covered up by another extra 5 ft. of stained water which smothers the grass due to the lack of sunlight penetrating down into the deeper water. Grass will die off fast when it's covered by another 5 ft. of water. And more runoff into the water from excessive rainfalls will drag more sediment into the lake. The suspended particles settle down and fill up the lake over time. Ditches that were there in the early 1970's are now filled in with sediment. The grass will come back when the lake stabilized if that ever happens again. It seems like this spring it rains every other day. The last couple of days before this Past Saturday were filled with rain all day long for several days in a row due to Storm Cindi.

    Expect more hurricane's and more rain in some areas with excessive drought in other places. Like down in the South Eat there are huge fires consuming the landscape.

    The small Islands are covered by more water and are not visible now. When the lake drops back down to winter poll 532 ft. AMSL next winter they will be visible again if we don't get more rain this year. When the rains stop and the amount of water draining down into the lakes and rivers decreases then the Island will be seen again.

    The waters I use to fish have been higher this spring. I took pictures on my smart phone this year of all the flooding in my area. It was like this back in 1997 too. I have pictures on my Canon DSLR camera that I stored on my computer. I backed my computer up onto a external hard drive and the pictures are still on the external Hard Drive. But I lost my hard drive on my computer several times over the past 5 years and had to restore the hard drive with my DVD back up disks. I'm not good at bring the back ups back onto my computer. So I have multiple directors and users now on my main computer. Luckily I have two other more portable computers. An Asus ROG Notebook with a i7 Intel CUP and a fast GPU and big cooling fans to control the heat when I ramp up the CPU and GPU voltages. And then I got a new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for my travels It's super lightweight unlike the 10 lb Asus ROG Notebook. This little table/laptop Microsoft Computer is light as a feather. I had to buy a keyboard for it and a docking unit so that I could run it like a desktop computer with my USB Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and my Asus 27" Monitor. The Microsoft Docking Device will allow me to keep the surface Pro 4 charged up and also it will allow me to use the Router's hard wires to connect to the internet. I can use Wifi but it's slower and less dependable than using a network cable direct connecting the Surface Pro to the Router.

    When I get back home I have to figure out why the new Microsoft Windows 10 updates screwed up my Microsoft Office 2013 software. I keep getting an error message on my Outlook Email Program. It was working fine until the last MS Windows 10's updates. I think that MS screws up the software so that they can sell us the new Microsoft Office 2016 or rent it to us and make more money. They sure will have to answer to me when I call them on Monday. I've got better things to do with my time that spend hours on the phone with some MS Tech Support person from some foreign county that doesn't even speak English as their first language. I get tried of trying to hear and understand their thick foreign accents when I'm trying to talk technical stuff with people. Microsoft wants $99/year for each computer just to use their Office 2016 suit of programs. I would much rather pay just $200 for the program and be able to use it on all three of my computer than to rent it from them for a month at a time for each separate computer. That's highway robbery IMHO. I think it may cost about $#300 plus for me to get the Outlook 2016 email software for all three of my computer these days.





    Quote Originally Posted by najerry View Post
    Another thing that seems to be missing from the earlier years that I fished Patoka is the grass. I haven't found near the grass that used to be in the lake. Another thing that seems to be missing, what happened to the small island that use to be in the main lake between Painters creek and the dam? May have been 2 small islands, but I know there was at least 1. One of them always had a eagles nest on it.

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