Normal Topic Fish finding techniques (Read 1669 times)
Jim_Shaffer
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Fish finding techniques
06/13/03 at 20:27:49
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I realize for every time of year there are differant things to look for when finding fish.

What I would like to hear is how you would find fish today on a lake that you  have never fished and with out GPS or a fish finder?

Do you go streight to the pads, weed beds, (vegitation) and look for lg mouth?

Or

Do you flip docks and rip rap for smallies?

Or

Do you do something entirly differant?
  
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Jim_Shaffer
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #1 - 06/13/03 at 20:29:45
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Also,

What would you start with and why, what makes you throw the things you do?

How do you read the fish?
Or do you throw just because that is what worked last year at this time on a similair lake?
  
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #2 - 06/13/03 at 21:30:28
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My God!  I've created a monster!!    Wink8)
  
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Jim_Shaffer
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #3 - 06/13/03 at 22:09:12
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Glenn,
What no input? No opinion? No thoughts?

People want to learn and what better way then from those with more experiance.
  
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marktfd88
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #4 - 06/13/03 at 22:56:10
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Well Jim,
  I just fished a lake I had never seen before.  Meridian.  And yes I did use my depth finder.  It is a tool that all serious anglers have and for good reason.  I started looking shallow.  They usually are the easiest to catch and find.  I fish a reaction type bait to start with.  Try to locate some fish.  From there, I usually slow down and work the area thoroughly.  If I can't find shallow fish, then I start looking for "highways" the fish might use to move from deep to shallow.  I will usually fish a fast carolina rig.  Again just looking to cover alot of water until I find a fish or two and then slow down and work the area slowly.  Bassing is a great chess game.  Move, counter move, putting the pieces of a big puzzle together.  Drawing from past experiences, talking with others, reading and experimenting.  All goes into the memory banks.  Then when the conditions come together, you can quickly eliminate unproductive water.  Narrowing the scope of what to do.  Prefishing is just that for me.  I went to Banks, having never fished it before, talked with Larry S to get some ideas.  By the end of the second day, I had figured out a strong largemouth pattern.  I was able to eliminate alot of unproductive water, and concentrate on water with fish and refine a pattern.
  Potholes prefishing for me, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits to cover alot of water.  Once I found the area's that held fish. I slowed down with the senko and land 10 keepers on Saturday of the tournement, all because I eliminated alot of unproductive water.  I was able to go to spots I knew had fish and put a lure in front of them with the "right" presentation.  Sunday, at potholes, the bass changed and wanted a fast moving bait.  Again, not the lure but the presentation.
  So, the key for me, cover alot of water, eliminate unproductive water, and then slow down to catch quantity and quality.
Mark
  
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sarge
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #5 - 06/13/03 at 23:13:44
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Howdy Jim,

So many easy questions for people to answer... LOL!

Those are all excellent questions, and I don't feel totally qualified to answer, but I will let you know what I've done in the past. Caution: I've got a lot of time on my hands at the moment = long response!  Grin

In our state, there are a few general scenarios we find for bass. This list isn't exhaustive, but it should hit the main areas:

1) A natural, shallow lake with largemouth only. These type of lakes are all over Washington, especially south King and Pierce Counties. Silver Lake (Cowlitz Co.), Lawrence Lake, North Lake, Steel Lake, and Long Lake (Kitsap Co.) are all good examples. They are usually tea-stained water, the bottom is bowl-shaped, and there are lots of weeds around the shoreline edges.

2) A moderately deep natural lake with smallmouth and largemouth. Places like Spanaway Lake, Lake Stevens, and Lake Sawyer are good examples.

3) A large canyon-type reservoir dominated by smallies. Banks Lake and Lake Roosevelt. You might even include Riffe Lake on this kind of list.

4) Shallow, shrub-steppe Columbia Basin lakes like Potholes, Sprague, etc.

5) Rivers... But I don't know Jack-diddley about fishing a river for bass. I hope to start learning soon, though!

