How Lake Turn Over Effects Fishing

How the Lake Turn Over Affects Fishing


I had a request from a reader to do a lake turn over article. I was glad to get the request but must admit this something I knew very little about. Like all fishermen I knew about the turn over and had a general idea.  It is when the water from the surface gets cooler than the water under it making it denser and it sinks bringing the warmer water from underneath to the surface.  I have seen fish kills happen in ponds when this happens.  I know when it occurs fishing on Barren River Lake gets tuff.  Also from now until the end of September we will all blame a bad fishing day on “the lake must be trying to turn over.”  The actual factors of barometric pressure, fishing pressure, water temperature, and wind seem to take a back seat. In my research I learned quite a few things and hope this will help.

Starting in the spring and over the course of the summer, surface waters absorb a lot of the sun’s energy and can heat extensively, causing them to become quite buoyant.  Winds and storms can cause some mixing and do add some oxygen; atmospheric oxygen is added by the air-water interaction to the oxygen produced within the water by aquatic plants.  But there is too much difference in temperature between the surface water and that at depth to allow for complete mixing of all the water in the lake.  Because of the density-temperature relationship, many lakes in temperate climates tend to stratify, that is, they separate into distinct layers.  The middle layer, known as the thermocline, acts as an effective barrier to any mixing of the deeper waters.  Toward the end of summer, the deep water becomes quite depleted of oxygen because no mixing has taken place.

As the days get shorter and cooler, and energy is transported away from/out of the lake, mixing becomes easier.  The cooler water (with a higher oxygen content) at the surface begins to sink into and through the thermocline, forcing warmer and less dense water to the surface, eventually erasing the temperature stratification built up over the summer.  At some point, the majority of the water in the lake reaches an approximately uniform temperature.  Now, storms and sustained high winds can begin to perform the task of overturning and mixing all of the water in the lake — referred to as fall turnover.  The deep water contains an abundance of decaying matter and sulfurous gases; when it reaches the surface, it produces a telltale odor that indicates the process has begun.  Eventually the turnover mixes fresh oxygen into the entire lake mass, replenishing the deep waters with the life-giving stuff and cleansing the sulfurous fumes from the water, allowing fish to return to the depths where they will spend the winter months.


How this affects fishing on Barren River Lake is a large column of water devoid of oxygen moves to the surface, causing the fish to shut down and search for more oxygenated water. In most cases it is a gradual breakdown of the thermocline, so if the lake has turned over and the fish don’t seem to be where they were back off and look a bit deeper as the water with oxygen has become more dense as it cools and sunk to the bottom.

I do think as the water heats up in the summer the fish try to find a cooler spot, they will be in or near the thermocline. That is why the fishing is a bit easier up the river where there is some current and cooler water.  We all know suspended fish on the main lake can be hard to catch. The turnover is a huge change to the fish’s habitat and opens up a new world of previously oxygen depleted water which makes the fish move.  The good news is, post turn over fall fishing patterns begin to start up and great fishing is just around the corner.

I have referenced R. Karl for some of the scientific information I used. He has a very in depth article on thermoclines, water freezing and turn over at

I have learned a great deal researching this article.  I hope this helps you all catch more fish and understand what is going on during the turn over.  One thing to watch is your depth finder.  Once you know what to look for you can determine where the thermocline is and if it is starting to dissipate.  This will help in finding fish.



Good luck and God Bless!

