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I look for the bait balls more so than the trout it’s hard to call I have caught fish that I have marked but usually I they want bite. I think that those fish you see in the middle of the creek on the depth finder are waiting to feed.
 

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The only reason I turn my depth finder on is to check the water temps.

And to see how deep the water is and read the drop offs.

But to answer your question, I think most trout are mixed in under the bait. Occasionally you can see where a bait ball has split and the fish are in the middle of that split chasing bait. Sometimes you can see fish under the bait.
 

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Hope this thread gets more replies because I would like more info on finding winter trout. The only time IMO that a sonar would show trout is when they are 12 foot or deeper and you would drift over them completely silent. I also don't think you will normally see pods of bait on a fishfinder this time of year... I stand to be corrected tho. Trigger isn't the warmer water usually deeper? A fishfinder won't show that anyway. I will contradict myself tho and say that yesterday I was in a brackish creek(quite wide and average depth of 4-5 feet where I was and I would hit pockets of water that my fishfinder would jump from 47 to 50 degrees in like 10 or 15 feet of paddling..
 

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I also don't think you will normally see pods of bait on a fishfinder this time of year... I stand to be corrected tho. Trigger isn't the warmer water usually deeper? A ..
I can show you huge schools of bait right now in the creeks off of the Neuse.

It isn't necessarily true that the warmer water is on the bottom. What is true is that the temps on the bottom are more consistent. Surface temps might be 45 degrees at 7am and up to 54 by noon. Bottom temps will be 51 throughout that entire time.
 

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Never see Trout on sonar, I look for them sitting in suspended animation. ....... ICM

View attachment 67974 View attachment 67975

That's pretty cool there ICM. A few days a go I noticed the water was very clear at the marina. So we got out the floating light, took it down there at dusk and set it with my sons trolling motor battery. Around 8pm, there was trout EVERYWHERE inside the lights radius!

Even some really strange looking bait fish. Pretty cool to see. I could almost touch them before they would swim off.


They were all pretty small......12-16"ers guessing.
 

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The water is clear everywhere right now, we should be gigging :)

That's pretty cool there ICM. A few days a go I noticed the water was very clear at the marina. So we got out the floating light, took it down there at dusk and set it with my sons trolling motor battery. Around 8pm, there was trout EVERYWHERE inside the lights radius!

Even some really strange looking bait fish. Pretty cool to see. I could almost touch them before they would swim off.


They were all pretty small......12-16"ers guessing.
 
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Talked to a guy from goose creek sat said he has been sticking some real nice ones recently. Meet me at the ramp tomorrow nite...................bring rain coat lol

Waiting on you buddy. Some nice ones have been stuck right by your house! And not that long a go.... So when we going?
 

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Talked to a guy from goose creek sat said he has been sticking some real nice ones recently. Meet me at the ramp tomorrow nite...................bring rain coat lol

Hey man, I'll make sure to open the full bodie foul weather gear first.... Rain will not be an issue. :D Gosh, I am hoping that's what that is anyway!
 

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Hope this thread gets more replies because I would like more info on finding winter trout. The only time IMO that a sonar would show trout is when they are 12 foot or deeper and you would drift over them completely silent. I also don't think you will normally see pods of bait on a fishfinder this time of year... I stand to be corrected tho. Trigger isn't the warmer water usually deeper? A fishfinder won't show that anyway. I will contradict myself tho and say that yesterday I was in a brackish creek(quite wide and average depth of 4-5 feet where I was and I would hit pockets of water that my fishfinder would jump from 47 to 50 degrees in like 10 or 15 feet of paddling..
New River creeks are very deep. They will average 10 ft but have many, many areas that are from 20-30 ft. They are pods of bait that will amaze you. It's unreal the bait that spend the winter months in these creeks. Recently we have seen bait 7-8' thick on the bottom, any sonar can pick up bait that thick. You will have to come see for yourself to believe it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
New River creeks are very deep. They will average 10 ft but have many, many areas that are from 20-30 ft. They are pods of bait that will amaze you. It's unreal the bait that spend the winter months in these creeks. Recently we have seen bait 7-8' thick on the bottom, any sonar can pick up bait that thick. You will have to come see for yourself to believe it.
Does it look like a log sticking straight up from the bottom to the top? I thought those were logs. I kept looking over the side because I didn't want to damage the boat. It was 15' deep and the image was reddish/greenish an looked like a log or pole.
 

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Inshore fishing is a very lateral game...but vertical sonar fishing may be applied when in deep water. (over 10'.) MOST trout are caught in 1-4 feet of water. IF you mark a school of trout in that shallow of water, you have probably effectively spooked them. I know the VA boys mark alot of fish, but they have much more deep water to work with. A handful of creeks in NC will go over 25' in depth, and i could see it working in those locations when fish are suspended and COLD. Marking them on sonar is definitely a decent route when fishing for deep, post-freeze, suspended trout. Sounds very boring IMO. I'd rather dip brushpiles for crappie
 

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I use my HDS7 consistently when fishing the Elizabeth River in the winter. I fish areas from 5-6ft all the way to 25-30ft. So, I do a lot of "scanning" an moving looking for bait. I mainly use the side scan and structure scan. Youtube and wired2fish.com can show/describe the how to better than I can on this keypad. When I am fishing around home in the spring and early fall, I usually only use the chart plotter since I am consistently fishing 1-5ft of water. That's just me, everybody does something different and everybody has found tricks that help them....that are not specific to other fishermen.
 
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