From the bottom or higher
Bream is a bottom fish. Not only fishermen think so, but also scientists. However, I dare to point out that this definition requires some adjustment. Not to mention the summer period, when bream often walk at the very surface of the water or feed in reeds, without sinking to the bottom, bream and under the ice do not always occupy the bottom layers of water. Why? For the first time I asked myself this question many years ago, when on the Uchinskoye reservoir, along the perimeter of a vast pit, we caught a scavenger in the middle layers of water. It was in early April, and the bream flock actively walked in circles around this pit. Apparently, this was due to the fact that melt water was already flowing into the old holes.
Bream can occupy different water horizons even if the atmospheric pressure is unstable. In all likelihood, there are other reasons to consider this fish conditionally bottom. Large bream is an enviable trophy. Under favorable conditions, it reaches a weight of 5-6 kg, and in some reservoirs, lost in the wilderness and off-road, specimens up to 10 kg have been caught. Catching such a giant is not easy. But fishing with 1-2 kg of bream can give an angler many pleasant minutes. In the overwhelming majority of cases, one has to be content with creepers (it is conventionally believed that this is fish up to 1 kg in weight). From the bottom, bream feeds in a peculiar way. On one of the Lithuanian lakes, I once had the opportunity to observe how a rather large bream was feeding at about a meter depth. Pulling his mouth out into the tube, he threw a rather strong stream of water into the silted bottom. The silt was washed out, after which the gold-sided picked up the larvae. Most likely it was a bloodworm.
About “wintering” pits
The statement that the bream lays down on the bottom of the pit, lays down there for the winter, is first encountered by L.P. Sabaneev. It is erroneous, but it is more correct to perceive it as outdated or even outdated by our standards. Reading Sabaneev more carefully, it is not difficult to find another of his statements that “bream hibernates either in pits, or – even more often – at a moderate depth, where the muddy bottom is ledge. However, in some places it is very good to catch a small breeder in winter (for bloodworms). One thing is true here, that bream do not hibernate, like a carp, catfish, and do not burrow into silt like tench or crucian carp. That is, they do not lie anywhere and lead an active lifestyle throughout the entire ice season. That’s all. The pits have nothing to do with it. The concept “lies”, as we found out, not only figurative, but also morally obsolete, which literally nobody perceived in Sabaneev’s time. And the fact that in winter, according to the classic, the small breeder is caught for the most part is not an argument for us (the main thing is that it is caught). And it should also be taken into account that fishing from the ice in the time of Sabaneev with amateur tackle was generally considered the lot of lonely eccentrics who did not often come across bream.
Bream, as you know, lives not only in flowing water bodies, but also in closed ones. The former include rivers, canals, reservoirs and some lakes (for example, the system of the upper Volga lakes); to the second, deep-water quarries and stagnant lakes. The behavior of bream flocks in winter depends primarily on the nature of the reservoir. It has long been noted that if the oxygen regime is favorable, then bream and undergrowth remain biologically active practically throughout the entire ice season, with the exception of one to one and a half weeks after the formation of ice, when they need to adapt to new habitat conditions. After which they begin to actively move around the reservoir in search of food. But if in rivers, where the oxygen regime is always more favorable, the bream changes its camp sites as the food supply becomes scarce, then in closed water bodies the situation is somewhat different – here, by the middle of winter, bream, and other carp fish, begin to experience oxygen starvation. Fish lose their appetite, become rather lethargic and try to stay exclusively in places where there is more oxygen in the water. In a word, bream in the wilderness can be found anywhere, but not in pits, where the process of decomposition of organic matter, and consequently, the deterioration of the oxygen regime occurs much more intensively.
During this period, bream and podleschik can hang in the water column, settle on “tables” with an insignificant depth, go out into the confluence of streams and rivulets. As for reservoirs and vast flowing lakes, the situation here, as I have noticed, is as follows. With the establishment of strong ice, bream flocks concentrate mainly at depths of five to ten meters. The depth of the location depends on the water level. It happens that in some years it drops significantly, say, due to a hot summer or a large water intake, in other years, on the contrary, it rises. With this in mind, it is necessary to look for sites of bream. Usually these are underwater edges, edges of old flooded channels, ravines, seamounts, deep bays. If in summer time bream can often be found in areas with a muddy bottom, then in winter, especially in the wilderness, it prefers clay-sandy soil and often appears where there is a weak current.
source: Catching from the ice. All the secrets of winter fishing