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When it comes to lake fishing, a lot of people think it all comes down to what lure you’re using. That is important but the biggest thing you’ll want to do is be in the right spot. In this post, I’m going to be showing you how to find good fishing spots in a lake.
If you’ve done any sort of fishing before you’ll know that 80% of the fish are in 20% of the water. You could have the best lure possible but catch zero fish if you’re in the wrong spot. That’s why you should spend some time looking for the best possible spots before you go out. Come up with 3-5 locations where you think fish should be. It’ll save time and hopefully, catch more fish.
There are basically two tools I’ll use to locate good fishing spots. The first is Google Maps and the second is Navionics. I’ll be showing you how to use those tools and how you can use them to find killer fishing spots in your local lake. Let’s get started.
One of the things you’ll always want to be aware of is the season you’re fishing in. Fish don’t act the same throughout the year and they don’t stay in the same places. You could hit a goldmine one month and the next it’ll be dead. If you understand what the fish are doing you’ll have a much better chance of catching something.
If it’s springtime and the water is warming up then you need to know the fish are probably moving shallow. If you suddenly get a bunch of rain you’ll most likely find the fish hiding in cover (under flooded bushes, by fallen trees, in the weeds).
If it’s summer or winter, you probably won’t catch too many fish in the shallows. This is when they move deeper and you’ll need to adjust your strategy and what lures/bait you’re using.
Finding the right spot is only one of the many factors that come into play. You need to understand seasons and what the fish are doing. You’ll then know what type of area to look for when you’re scouting spots.
This is the very first tool I’ll use to look for new fishing spots. It’ll give you an overhead view of the area so you can see different spots that might be good and if there are any roads or trails that lead up to it. It’ll also give you a good idea of whether or not you’re allowed to fish there.
The first thing I’ll do is turn on the standard map view. It’s just the normal GPS mode that shows you streets and water. It’s a lot easier to spot bodies of water using it and then I’ll switch to satellite mode once I want to zoom in on a spot.
The first thing you’ll want to look out for is if it’s even a place you can fish. Some places are privately owned so you can’t be there and other places don’t have any access. You’ll want to look for parking lots, boat launches, or any other signs it’s open to the public. You’ll then want to look for roads or trails that can get you to the lake. If there are no roads then you can turn on the standard map view on Google Maps and it should show you any trails in the area.
The next thing you’ll want to look out for is where the fish might be sitting. A lot of the time they’ll be sitting in some sort of cover (fallen trees, rock piles, slack water) and waiting for baitfish to swim by. This is super important when you’re bank fishing and is something you’ll want to research beforehand. You’ll want to scan the area and look for shaded spots, fallen down trees, bridges, dams, pinch off/funnel points, docks, or wherever else they might be.
You can see in the picture below, there’s a lot of vegetation around the edges but the more important thing is the two sunken trees. These are spots where fish like to hang out and I was able to pull a few nice fish out of there.
The next picture is a spot where a creek flows into the lake. This is always a good spot to try out and I’ve been able to pull a bunch of fish out of that spot. They weren’t always the biggest but I’ve never been skunked.
The final spot has a point where land sticks out into the water and it also has two islands really close. The water depth will go from shallow to deep at all three spots and that’s always a good spot to fish.
The last thing I always do is look at what’s going on under the water using Navionics. This is a tool that allows you to see the changes in water depth, any lumps or deep holes, where the ledges are, and a bunch of other cool things.
Most of the fish in a lake is going to be in a small amount of water. You’ll be able to catch the odd loner but you can do a lot better if you have an idea where they’ll be. You want to look under the water to find the points, lumps, deep holes, drop off points, or wherever else fish might be.
In the picture above, you can see a point that sticks out into the water and then drops off quickly. When the lines get really close together, that’ll tell you there’s a drop off there. Fish like to be in these spots and that’s why you’d want to fish anywhere between the two arrows. At the very left of the picture, you’ll see a circle where the numbers go from 39 to 52. That’s telling you there’s a lump in the water and that could be good as well.
The next picture (above) is another good spot to catch fish. Anywhere you have a change in the line direction is normally good. The bottom arrow is a deep hole and the top arrow is a lump. When water moves north, it’ll sink into the hole, hit the lump, and that creates a pocket of calm water behind it. Fish will sit in that pocket to rest and eat whatever is pushed by.
In the final picture, you can see two circles (arrows) that show you two lumps in the water. These are mounds that stick up and that creates a ledge. The lines get close together above them and that tells you there’s a drop-off. Fish will most likely be sitting on those two ledges.
If you can combine those three strategies you’ll be able to catch a lot of fish. Understand what season you’re in and what the fish are actually doing, look on Google Maps to find spots that have a lot of potential, and then confirm that using Navionics. I don’t do all three every time and you can still catch fish if you don’t but it will increase your odds by a lot.
Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.
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