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Lake of the Week, Nov. 13th: Palestine Lake

Discussion in 'Indiana Fishing Reports' started by SC Mike, Nov 13, 2006.

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    Palestine Lake, Kosciusko County

    Nearest town: Warsaw
    Surface area: 290 acres

    Maximum depth: 31 feet
    Average depth: 4 feet
    Secchi disc: 3.3 feet (2003)

    Shoreline demographics: 30% developed; 70% forested
    Shoreline fishing: Limited
    Accessibility: State-owned public access with ramp on northwest shore, near the dam (handicapped-accessible facilities)
    Motors: Inboard / outboard motors allowed
    Accommodations: Camping

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    FISHING INFORMATION: Palestine Lake is a fairly shallow lake with a maximum depth of 30 feet and an average depth around four feet. In 1978, the lake suffered a winter kill that allowed non-gamefish such as crap and gizzard shad to become dominant species. Once these species took hold, the gamefish populations were unable to recover in significant numbers. Rotenone was applied to remove all fish in 1988, and the lake was then restocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. Northern pike were stocked later, followed by muskie. Now the fish populations are stable and fishing is considered good. Of course, there are still a few issues of concern such as the algae bloom that takes place here, but that is a small nuisance when you can hook into quality gamefish.

    In the most recent DNR survey, bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie dominated the fishery. Unfortunately, no muskie or northern pike were captured during the survey. The DNR plans on continuing the stocking of muskie to maintain a productive fishery for them.

    Bass anglers will have fun on this lake. Locals report plenty of 1- to 3-pounders available with some nice 5-pound plus bass. One of the best times to fish is in spring, prior to heavy weed growth. Cast spinnerbaits or shallow-diving crankbaits along weed edges to draw strikes. A Texas-rigged tube or lizard can also produce.

    During summer months, you can fish for bass deep or shallow. There are two deep holes that are the remains of two flooded lake beds, both fairly clear of weeds in summer. Try them with Carolina-rigged soft plastics or jigs. Dissolved oxygen levels can get low on this lake and if they do, the fishing won’t be productive in deep water. The shallow pattern to try is fishing over the top of the slop. This kind of fishing is heart attack city, so get your ticker checked before you head out. Use a flipping stick and spool your reel with heavy braided line. Two styles of baits are best in this situation. Try either a plastic frog or rat or a pegged Texas-rigged bait. In particular, a 3- to 4-inch tube or a Sweet Beaver. For the frog or rat, use a light color like chartreuse or white. The reason for this is so you can see the lure coming across the green weeds. Strikes will be vicious,

    but you’ll only hook up with about half of them. Use a heavy 3?4- to 1-ounce sinker for your Texas rig. The heavy compact bait will more efficiently punch through thick weeds than a lighter weight. Pick darker colors like black, junebug or green pumpkin.

    Crappie anglers have good luck fishing along deeper weed edges with small minnows or Road Runners. Stick to the obvious locations like points, or the narrows connecting the West and East basins, the dam or any of the inlets. Of course, fishing tends to be more productive early and late in the season when weed growth is not as thick.

    Bluegill are the most abundant fish species on this lake. They are also fairly easy to catch. Bring along a slip bobber and small hooks and all you need to add is a redworm, waxworm or cricket. There are some nice quality fish here in the 9- to 10-inch range. Early spring is best for finding big bluegill. Try any of the pockets or areas near the inlets.

    Palestine also experiences problems with low dissolved oxygen levels. The DNR, along with the lake association, will continue to work to improve the conditions at Palestine.

    Sportsman's Connection is a leading publisher of lake maps and fishing information, covering 12 states and over 4,700 lakes with more on the way. Two newly revised Indiana books, lake map downloads, lake map software are available at www.scmaps.com.