Of course there are more types of lakes, and those descriptions are general, but let's start with that.

Lake #1. These are the type of lakes I like to just put the trolling motor down and start frothing the water with casts. Any type of shoreline structure should be hit: docks, weedbeds, logs, undercut banks, etc. The only way to learn a lake is to start fishing it and not thinking too much! If you see any type of structure like a shallow point, follow it out and see what it does. That is the way you find good offshore areas.

On these types of lakes I would mainly throw things like senkos, gitzits, jigs, and maybe a crankbait if I have confidence for that time of the year to throw one.

Lake #2: Anything can work on these type of lakes, and the lure selection will vary. I think it is more important to start doing homework on these types of lakes, because there is more water available for the fish, and they could literally be anywhere. Talk to locals or folks in the club for tips, but don't get too stuck on what they say. Follow your gut if you have an idea. These lakes are usually varied enough in habitat that you can use your knowledge of the bass' seasonal habits to move around, eliminate water, and find fish... Dropoffs near spawning flats in the spring, docks and deeper points in the summer, etc.

Lake #3: Ok, for these large lakes, preparation is really important. It can be hard to hop on a 28,000 acre reservoir and start finding fish. Get a map, eliminate areas that don't look right, and maybe even choose an area you want to concentrate on for the day. Time on the water and going out with someone who knows the area are the only true ways to learn. Every lake has its own intricacies (spelling?).

Lake #4: Approach those pretty much like lake #1.

Jim, as I read back over what I wrote, I am realizing it is pretty general information and probably not all that helpful. But here is my main point... Bass fishing is full of opinions, and none of 'em are right all the time!!!  Grin The only opinion that matters is the one that helps you catch fish for the particular day you are fishing. The next person that posts here will probably disagree with a lot of things I said... but that is ok, and that is why bass fishing is so fun. You just never know what is going to work on a given day.

My advice: Gather a few lures that you have had luck with in the past. Stick with them and throw them religiously. Instead of wondering if a different color lure would be better, pay attention to where the fish are located and how they are behaving. Once you gain confidence in locating fish for a certain lake, refine your lure arsenal to fit your personal needs. Locating fish is first priority, figuring our new lures second, in my opinion.

Best fishes,
Chris
  
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RussBaker
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #6 - 06/13/03 at 23:38:06
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Jim,
Good question again.
What I do is think about the time of year, weather conditions, water clarity, etc., to draw my conclusions on what to throw first and where to fish.

If the time of year is now like going to Banks I would choose to start out with top water baits in the shallows mainly because fish are either in spawn or post spawn and they will more than likely hit a reaction type bait first thing in the morning. If it is overcast top waters work all day on Banks. I would target the fish that you are most confident in catching. For me that would be Largemouth early and then Smallies in the afternoon.

Some of us lucky guys have fished for Bass more than 35 years and tournaments for over 20 all over this country and seasonal patterns are not much different from state to state. Other than the spawn is earlier in the south than what it is here.

For the most part don't be afraid to experiment and make sure you make the time to learn how to throw and present everything in your tacklebox.

Russ
  
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #7 - 06/13/03 at 23:58:43
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Just kiddin' ya Jim!   Cheesy

If I've never fished a lake before, the first thing I hit are points.  Period.  Doesn't matter what time of year (unless they're spawning), regardless of lake type.   Work it shallow to deep using a variety of lures (spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms, jigs, finesse baits).  Once you hook up with a fish, try to note what depth the fish came from.

Even on lakes I know very well, sometimes I'll resort back to the points if I'm not catching anything.  Last year in the late fall I hit Big Lake and was flailing away at the docks with little success.  I hit a point and fished the snot out it, finally catching a 3lb'r out of 10' of water.  With that knowledge, I focused on the outside weedlines in 10'-14' and caught a bunch of fish.

