Knowing how to identify fishing hot spots can mean the difference between a day full of non-stop action and a day full of yawning. While every waterway has unique features and distinguishing characteristics, there are certain areas that will almost always hold fish. While some of these areas may be visible above the surface (pilings, piers, or trees), some are not (ledges or submerged stumps).
The use of a contour map or topographic map can be a big help when it comes to locating underwater structure in an unfamiliar body of water. The tighter the lines on the contour map, the steeper or more dramatic the difference in depth will be.
Find These Good Fishing Spots
When fishing a new area or waterway, you can start by locating these types of fishing hot spots.
1. Ledges. Ledges are the areas just above drop-offs where shallow water progresses down toward deeper water. Fish tend to hold up in spots where there are abrupt changes in the features on the bottom. Ledges that are positioned just above sharp drop-offs are often the most productive.
2. Points. When fishing freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds or saltwater inshore spots, points can also be good fishing spots. To keep it simple, points are a type of underwater structure in which there is an area of shallow water that protrudes out into a waterway surrounded by deeper water. These points provide predatory fish with ambush opportunities and easy access to shallow or deep water.
3. Pilings and Piers. Pilings and piers are two types of structures that are known for being fish attractors. You will usually find baitfish feeding upon the microorganisms that live on or near these types of fishing hot spots. Going up the food chain, the baitfish are then food sources for any predatory fish that patrol the area.
4. Weedlines. Weeds are a source of cover, food, and dissolved oxygen. During daylight hours, when aquatic plants and algae are exposed to sunlight, they produce oxygen as a product of photosynthesis. When fish are in predatory mode or are more active, they require more oxygen so they will hold up in areas where higher oxygen levels can be found.
5. Stumps and Trees. Areas of partially submerged or submerged wood are other good fishing spots to try. Stumps and trees also provide a favored source of food and cover for fish. Submerged roots and branches attract baitfish, provide shade, and serve as ideal places for predatory fish to hide when attempting to ambush prey.
Now that you have a good idea of what to look for when you get out on the water, take the time to refresh your memory on the best techniques to use when fishing these areas. You can brush up on fishing techniques using live bait for your best chance at consistent action for the whole family, or fishing techniques using lures for more of a challenge.