We all struggle to find fish of most any species at one time or the other and in truth it’s probably a struggle more times than not. The biggest problem is that we tend to want to return to those “hot spots” where we caught fish at some point in the past rather than thinking about where the fish should be under current conditions and at this time of year. A little “uncommon sense” will help with this problem in most cases.
Fish, as with almost all of the animals world, have just a few necessities. Food, water, and sanctuary are among the very basic of these necessities. Obviously fish have to have water but good water quality isn’t always available in all areas. Fish will tend to congregate in those areas where the water temperature and quality is ideal. In the spring most all life-forms begin to reproduce as the water temperatures rise. The aquatic plants begin to evolve along with plankton which is basic in the food chain for the fish.
As the metabolism of the fish increases with the rise in water temperature the need for food increases rapidly for most all species. The tiny “critters” are eating the very small food sources and progressively the larger ones are feeding upon the smaller species. We’ve all seen the old pictures of several fish in line, one behind the other, waiting to either eat or be eaten. This is actually pretty close to reality.
First of all find fishable water determined by the clarity and temperatures. Next look for food sources. Many times these will be evident in the activity of birds that feed on the very small fish. In other cases you may see minnows “flicking” on the surface as they are being chased by larger fish. If possible use your sonar type “fish locator” to look for proper structure and deeper fish.
One of the very best places to start looking for good fishing locations on a lake you’re not familiar with is what I call “fatal funnels”. Current of any kind almost always congregates food sources and in turn brings larger fish there to feed. The tendency for the very small fish to congregate in the spots is surely “fatal” for them. In rivers these spots include where islands cause the current to bring the food into these funnels. Wing dams on the rivers provide ideal conditions for the accumulation of both baitfish and the larger species.
On man-made lakes the bridges on the causeways provide great “funnel” spots. The water is almost always flowing a bit thru these places. Spillways and incoming creeks are also good spots. The fish will congregate at these spots and simply wait for food to come to them rather than having to search large areas for lunch. Ponds seldom have good funnel areas but usually have better structure or objects such as logs, fallen trees, or riprap that provides the same necessities for the food sources and the larger fish. Even the pilings and posts on docks and other structures provide sanctuary and ambush spots for fish of all sizes. Just a few days ago I caught a five-pound bass from a small post at the end of a stationary dock. The wind actions was creating an “eddy” or funnel at that spot. Remember to concentrate on the necessities of food, water, and sanctuary and then search the funnel areas to increase fishing productivity.
For most of us the ability to catch the most fish in the least or allocated amount of time is paramount. This is true whether you’re tournament fishing or simply fishing till momma told you supper was going to be ready. The old adage that ninety percent of the fish live in ten percent of the water certainly applies within this philosophy. I wish you good fishing!
It’s Faith, Family, and Fishin.
– Dave Shadow