Angling is one of the many popular recreational activities, which helps us relax and teaches us the importance of self-reliance and patience. A fishing kit, some extra lures and baits, and good knowledge of angling are your weapons when going for fishing. However, knowing where to fish is equally important, or probably, more important than anything else.
If you think you are going to just walk up to a seasoned angler and ask him to share information about his favourite fishing spots, you would be very naive. Anglers guard their spots with their life! No kidding! They would take that information to their grave, than share it with anyone esp. an aspiring rookie anglers.
Being a new angler, you will have to try out different areas, until you find your favourite fishing spots. Sometimes it can take months if not years and that is when you will realise, why is this information guarded so zealously.
In any water body, fish may be hiding amidst aquatic plants, or under a log, or may be swimming deeper than you thought they would. Moreover, you may not be able to find them in the same spot every day. So how do you find out where to fish or identify spots that abound in vast varieties of fish? Let’s find out.
Where to Fish? Start with Identifying the Area
The first step in planning out your perfect fishing spot is to locate the area in which you want to fish in. This could be a recommended and popular water body, a secluded and secret fishing hole, or even an area you discovered on your own. Continue to learn how to narrow down your search of where to fish.
Using Google Earth
We would like to emphasize that the more effort you put into finding a good fishing area, the better the spots you will come across. If you are looking for an untapped fishing haven, and unless there is one nearby, you are going to have to look for it yourself.
Google Earth is a brilliant way to find locations that might be potential prime fishing spots. Especially if you are looking for the lesser known banks, or even private lakes that have angling prospects. Scan the landscape, and you should find banks and water bodies. Click on them and if they have a link then bookmark them. The ones that are more or less unknown or private may require you to check them out in person.
After you have targeted a few areas, learn the common signs to look for, to ensure that your spot will have fish in it. Read the next section, Common Places to Look for narrowing down the search.
The local residents of the area you target, either via Google maps or otherwise, may know more about well known fishing spots than you do even after research. Depending on who you ask, they may even know fishing water bodies that are less visited or relatively unknown.
If you happen to come across a good location that is on private property, remember to always ask for permission before scouting for a good spot or setting the hook. Contact the property owner, or ask the residents whether you could fish otherwise its trespassing. Be courteous and do not litter, they are doing you a favor in the end.
Where to Fish- Common Places To Look
The second step in how to find a good fishing spot is to know some of the common places to look for before you cast away. Here are the typical tell tale signs of a good fishing spot that you need to watch out for.
The shoreline is a good place to look for fish. This is because many fish come in search of food on the shoreline during late afternoons and early evenings. You’ll require a surface lure to fish on the shoreline as it could be very shallow and weedy. All you have to do is shoot parallel to the shoreline and wait till you feel any movement. You may also want to fish in stagnant water bodies like ponds and lakes, because some species of fish prefer to stay where the water is stagnant. Points or pointed turns (where land enters the water) are excellent spots in a pond or lake to look for fish.
‘Looking for Cover’ is An Art
Some fish are easy to find while others are not. But more importantly, looking in the right places is the key. This is where the importance of cover comes into picture. A cover may be anything that can enable a fish to hide from its predators. Common covers include aquatic plants, man-made docks or logs which had sunk under water years ago. These covers are often good places for fish to hide from their predators or to find their prey. Looking for cover is applicable to all water bodies whether it’s a pond, or a lake or a river. So, if you can keep looking in spots that have a lot of cover, you may be able find fish that were hiding there to avoid being eaten by predators.
Just like the cover, knowing the various underwater structures is another crucial part of finding out where to fish. Whether you’re fishing on a river, lake, or pond, it is important to know about all kinds of structures that may be present there. Structure refers to the bottom surface of any water body, or a ledge or hump inside the water body, preferred by some species of fish.
Fish use these structures to move from one point to another. Much like the covers, underwater structures help small fish avoid being eaten by the bigger ones. On the other hand, it helps the big fish to find food. In both ways, knowing where a structure is can help you find more fish.
Let’s consider this instance. You went out fishing, you’ve set the hook right, your timing is great, and you know ample things about baits. However, you haven’t managed to catch a single fish. Now why do you think that happened? The answer is simple; you didn’t cast your line deep enough! A lot of fish prefer to swim much deeper below the water surface than other fish. Especially during spring and fall, you may not be able to find fish on the surface. So, it would be wise to use a crankbait and cast deep enough. This will ensure you some good catches when others are still looking for a good fishing spot.
