Finding the right fishing spot can make all the difference between a successful fishing trip and a complete flop. You can’t just drop your bait anywhere and hope for the best; to stand any chance of catching a fish, you have to be in the right place at the right time.
Maybe you’re a novice fisherman, and this is your first time searching for the perfect fishing spot, or maybe you’re a more experienced fisherman who needs to find a new fishing spot after a long time of using the same one.
In either case, today we’ve got some handy tips to help you find the best fishing spot.
Know What Type of Fish You’re After
Deciding in advance what type of fish you’re going after makes a big difference when it comes time to find a new fishing spot. Different types of fish have certain preferences in their environments, so you need to take this into account when you begin your search.
Factors like the water temperature, the depth of the water, the speed of the water, and whether or not the spot is exposed to direct sunlight can all affect what type of fish you’re likely to find in any given area.
For example, if you’re fishing for trout, then you should look for them in places where the water is colder since trout prefer cold water. If you’re fishing for trout in a river, then you should look for trout in areas where the current is flowing a bit faster because trout tend to avoid areas with stagnant water.
Trout also like to hang out in sheltered areas where they can rest, so look for around for objects in the water like rocks and trees. These can potentially be prime hiding spots for them.
Trout may also retreat to deeper water to hide from potential predators, so ideally, if you’re looking for trout, you want to look for a spot in the river that has a decent current, objects for the fish to hide behind, and access to deeper water.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for fish like small or largemouth bass, these fish prefer warmer water, and you’re more likely to find them in shallow, murky ponds and slow-moving rivers. Bass also tend to avoid bright sunlight, so they’re usually the most active at sunrise and sunset.
These are just a couple of examples, but this should give you an idea of the variables involved that affect where you’ll be most likely to find fish.
Ask Around Locally
It may seem pretty obvious, but one of the best ways to find out where the good fishing spots are is simply to ask people who already know.
If you don’t know where to find people who have this sort of knowledge, look and see if there are any bait and tackle shops in the area.
It’s fair to assume that the employees there will have a pretty good idea of the best fishing spots around, and even if they don’t, they will still likely be able to give you some tips on how to find whatever fish are in the area and what equipment you’ll need to catch fish successfully.
Aside from the staff, your local bait and tackle shop is a great place to connect with other seasoned anglers. Anyone who has experience fishing in your area will probably have a few tips for helping you find good fishing spots.
If there aren’t any bait and tackle shops around, there are still a few places you can look if you want some expert advice on where to find a fishing spot. You can check online and see if there are any local forums dedicated to fishing, or you can see if there are any fishing clubs or associations around that you are able to reach out to.
If all else fails, you can always just go to a fishing spot that you’re considering and seeing if there’s anyone else around successfully catching fish.
Again, though, you should try and have an idea in advance about what kind of fish you’re looking to catch, so you can get the best information about how to catch them from whoever you ask.
Do Your Own Research
If you’re looking for a fishing spot in an area where there isn’t anyone around to ask for help, then you’ll have to do some research yourself to find the best spot for your needs.
Online forums are an excellent place to connect with other anglers, but they’re also great if you want to find out general information about the best ways to find fish and helpful fishing techniques.
You should also look up information like the weather predictions for your area because, as we’ve already mentioned, things like temperature are a factor in determining what fish are going to be around at any given time.
Some fish, like bass, for example, are easier to catch if it’s overcast or rainy because these fish tend to favor shady conditions. So, if you don’t mind fishing in the rain, a storm can potentially be one of the best times to catch certain fish.
Using Google Maps is a great way to survey a large area for potential fishing spots. With the satellite view, you can easily look for rivers, lakes, and other appropriate bodies of water that might be good places to catch fish.
You can use Google Maps to get a general idea of where to look for fish, but to know for sure if a place is going to make a good fishing spot, you’ll have to actually go out there and scope it out yourself. A good rule of thumb is to look for spots that are quiet and isolated, with lots of vegetation in the water and medium lighting.
Even if you find something that looks like a good fishing spot, you might not catch anything right away.
However, this doesn’t mean you should look for a new spot immediately. Fish aren’t easy to catch, so you should consider checking out a spot more than once before you decide whether or not it’s a good fishing spot.
Look at the Vegetation and Structures in the Area
We already mentioned this briefly in a previous section, but let’s go into more detail about this topic. Fish don’t like to be caught, obviously, so you’re more likely to find them in places where they have somewhere they can easily hide.
That’s why fish often tend to congregate around vegetation and structures in the water. A “structure” can be basically anything that covers a fish from above, like a dock, a ledge on a riverbank, or a log that is partially in the water (this type of structure is referred to as a “laydown”) .
Different types of structures attract different types of fish. For example, bass really likes to hang out under docks and laydowns, while fish like muskellunge (muskie) or walleye tend to prefer ledges.
The same goes for different types of vegetation. You should be on the lookout for a few specific types of plants in the water because certain fish tend to have an affinity for certain types of plants.
Hydrilla is one such plant you should keep an eye out for. This plant is actually an invasive species, and the plant looks like a long stalk covered in small leaves that somewhat resemble pine needles. Hydrilla is also known as the “bass magnet,” and you can probably guess why.
Lily pads are another plant that is popular with fish. The leaves of lily pads provide a great cover for fish who want to hide from predators or excessive sunlight, so look for lily pads if you also want to look for fish.
Hyacinth plants are another great plant to look out for. Like lily pads, hyacinth plants float on the water and grow very densely, so they make a great cover for several types of fish, including bass.
These are just a few types of plants and structures to watch out for if you’re looking for a new fishing spot; there are many others that fish use, and it also depends on what specific type of fish you’re trying to catch.
Use a Fishfinder
If you really want to speed up the process of finding a good fishing spot, one of the best things you can invest in is a fish finder. A fish finder is a device that can be mounted on your boat and used to locate fish under and around where your boat is located.
Fishfinders can display tons of information about your underwater surroundings. The best ones can distinguish fish from other suspended objects in the water, and they can give you information about vegetation and structures located in the water as well.
Many fish finders can also give you information about the water temperature and water depth, which are both important to know as both of those things will affect what kind of fish are going to be in the area.
If you’re even halfway serious about fishing, a fishfinder is one of the essential pieces of equipment to have.
We recommend Garmin Striker 4 as your fishfinding companion. You can read our thorough review here as well.
Learning how to find a fishing spot on your own is one of the most important skills that any angler needs to have. The fish aren’t just going to come to you, so knowing how to get to where the fish are will make a ton of difference when it comes to the success of your fishing trip.
Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to appreciate the challenge of searching for a new fishing spot and the reward of finding a great one. Good luck with your search and happy fishing!