Learning the Fine Details of a Fishing Location

On any body of water, some locations have a better ability of attracting fish. Sometimes through word of mouth, these spots become well known and very popular among anglers. You’ll know these spots when you see the shoreline crowded with anglers, or by the large fleet of boats floating side by side. Other spots are more secretive, shared by a handful of friends or by one sole lucky angler who happened to stumble upon it. Either way, knowing the best locations is only half the battle. To be fully successful at these locations, it helps to get to know them in full detail.

When I first started fishing for saugeyes, I fished one of these crowded fishing locations almost every day. As time went on, patterns began to emmerge that were completely exclusive to this location. Over fifteen years have past since I first started fishing at this location, and the same pattern stays true here to this day. I don’t fish here much anymore, but everytime I come here I apply the same tactics and they still hold true. Here is a rough description of this location. 

*For imformation on how to read lake maps, check out Utilizing Lake Maps for Saugeye Success.

The only time I ever caught fish at this location during the day in the spring was after a hard rain that made the water high and muddy. When the creek level was only slightly elevated, the following pattern held true: During the morning and evening hours, Almost every fish caught at this location came from either tight to the bank, or in the creek channel as shown in the image. Also note that almost all fish came from this side of the bridge. There was the rare occasion where fish were caught in other locations, but this event was so rare that I did not bother to make note of it.

During mid-day, I could usually pick up a fish or two in the shade underneath the bridge, and only on the side near the creek channel. *See post How light effects saugeye.

Sometimes the water would get so high that it would overflow the banks. This was prime time at this location, but the pattern also changed slightly. The creek channel still produced, but I also began to pick up fish in the middle of the creek. Also, I still caught fish under the bridge during mid-day, but on the opposite side as well. 

In the fall, the pattern changed again. The mid-day bite became non-existant. This time of year, clear water was the trend and it brought on a late-evening bite and an awesome night bite. Sometimes the water was crystal clear and low yet the fish were still here. The fish seemed to hold closer to the bridge this time of year, and consistantly stayed near the creek channel.

As for lures, what worked best here in the spring was 1/4 ounce jigs with a 2-3 inch plastic grub or swimbait. I tried 1/8th ounce and 3/8th ounce and caught significantly less fish. I tried 4 inch plastic and never succeeded. I tried crankbaits and jerkbaits in the spring and never got a strike. However, in the fall 4 3/4 inch suspending jerkbaits were the best option and crankbaits worked as well.
The fine details of these locations can only be learned from experience and time on the water. To me, thats all part of the fun! Try different things and under different conditions to find out what works and what doesn’t, always take notes, and always be willing to adapt. Knowing good locations and the habits of the species you pursue is very important, but the fine details can make all the difference.

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