Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 24, 2016

Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 24, 2016

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 466.04 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).

(updated 8-24-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 466.02 feet, which is 3.48 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and rising it has come up about 5½ feet. Unless its gets super-hot it should stay up through the fall, which would be out of the norm and anglers will have to do a little different thinking for the fall bite.

The black bass fishing is getting better by the day as new fish have come up with the water and cooler weather and water temperature. Use spinnerbaits, jigs and soft plastics. Use topwater plugs up in shallow water around the bushes. The deeper and in-between fish can be caught on C-rig, Texas rig, football head and jighead worms, etc. out to 30 feet of water.

The crappie are hanging around 10-25 feet of water, eating jigs and minnows around any wood, brush piles, pole timber, etc.

The bream will be spawning again with the next full moon, so fish real shallow out to about 27 feet of water with crawlers and crickets.

The walleye will eat crawlers and minnows and crankbaits in 12-27 feet of water.

The catfishing is going to be good all fall with a lot of fish moving shallow as well with the new stuff in the water. Use jugs, trotlines and rods and reels, with cut bait and live bait as well as prepared bait, on flats close to deep water.

The hybrid and white bass are coming to the top at different time of the day all over the lake and roaming or hanging around structure the rest of time as they are feeding pretty good. They will continue to do so with the bite getting better every day. Use topwater baits, swimbaits, spoons, in-line spinners and hair jigs for the best catching as well as live bait, but artificial seems to be out-catching again now.

Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot Link For Catfish [Tips, Tricks, Techniques]

How Minn Kota iPilot Helps Catch Catfish

Curious about Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot link for catfish and how they can help you catch more fish?

I fished for catfish for years from a 14 foot jon boat with a 25 horsepower motor. It wasn’t fancy, it was a bare bones fishing rig that would get me on the water and I caught plenty of catfish from this boat.

Over the years my catfish boats have grown in size (and features) and the number of tools on these boats has grown significantly as well. My SeaArk ProCat 240 is a beast of a catfishing boat compared to that old jon boat and it has just about every tool on it available that makes sense for me and the techniques I use for targeting catfish.

Part of the reason I use these tools is because of the changes in technology but the bigger reason is simple, they help me catch more catfish in some way. If it doesn’t help me catch more fish, make my time on the water easier or make me or my catfish guide clients safer or more comfortable it has no place on my boat.

The changes in trolling motor technology over the past ten years are mind blowing. There was a time that I rarely used a trolling motor because it was simply more hassle to use than it was worth but that’s not the case these days.

Minn Kota iPilot is one of the biggest advances in trolling motors ever and it’s been an absolute game changed to my approach catching catfish and locating and catching shad. I can’t begin to explain the impact that Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot link have had on my time on the water.

I get a tremendous amount of questions about sonar fish finders, trolling motors and other “catfish tech”. People always want to know how I’m using these tools when on the water and if they’re “worth it” when rigging a catfish boat.

The bottom line is that people want to know whether they should invest in these tools.

I’ve put this series together to cover some of the ways I use this technology from Minn Kota and iPilot link on my catfish boat to help answer some of these questions.

I’ll be periodically posting new videos and tips on how you can use these tools on your catfish boat and help you decide with Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot link are right for you.

What is Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot Link

The simplest way to describe iPilot is that it’s a remote control for your trolling motor.

The iPilot feature allows you to control the direction and speed of your trolling motor, “locks” the boat in a specific location, automatically navigates to a GPS coordinate and more.

iPilot Link is similar to the traditional iPilot but is best described as iPilot on steroids.

iPilot Link does everything that the traditional iPilot will but a network cable runs from the trolling motor to your Humminbird fish finder allowing the trolling motor to and sonar to communicate with each other via the Lakemaster mapping card and control many of the iPilot features through the Humminbird unit.

One of the best iPilot Link features for catfish anglers is the “follow the contour” function. This allows you to choose a contour line on your Lakemaster mapping card and choose a direction of travel. The trolling motor takes control and follows a contour line keeping your boat on the path of the contour line to target fish. We’ve been using this follow the contour feature extensively to target blue catfish holding on structure and have had some impressive results.

iPilot Link For Catching Catfish

Drift fishing is a productive way to catch catfish. You can always drift fish for catfish using the wind but having the ability to target specific structure and stay on target can really help catch more catfish at times.

In addition to the follow the contour you’ve got the ability to control the spot-lock feature from the Humminbird sonar unit as well as create itracks from the Humminbird as well. This combined with the touch screen on the Humminbird Onix 10 and you’ve almost got complete control of your trolling motor from your sonar screen.

You can purchase a new trolling motor that already has this installed but if you’ve got an existing trolling motor you can install both the standard and Link models on your own to upgrade many trolling motors like i’m doing today in the Terrova trolling motor.

