Finding a Place to Fish: The Perfect Fishing Spot

Before you decide on how you’re going to fish you need to figure out where you’re going to fish. Every decision you make is going to be based off where you’re fishing.

You can’t fish a river the same way you’d fish a lake. So before you settle on that new lure you need to figure out where you’re going to be fishing. Once you figure out which body of water you’ll be fishing you can start narrowing down your lure choices a bit.

So how do you find a great place to fish? The following guide should help you settle on a new lake.

Pay Attention to The Little Things

Before you head out on the water try to visualize where you’re going to fish. Pay attention to the natural structure around the lake. Every little tree and branch jutting out of the water tells you something about the water.

Keep an eye out for those swirls and splashes that indicate feeding bass. Look for birds circling overhead ready to dive for schooling bait.

Pay attention and you’ll start to understand what’s happening underwater. Follow the prey(minnows and frogs) and you’re bound to find those big predators.

Finding Fish

It doesn’t matter where you’re fishing, you’ll always find fish near underwater structure and cover. Think of structure as those permanent features under the waters surface. Keep an eye out for drop-offs, points, cliff edges ETC.

Cover on the other hand is a little less permanent. It can either be manmade(piers, docks, sunken bricks) or natural cover (laydowns, sunken logs, weeds).

It doesn’t matter what season you’re fishing, find cover and you’re bound to find bass.

Where to Go Fishing Fishing

Throughout the United States there are hundreds of different species waiting for you to fish. Although no two species are exactly alike they all share similar characteristics.

Just remember that what makes fishing fun is that no two bodies of water are exactly alike. Yes you can apply what you learn in one stream to the next, but you’ll have to make slight changes.

As you move farther and farther away you’ll have to slightly change up your technique to match the hatch. What works in the west coast might not work on the east coast.

Public vs Private Water

Fishable water is either going to be open to the public or privately owned. Before you go on somebody else’s land try to figure out who owns the water.

Finding fishable water is easier than you might think. Just about any moderate sized lake/pond is fishable if you know where to find it. That being said you can’t just go on somebodies property and fish in their lake. People stock their lakes with fish and pay good money to keep them healthy.

Public water is often governed by state laws, but sometimes there’s fishing is only allowed during certain hours. If the water is actually open to the public the rules are normally posted nearby. Not finding rules normally means the water is privately owned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fish it.

Fishing Privately Owned Water

Getting permission to fish a lake/pond is normally a fairly straightforward process. You just need to ask the owners permission before fishing.

Never fish on somebodies land without permission! Not only is this rude it’s probably illegal. People pay good money to stock their ponds with fish, so they can get pretty mad.

It’s all about having a little common sense. Ask the owner for permission to fish his pond in a courteous manner and he’ll probably say yes. Just be honest with the guy about whether you plan on releasing your catch back into the lake.

Remember that just because you have permission to fish the pond doesn’t mean you can bring a couple buddies. Be respectful and remember to shut the gate behind you if it’s a farm pond.

Finding Stocked Lakes

It’s hard to tell what’s in a lake without fishing it. Sometimes giant lakes can only hold a small number of fish. The entire population could be stunted, while that little pond down the road is filled with 10 pound bass.

You can ask around, but fishing and studying the water is the only real way to tell. Private landowners normally know when they last stocked the lake and some public places post stocking charts.

Fish Close to Home

Very few guys can hit the open road and have success fishing a strange lake. You might get lucky here and there, but familiarity is what really breeds success. Using the same lures on the same lakes day after day bring in the biggest bass.

The more time you spend on a body of water the better chance you have on a slow day. You just start to get a feel for the lake and learn how to fish it. Finding a nearby stream or lake is the only way to really get better at fishing.

You don’t have to quit your day job to get to know a new lake. Fish the same body of water a couple times per month and you’ll eventually know all the best fishing spots.

Yes it’s fine to head up to Canada, hire a guide and go fishing. You’re not paying the guide for access to tackle, you’re paying him for his experience in the area. Familiarity is the only real way to master any given lake.

So find a fishing spot close to your home(closer the better) and fish it regularly. Every time you visit take mental notes of where you’re catching fish. What did it bite on? What’s the temperature? How clear is the water?

Every time you reel in a fish you’ve found one more piece of the puzzle. After a while you’ll be able to fish that lake in your sleep. Fishing the same lake over and over again is what makes you become a better angler. After you’ve got that rhythm down you can spread out to other lakes.

Tips For Finding Fish Away From Home

  • Use Google Maps: I make mental notes of all those little rivers and streams whenever I head to a new town. Once you get home go on google earth and follow those rivers back to public access points. This is normally how I find those hidden coves tucked back into the forest. You’re still going to need permission to fish, but finding fishing spots is the first step.
  • Look on Forums: Do as much recon as you can before heading out of town. Most of what you need can be found online by scouring forums for info. Just do a quick search online and you’ll probably find out about a ton of great spots.
  • Ask Around Town: Ask anybody that will listen about their favorite fishing spots. There’s no shame in asking around for advice, everybody does it. Those old timers sitting at 6am breakfast can normally point you in the right direction of a good lake. Ask the guy next to you as he’s pumping gas somebody around town can help you.
  • Find Little Baitshops: Local baitshops often offer the best fishing advice. On one day that cashier talks to more fisherman than you will in your life. Baitshop owners and customers know the water nearby. They might not tell you their favorite spot, but they’ll probably point you in the right direction
  • Talk to Guides: Local fishing guides tend to be a little cagey about what they’ll say for free. Remember they want you to pay them to take you out. If you’re going to be in the area for a while you might want to hire him for the day to get a feel for the area. He fishes those waters day in and day out so pay attention to his pointers.

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