Barren River Lake Fishing Report 7-25-17

More sweltering heat over the weekend has made it more fun to float than to fish!  staying hydrated sun blocked and safe is very important.  While the fish only know the temperature of the water, the air temperature can be a killer.  Night fishing or early morning/late evening fishing is many times more productive and not as hot this time of year.  I want to talk to you all a bit about night fishing and my favorite tactic for doing so.
Texas rigging a big soft plastic worm.  Dragging this around on main lake points old road beds brush piles even bluffs can be very productive.  One thing to remember in my opinion is to give the fish time to eat the bait.  Some folks say if you feel it they are there but I tend to believe giving them a couple seconds to get it all in their mouth helps with hook up ratios.. We have all swung and missed and pulled a half a worm back in.  A big worm takes a little extra time. I like to try and use as light a weight as possible most of the time.  I have used a big shaky head also with a 3/4 ounce head.  A lot depends on situational things, wind current, are the fish suspending. But for starters I think a bullet weight a 5/0 wide gap hook.  I use 25 lb Power Pro braid in a low vis green color, sometimes with a floro carbon leader sometimes without. For my worm and jig fishing I like the sensitivity, dependability and no stretch of the braid.  I love setting the hook and it being a solid whack. For a rod I use a 7 foot Gloomis e6x wgr ( worm Jig Rod) and pair it with a shimano curado in a high gear ratio.  I think it is important to get it back in quickly for the nexzt cast. Also I ise this combo when I flip because I want the power to get the fish out of the cover. There are a whole barrage of colors to choose from but I tend to lean toward green pumpkin and black.  I once heard a guy say you can through any color worm you want as long as its black.  That isn’t bad advice.  I hope this will encourage some of you to get out and try. Let me know how you all do.


Bass are still scattered a bit and can be very difficult to find.  Just be patient and comb the points you will pick some up.  Drop shot has been producing as good as anything.  Also the new bigger ned rig is doing good too.  be aware of your hook sets with these remember its not a jig!



Crappie should be found at night under lights.


Hybrid are still being caught around the islands at night and early in the mornings.


Blue Gills should be on main lake bluffs.


Catfish are scattered but plentiful cut bait is best.



I have received many emails, questions and comments this summer.  I thank all of you for reading.  I thank all of you for letting me know you read. May the god of Heaven Richly Bless each of you and your families.


Good Luck!

What a hot week we have had on Barren River Lake. As temperatures near the triple digits The night fishing bite has taken the front seat. I was able to get on the water this weekend with a reader, Mr. Mark Towe. We had a great time I was very pleased to help him learn more about the sport I love. I was reminded at how much I tend to fish “memories” it is a rut we can all find ourselves in. Drive by a tree and say my Dad caught a 6 pound fish there in 1987 so we lay the boat down and drag a jig through it. Doing this can block the potential to learn, to catch fish. This is why a lot of times we hear of new folks coming and having a great day on the water while the locals are left scratching our heads. I will treat Barren River Lake, like I never fished it before next time and not fish the spots I have in the past. Looking for new areas that may produce better. I know fishing the memories is a confidence thing but lets face it folks, its confidence in the spot not our abilities that we are showing. Trusting God can be like this. It is easy to trust God in the times that things are going well. It is when we get in a “rut” and the road gets hard that we question. Why? Why did this happen or why am I in this place right now? We have to remember that God has a plan and he is moving and working in our lives all the time. We must trust that it is all for our benefit and not just fish “memories” We have to have confidence in God and ourselves and branch out in order to grow as people and Christians. I Thank God for “ruts”, I thank God for underdtanding, I thank God for these reports and the great people I have met and talked with because of them. So Thank each of you keep the questions coming as all of you are helping to improve me. Bass have been good at night on main lake points. C-Rig and crank baits have been good. Also I have done some flipping in the early mornings way up the creeks and caught some fish on jigs and big black texas rigged worms. All of these have also worked on bluffs this week. In other words the fish are scattered. Hybrids are very active right now between the islands live shad is best. Catfish have been good on jug lines again live bait has produced best. Tight Lines folks! Good Luck and God Bless!

After a lifetime of fishing, and two years of writing for other folks I have decided it is time to strike out on my own. It has been a long journey. One that I am thankful for. I hope to share my knowledge and help people catch more fish. I encourage questions, and discussion. May God Bless you.

chick 2

Kentucky Fishing

This is the post excerpt.

I have enjoyed fishing my entire life.  Growing up in Kentucky the outdoors has always been where I would go to be centered.  I always dreamed of a job in the fishing industry, but had no support and no idea how limitless the industry can be.  I began a journey of competitive bass fishing, and continue down that path.  During my walk I began to write about my experiences and was blessed to have a few platforms to share them.  My passion, my calling is to help people catch more fish,  whether you are a beginner or a veteran angler I want to help you.  I have gained some sponsors along the way who are amazing. It is in counsel with them, my family, and through prayer that I have decided to start my own blog.  I hope you all enjoy it and if you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me.  God Bless You. april 14 ky bass