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How to Fish: Be Aware of Changes

Things change and timing is critical, especially with fishing. If you catch one fish with a certain lure, you just might be onto something. On the other hand, some variable may already be different and the next fish might require altering the lure color or location or such. Even the pros will go hours without bites in one spot, knowing that any minute the fish are going to “turn on.”

Some variables to be aware of when fishing:

Wind speed and direction. Flat lake conditions may make for great boating, but many anglers will tell you a little “chop” on the water can get the fish fired up.

Angles. Shadows from trees or docks will move throughout the day and affect where that big ‘un will be lurking. Try casting to structure such as rocks and stumps from different angles. And stay out of the field of vision of the fish by staying low.

Temperature. Early in the season, anglers look for dark rocks or stumps that will absorb sunlight and warm the surrounding water enough to affect the fishes’ mood. During the summer, the bite may turn off when it gets too warm during the middle of the day.

Current. Many lakes are actually impounded reservoirs. When these dams are periodically opened, the underwater current will get fish active again as they line up along food-bringing channels.

Movement of bait schools. Massive schools of gizzard shad, threadfin shad, blueback herring, and such are always moving and the predators follow.

Pressure. It can be helpful to let an area rest a while, and then return later. What that amount of time is varies by location and season.

For those high pressure areas, some additional conservation considerations should be made. Pick up any accidentally discarded fishing line, lures, or trash. And be careful not to disturb fish during spawning periods or stir up too much silt when wading.

Just because you already fished an area, don’t think you know it. Something has already changed about it. It is up to anglers to observe and adjust… and then give the fish what they want. And when you renew your fishing license, check out the fishing regulations. There may be some changes there too.


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.