How to finding good fishing spots?

How to finding good fishing spots?

fishing dad and son

My favorite way to fish is to paddle a canoe or wade along a free-running stream, casting a craw-fish lure for smallmouth, spotted bass and other small sunfish. This type of fishing is simple. It’s very relaxing. The setting is usually beautiful, and stream fish typically bite with little hesitation. All these things combine for a wonderful outing.

Still, for reasons I don’t understand, most anglers overlook streams and the light tackle methods I enjoy. Many are more attuned to big waters, fast boats and run-and-gun tactics. The main reason streams offer good fishing is because they don’t get much fishing pressure.

Really extraordinary fishing spots are a rare find, but it’s not difficult for beginning anglers to locate first-rate places where they can expect reasonable success, or better. The U. S. and Canada teem with good fishing holes, and many of them are open to the public. Besides streams, you can find fish in natural lakes, man-made reservoirs, swamps, rivers, farm ponds, beaver ponds, oxbow lakes, drainage canals, tailraces below dams, mining pits, city lakes, pay lakes, coastal marshes and other spots. Some of these places already get plenty of fishing pressure but others await someone to discover them.

As you learn more about fishing, you should also start looking for places where you can go fishing. Make a list of possibilities, and research them thoroughly to learn which ones are best. Doing this is a matter of knowing where to look, whom to ask and what information to collect. I guarantee, there is a broad range of fishing waters dose to where you live, wherever you live!

Following is a step-by-step guide for finding good fishing holes anywhere in North America.

Beginning the Search

Locating good fishing spots is like being a detective and unraveling a mystery. Collect as much information as possible from many different sources, then compare notes to see which spots seem to be best. How good are they? How accessible are they? How much fishing pressure do they get?

Many government agencies can provide information about public fishing spots. These include state fish and wildlife agencies, tourism bureaus, city recreation departments, utility companies, public resource agencies and military reservations. Virtually all these agencies have web sites that list public fishing opportunities.

To start your search, log onto the web site This site provides a state-by-state listing of all federal lands where public recreation is available. (Examples include federal reservoirs, national forests, national parks, national wildlife refuges, etc.) It also provides links to state agency web sites that will have their own wealth of information about fishing opportunities.

Another way to find fishing spots on-line is to go to a search engine ( and type in “Fishing in ”, filling your state in the blank. You’ll come up with thousands of leads.

Those who don’t have Internet access can use the telephone and mail to obtain information. Call your state fish and wildlife agency. Check in your public library for a list of government agencies, then call them and ask for the public information or recreation branch.

When you’re browsing web sites or talking to an information contact, try to obtain the following:

• A list of public fishing spots near your home, and brochures, maps and other details about these potential locations.

• The name, phone number and e-mail address of the biologist who manages these fisheries.

• The names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of fish/wildlife officers who patrol the spots on the list.

• Any brochures listing fishing seasons, license requirements, creel limits and other pertinent regulations.

Sometimes biologists can provide detailed information about specific fisheries, or a biologist might know of another overlooked opportunity you can try. Don’t be hesitant about calling a biologist who works for a public agency. Biologists are usually eager to help people enjoy the benefits of their fisheries’ management efforts. The same is true for wildlife officers. These men and women spend much of their lives in the field, and they will probably know how good the fishing is in a lake/stream/pond in which you’re interested.

Bait and Tackle Shops, Other Info Sources

Local bait and tackle shops can be an excellent source of information for finding good fishing. Bait shop operators talk to fishermen everyday, and make it their business to keep up with what is biting, and where. Also, it’s in their best interest to provide you with information to help you catch fish. By doing so, they are creating another customer. This is why you can usually trust the advice you get in a bait/tackle store. Another helpful source is the outdoor writer at your local newspaper. Tell him you’re a beginner looking for a good place to go fishing. In essence, contact anybody you can think of who has any connection to fishing. Don’t overlook books, maps or pamphlets containing information about fishing in your area. Books and phamphlets are often available that contain a wealth of information. Look for such printed material in libraries, bookstores and bait shops.

Fishing on Private Lands

While most of the advice above applies to public fishing waters, many excellent spots exist on private land. These include stock ponds, watershed lakes, irrigation ditches and reservoirs. Permission to fish private waters may not be easy to obtain, but there’s no harm in asking. Of course, such permission comes with the responsibility to show respect for the landowner and his property. Don’t forget, you’re his guest. Never litter his property. If a gate is closed, don’t leave it open, if open, don’t close it. Don’t climb over wire fences and ride them down. Don’t drive off established roads or damage crops. Always offer to share what you catch. If you act responsibly and don’t abuse your privilege, you will probably be welcomed to fish there again.

Pay Lakes and Fishing Piers

One special opportunity for beginning anglers is pay lakes and fishing piers. These are commercial fishing establishments that are run for profit. At some places you pay a flat rate per hour of fishing. At others, you pay by the pound for fish you catch.

Rating Your Fishing Spots

After compiling a list of possible fishing spots, it’s time to rate them. There are several criteria for doing so. How far away are they, and how difficult to reach? How much fishing pressure do they receive? If you don’t have a boat, can you fish from the bank, bridge or pier? Is wade-fishing a possibility? If you have a boat, is a ramp or launch site available?

Next comes the fun part—test-fishing your top prospects to see how good they really are. I recommend test-fishing a new spot at least three times before writing it off. The first time, the fish might not be biting. But when you return, they might be actively feeding. If a particular lake, stream or pond is recommended by biologists, wildlife officers or other reputable sources, don’t give up on it too soon.

Over the seasons, as you explore more and more, you will add to your list of fishing places, and you can upgrade continually. When you discover a good new spot, you can discard a marginal one. In a few seasons, you will have a repertoire of favorites where you can go and fish with confidence of catching something.

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