Going fishing is a chancy thing, right? You may or may not connect with fish. Is there anything that will increase your chances of finding fish — besides a GPS (Ground Positioning System)?
There are a variety of maps available, depending on the popularity of the body of water where you want to fish.
The most common ones are available from the local bait or tackle shop. They are also available online (Google: list the name of the body of water + map) from map companies and (often) your state fishing department.
In some areas, you can get them from the local fisheries. I’ve even seen them offered by County Extension Agencies.
What Kind of Maps?
Maps offer differing information. A contour map shows the contours of the water where you want to fish. Here’s a simple contour map of Balsam Lake in New York).
This map indicates the shallow edges of the lake, where the water drops to 5 feet and where the deep hole is at 10 feet.
Most bodies of water have a number of deep holes and sand bars and the contour map will indicate them.
The Latest Lake Survey Map
This useful map has a wealth of info: game fish available, aquatic vegetation types (their locations and which fish call them home), water quality, and much more.
One of the most useful features might just be the information on the forage fish populations. If the game fish are bass, then knowing which fish they use for food will help you select likely baits and a successful strategy for fishing.
Keeping a Log
Second to the maps in value, to my mind, is keeping a log of fishing experiences. Things I include in my log:
- Type of water,
- Water temperature
- Cover type (sandy bottom, sparse vegetation, are examples)
- Structural patterns (if any)
- Water level,*
- Water depth,
- Water clarity,
- Time of day
I’m amazed how quickly I forget important facts. Without my log, I wouldn’t be able to learn nearly as much from my past experiences.
* If you find that the water level has dropped, most likely the fish have moved to deeper water. If the water level has risen, the fish are likely to have moved to shallow areas.
This is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com
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