Minn Kota made installation of this feature incredibly easy. Though opening up a trolling motor might seem intimidating it shouldn’t be as the installation process couldn’t be easier. The swap can easily be completed in less than 10 minutes and with minimal tools.

Minn Kota iPilot Link Installation

Here’s all of the details and a step by step installation video to help you through the process and show how easy the installation is of iPilot and iPilot link. You can also purchase trolling motors with these features already installed.

Minn Kota iPilot Spot-Lock

One of the iPilot tools I rely on heavily is the Spot-Lock feature.

For lack of a better explanation, here’s how Minn Kota describes Spot-Lock:

“Keeps you on a fishing spot like an electronic anchor. Just choose your spot, and if you drift more than five feet away, i-Pilot will trigger your trolling motor to take you back automatically. i-Pilot can remember up to six different spots, and the Spot-Lock Recall button can automatically take you back to any of them- from up to 1/4-mile away – at any time.”

An electronic anchor is the simplest explanation of spot link.

So what does this mean? How does it work? Why would you need it?

It’s pretty simple really.

You’ve got your trolling motor in the water, you’re fishing (or catching shad for bait) and you need to hold your boat in place so you can focus on the task at hand. You grab your iPilot remote control, hit the spot-lock button and then the magic happens. The trolling motor holds you in that location adjusting it’s direction and the motor speed to keep you there in that location.

The first question I usually get about Spot-Lock is whether it holds the boat precisely in that location.

It depends……

First I’ll say that the Spot-Lock feature is very accurate but how much you move off the precise location where you’ve engaged it depends on the conditions you’re fishing in. Even in the worst conditions, it’s more than accurate for me and does everything I need it to do. That being said, if you’re fishing in high winds or extremely heavy current then there’s going to be a larger margin of error to keeping you in that precise location because it simply has to work harder.

In calm conditions I’ve found that iPilot Spot-Lock will hold me almost dead on of where I’ve engaged it, or within a few feet. The worse the conditions are the greater the margin of error seems to be but even in the worst conditions (for the most part) it usually holds within ten feet or so of the desired location at the very worst. Even with a 10 foot variance though that’s always ore than sufficient for what I need.

They’ve also announced a new updated version of spot lock coming later this year that adds some additional features and will also make the precision and accuracy of Spot-Lock better than ever.

Why and How To Use Minn Kota Spot-Lock

OK, so we’ve got an “electronic anchor” so how do we use that for catching catfish?

Here’s a few examples of how I use Minn Kota iPilot Spot-Lock.

Catching Bait:

Catching fresh shad is a big part of catfishing. Without Spot-Lock you find shad on your sonar screen, get on top of them and start throwing your cast net to catch them. Meanwhile while you’re throwing the net you’re running the trolling motor trying to stay on top of the shad. Move too far one way or another and you catch nothing.

Then you’ve got the complication of doing all of this fighting the wind that’s blowing your boat around so you’re constantly watching to make sure you’re not getting blown into a bridge column, shoreline, boat dock or anything else.

Spot lock changes that, you engage the electronic anchor and catch bait, meanwhile there’s nothing else to worry about. You stay right there on top of the school of shad.

Using the feature to catch bait alone is worth the price of admission. Without good catfish bait you might as well not be fishing.

Catching Catfish:

There’s far to many examples to list on how this helps catching catfish but here’s a few.

Suspend Drifting:

Suspend drifting is a great way to catch catfish. I use Spot-Lock at the start of my drift to hold my precise location. I deploy my lines, get them to the right depth, get them in my rod holders and have everything ready and then engage the iTrack or Follow The Contour features to take me through the fish. The trolling motor does all of the work for me the entire time.

if at any time during the suspend drift I see something on my sonar that interests me (like fish holding on a ledge) I can engage the Spot-Lock again and “hover” on that are hands free.

Traditional and Controlled Drifting:

There’s dozens of different ways to controlled drift or troll and the Spot-Lock feature comes in handy for them all.

  • See something interesting? You can “hover” as needed and cover it more thoroughly?
  • Spy some brush, timber or other obstructions? Activate spot lock and pull your lines in to avoid a bunch of break offs.
  • One of your fishing lines hung up? Engage the Spot-Lock and you can try to get it free, break the line or pull your other lines in and go back and try to get the line free.
  • Hooked a fish? Hit the spot lock and pull it in and then resume your drift. This also provides a great tool for going back and finding more fish!
  • Hook a fish drifting towards a shore line or structure? Rather than hurrying to fight the fish and get it in you stop the boat in place and fight the fish with no worries.

Again, there’s so many possibilities it’s impossible to cover them all.

iPilot Spot Lock Overview Video

Here’s a quick video that shows the basics of iPilot Spot-Lock and how it works.

I’ll be back with some more updates on iPilot and iPilot Link features and how you can use them to catch more and bigger catfish in the future.

