Larry's Fishing Hole

Locating Summer Fish

  With summer in full swing, so is that time when you want to be catching fish. To consistently catch fish during summer, you must first find the fish so you can present your bait where they are. Fish can be more scattered now which means learning all you can about the species of fish you wish to target and use this knowledge to put together a pattern.
  No matter what species of fish you are after or the type of gear you use, you will not catch fish unless you fish where there are fish. They can be in a variety of places but most of the time it will be wherever their food is. Food is the main cause for fish to be active or move around in search of baitfish and some might be holding near spots that provide cover from other predators. Object oriented bass will be in or near cover and ambush points, on the weedline and in the shallow sloppy vegetation. Many times, panfish can be found where there is heavy insect activity or hatches in the water.
  With Sonar, you can locate schools of baitfish and visual ways are to look for surface activity or fish-hunting birds to show you where there is baitfish. If you are not finding fish on or near cover, it is time to find structure such as points, drop-offs where flats break into deeper water, humps or sunken islands and always a creek channel. And of course, if there is cover nearby, that is definitely a bonus. In other bodies of water, they will be suspended around shad or any other baitfish that suspends. Once water temps reach 75 and above, many fish will migrate to ledges, deep points and offshore cover.
  Next is when planning to fish a new location, you should have a map of that lake, just as you would not head out on the road to a place you've never been without a map. These maps help you pin-point structure such as drop offs, depth contour lines, points, ledges, flats, pockets, sunken islands, coves near deep water, creek inlets and potential migration routes. Without a map or sonar, you must rely on looking at the shore line or some anglers drag a weedless jig along the bottom to find drop-offs and where there is cover.
  Linda says I should clear up the difference between Structure and Cover: Structure is any irregular change in the bottom, like drop-offs, humps or from sand to mud. Cover is brush, timber, stumps, weeds and docks and can be visible or hidden.
  We find crankbaits to be a good all-around lure for locating fish. Start shallow and work out to deeper water or from the top down till you locate fish. Even where there is vegetation, use weedless baits to also fish these areas from on top down into. This helps us get dialed into a depth and location pattern. On overcast days with some wind, we like to use spinnerbaits, but whatever you use, have confidence, patience and enjoy. Remember on large lakes to break them down into sections you can fish in one day.
  The sun can be a determining factor for locating fish as they like spots that provide shade where there is food and comfortable conditions. Also paying attention to wind direction that can be extremely helpful and maybe even observe where or how other anglers are fishing.
  We mention sonar units that many refer to as fish locators. We have used a wide range of these units and want you to know that it is not necessary to spend $1000 on a unit when you can get a good unit for less.
  Fishing can be an escape, a way to relax or just getting out to enjoy the outdoors. For kids, the lessons learned in the outdoors can carry into Life and help them develop a positive attitude for the natural World. So, learn all you can about the body of waters you plan to fish. Check lake maps for types of structure, types of cover, and types of forage then use your sonar to find these features and you will be locating fish.
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