Hot or Cold
Fish are cold-blooded creatures and hence their surroundings matter a lot more to them, especially the temperatures. This is one reason why you may find lesser fish in the morning and more in the afternoon. Unlike sand, water takes time to warm up and the warmer the water, the more fish that you can find. Hence, it is advisable to start fishing in the noon.
Also, depending on the species of fish that you’re looking for, dawn and dusk are considered as good times for angling. Generally, high tides ensure more fish because many fish species like the high waters (with exceptions).
Know the Food Source/Bait
Another point to note is the common food source of fish. Frogs, crayfish, bait fish (shad), insects, smaller fish, etc. are some of the common foods of fish. It is only logical that fish can be found close to their food sources. So, if you find any of these baits around you, you’re sure to get at least one fish on your casted bait.
Oxygen and Salt Content
You might be aware of the fact that different fish species prefer different kinds of waters. This can depend on various factors such as water depth, temperature, structures and covers, current, dissolved oxygen, and salinity. While some fish like Tuna live in salty waters, Brook trout prefers much lesser salty water, and some others like the Striped bass and Barramundi can survive in both salt and freshwater.
Fish also require some amount of oxygen in their habitat. Moving water hitting the rocks as well as plants underwater provide this required oxygen to fish. While trout need more oxygen, carp can survive with much less oxygen.
When you go fishing and have a successful catch, keep track of important features like the depth, time of day, temperature, technique/bait color, and cover/structure. Having a record of such details can come in handy the next time you take up the activity. You can use this information to catch different species at different spots. In bass fishing, this process is called as ‘ Patterning ’, which means, you’re actually finding a pattern to follow in order to be clear about where to fish.
Identifying Fishing Spots on Different Water Bodies
Now, that you have a general idea about where to fish, you can also decide on good fishing spots depending on the water bodies. Learn about the ways to use ponds, streams, lakes and rivers for fishing.
Streams and Rivers – This is where the underwater structures and covers come into play the most. You must look for bent edges, undercuts around the banks, current edges, and sunken trees. These are the places where fish either look for food or hide from predators and hence, you’ll have more chances of catching fish in these areas. However, some fish, especially the bigger ones may be deeper below the surface and for them you may have to cast a bit deeper.
Ponds and Lakes – As mentioned above, fishing parallel to the shore is a good idea if you are fishing in the late hours of the day. But there’s more than just the shoreline while fishing on a lake or a pond. Like most water bodies, factors like covers, underwater structures, as well as temperature and depth also play an important role.
Tips for Finding the Best Fishing Spots
- Finding Google map fishing spots is a good way to reach those small water bodies near you. It will locate and retrieve good fishing spots near you that you never knew existed.
- Once you’ve zeroed in on your target water body, look for the feeder creeks . A feeder creek is a small creek that empties into the main creek or river. These creeks are a great storehouse of bait fish, which attract the bigger predators fish. Additionally, due to the continuous water flow, the creeks form a contour/ditch where a large number of fish like bass gather under sunny conditions.
- Look for dark-colored water bodies because the color change indicates the depth of water. Deeper the water, higher the chances of finding good catches.
- Talk to people, your friends or even that bait shop owner for information on where to fish. Listen to the local guy rather than those optimistic anglers who may not have the right information.
- Explore the area near you. Spend a day at the local ponds, lakes, and rivers for fishing. This way you’ll either find a good fishing location and a few good catches or know that you’ve got to move on to the next spot. Even private ponds can be great spots for fishing, get permission first though!
- When you’re at a lake or pond, one of the best strategies is to notice the things around you . Look for much cover, points, creeks, depth, diving gulls, etc. This will help you determine if the area is a prime fish-holding spot and will serve as a good fishing spot in the future.
Try not to complicate the whole angling process. Incorporate these simple techniques in your fishing routine and you’ll be as good as an expert angler and find fishing spots in no time! Always remember, that it’s the fishing location that matters most rather than the equipment you carry or skills you have. So first shortlist the best fishing spots, then gear up for the fight.
Did this article help you find out where to fish next? Please let us know in the comments down below. Do share your angling experience with us and share the joy!
If you are looking for an inspiration to start fishing then you can try out any of the books which are mentioned in the 7 Best Fishing Books and Novels of All Times . In addition to that, if you’re interested in saltwater fishing and want to know all about it, then check out the Saltwater Fishing 101 – Spinning, Bait Fishing, Surf Fishing, Popping, Jigging, Trolling.