During the spawn, I'll scan the shoreline for reeds.  Reeds grow on firm soil - perfect for beds.  I zero right in on them and can usually find beds or fish getting ready to spawn.  After the spawn, just pull off to the nearest drop and cover it with topwaters - Russ was right on the money with his advice.  Post-spawn is probably THE best time to throw topwaters than any other time of the year.

Hope that helps!
  
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Rob M.
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #8 - 12/30/05 at 08:23:07
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Again went back to this one....I am on vacation. Can't you tell? Plenty of time = long post. Not sure how many people would agree with me but here are my thoughts....

I think Chris' post was excellent. The fact is we have these different style of lakes and they all fish a little different. The #1 lake that he referred to is to me the hardest type of lake. You have a bowl with docks and lilly pads (or other vegetation) all around it. Sometimes there is nothing different from one side to the other. I do what he said, chuck and wind, covering water. I have not found a lot of deep water success in lakes like these. Probably due to the decaying matter and muck that setttles and lack of deep structure (at least stuff I haven't found). Lakes like Desire, Spring, Shady remind of thses tpes of lakes. One thing that will always be different though is how the sun shines on one side compared to the other. Depending on time of the year, you may want to hit the sunny side earlier than the shaded side. Spring comes to mind. In summer, I would want the side with the most shade in the morning, especially late. Or sunny side first then switch to other side that is holding shade longer.

These lakes most likely won't have defined features like points or creek channels making it harder to pinpoint fish. Look for older docks with worn wood that seem to hold fish better then new docks. Or docks with pilings opposed to floating. Most of the shallow bottom seems to be mucky on these lakes. Wood and vegetation in the shallows seem to hold fish.

#2 lakes give you the option of finding deeper structure that more likely would hold smallies. Rock and wood are great. May have coves and points on these lakes that fish can relate to. Coves in spring are were I would head and points in early and late spring into the summer. Another example is Lake Goodwin.

#3 lakes. Good to section these off and fish the visable contours and deep weed edges. Make the lake seem smaller by sectioning it off and fishing within a sector. Over time you will learn patterns that seem to work all over the lake and some that are specific to each area (this also works good on the bigger #2 style lakes like Washington and Samammish.) These lakes usually have a lot of visual contours like points and flats with rock. With out a depth finder I would start on the points and progress out until fish were contacted. Draggin baits over these features will help cover water.  

Shallow bays with structure can hold laremouth in these lakes and the same shallow water patterns from other lakes can work. Around here it seems that smallmouth dominate most of the water in these style of lakes as they are very rocky. There are still weed lines in these lakes and fishing the outer edge is great for smailles as they seem to hold nubers of baitfish like perch and bluegill.  

#4 lakes. Never been to Sprague but have been to Potholes. I look at Silver Lake very similarly...both have tons of shallow water. Being a good shallow water angler seems to payoff here. Now smallies at Potholes play more like the canyon lakes Chris named. But the largemouth have a lot of shallow cover to hold in. To me it seems that these fish are more used to staying shallow than not. Even in the hot summer months at Potholes I find shallow fish. I look for areas with the most brush or vegetation in the water. Also areas with any current, especially in the summer. Shallow cranks and spinnerbaits are hot. So is flipping the cover and topwaters. At Potholes when it seems all the cover is out of the water, any stickup still in the water can hold fish.  

Rivers seem to be like lakes with one thing...moving water. This seems to position fish differently depending on the current. It seems that rivers are fished with a bit of hipocracy. You want current, but then you find the ares where there are current breaks or eddies. Fish hold in these areas and wait for food to drift by. Fish around pilings and cuts that cause these breaks. Also underwater features like humps or ditches that offer the same thing.

These are some of the ways I would approach these types of waters for the first time or if I didn't have depthfinders or GPS. Remember that the sun is one factor that can relate to all these bodies of water. There will be shade, cooler and warmer water at different times in different areas. Depending on the season, you will need to adjust the suns affect on these areas.



  
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Sarge
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Re: Fish finding techniques
Reply #9 - 01/02/06 at 18:41:30
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Nice, Rob! These posts have a lot of good information in them!
  
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