Be sure to check out some of our articles and videos on sonar fish finders and catfish boats as well. To get on the fast track catching catfish check out the Catfish Edge premium products here.

The post Minn Kota iPilot and iPilot Link For Catfish [Tips, Tricks, Techniques] appeared first on Catfish Edge: Cutting Edge Catfishing.

Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 17, 2016

 Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 17, 2016

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 463.48 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).

(updated 8-17-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 463.38 feet it is 0.84 feet above normal pool of 462.54 feet and has risen 3.54 feet as it has been 2.7 feet under pool before the rain. The black bass fishing has improved with a lot of fish moving back shallow and being easier to catch on topwater baits, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. The deeper fish are eating Texas-rigged worms, C-rigs and football heads drug slow on the bottom on points and channel swings and around brush piles out to 40 feet deep.

The crappie have moved a little shallower in the water column suspended in pole timber and over brush piles from 10-25 feet of water and eating jigs and minnows.

The bream are guarding fry around beds again and will eat crickets and crawlers from real shallow out to 25 feet of water.

The hybrid and white bass fishing has picked up as well, and it looks to be an early fall bite shaping up and a good schooling year up on top as a lot of threadfin shad are present now again. The schooling fish can be found from one end to the other at various places. And, of course, the structure bite happens year-round in 25-40 feet of water. Spoons, in-line spinners, small swimbaits and topwater baits are the best baits of choice for the schoolers or structure fish. Find the bait and the fish will be close.

Catfishing is going well, too, as the dissolved oxygen has improved with the rain, and the bite will continue to be good. Any of your favorite baits will work, either on jugs, trotline or rod and reel.

The walleye bite has improved but the fish are roaming around more; use crawlers or crankbaits to find them and just go back and forth as more will be bunched up together on points and small chunk rock flats close to deep water.

Threadfin shad stocking for Greers Ferry Lake

Arkansas Fish and Game

Last year, when biologists sampled Greers Ferry Lake, predatory fish such as crappie, walleye and bass were in poor condition. Biologists also noted that threadfin shad, the preferred forage for many species, were nowhere to be found.
To help re-establish the threadfin shad population, AGFC staff purchased 37,500 threadfin shad from a commercial hatchery to add to the lake. Recently, the AGFC stocked 16,000 shad at Choctaw in the upper end of the lake and 16,000 more in the Heber Recreation Area in the lake’s lower end. The remaining 5,500 shad were stocked in the lake’s nursery pond near Mill Creek. The pond was cleared of any species that would compete with the shad or feed upon them, allowing the shad to grow larger and possibly reproduce before being released into the main lake, according to AGFC fisheries biologist Matt Schroeder.

Threadfin Shad being stocked into Greers Ferry Lake by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Threadfin Shad being stocked into Greers Ferry Lake by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

AGFC’s hatcheries also purchased threadfin shad and are beginning to work toward raising the forage species for future stockings in Greers Ferry Lake and other lakes where forage production sees a drop. “We’re hoping to see a lot of improvements to our lakes’ growth rates and overall populations as our hatcheries learn how to produce more shad and fine-tune that effort,” Schroeder said.
Shad stockings are only part of the plan to help Greers Ferry Lake. All stockings of predatory fish have been halted on the lake until the forage base has improved. A massive habitat project also will be underway this fall to add tons of complex cover that will provide habitat for fish and fishing locations for anglers.

Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 10, 2016

Greers Ferry Lake Fishing Report – August 10, 2016

As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 459.83 feet msl (normal conservation pool – 461.44 msl).
(updated 8-10-2016) Tommy Cauley of Fish Finder Guide Service said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is at 459.84 feet and falling with generation and evaporation it is 2.7 feet below normal pool of 462.54 feet.

The bream fishing is picking back up with the full moon coming, and will continue to be good use crickets in 10-28 feet of water on a drop shot on flats for your best results.
The crappie are eating minnows and jigs in 18-30 feet of water around any wood.
The black bass are eating well on threadfin. Some are busting pretty good at different times all over the lake and most of the others can be caught off shore in about 40 feet of water on jigs. Texas rigged worms and C-rigs as well as drop-shot rigs are best. The shallow fish can be caught using spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and jighead worms.
The catfishing is good all over the lake as it is really an untapped resource, using a variety of homemade or live baits.
The walleye fishing is in a small lull window but should pick up with the cool rain and water temperature falling; try dragging crawlers in 24-40 feet of water on the bottom or with a drop-shot rig. The hybrids and white bass are going good at different times of the day; find the bait and the fish will be close by. Some are schooling and that is really going to pick up more real soon with the abundance of threadfin shad. And for the fish that are down, use spoons, in-line spinners and swimbaits – and, of course, live bait will work at times. Pay close attention to the wind as it will help the current.