BlogFebruary 2021

Local Fishing Checklist for Freshwater Ponds and Lakes

Local Fishing Checklist for Freshwater Ponds and Lakes

By Debbie Hanson

Feb 22, 2021

Local fishing checklist to prepare for freshwater fishing adventures this spring, how to find local fishing spots, where to get a local fishing forecast

Since spring is right around the corner, now is the perfect time to put together a local fishing checklist. A checklist can help you get prepared for new freshwater fishing adventures close to home.

Learn Your Local Freshwater Species

If you’re just getting started, learn about the species that inhabit local ponds and lakes near you. Freshwater fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and catfish are some of the most common species, but you can check the Places to Fish and Boat Map to find out where to fish near you and get information about which species you can catch. When selecting the best tackle and gear, you’ll want to consider the fish species you plan to catch and type of local fishing spots you plan to fish.

Basic Freshwater Local Fishing Checklist

The fishing gear included in this sample checklist will provide you with a basic idea of what you’ll need to catch largemouth bass and panfish at local fishing spots, such as the bank of a pond or lake shoreline.

  • Closed-faced spincast rod and reel combo or open-faced spinning rod and reel combo (if you plan to fish with your family or friends, be sure to have enough fishing rods for each angler)
  • 6 to 8-pound test monofilament fishing line
  • Assortment of number 8 to number 4 baitholder hooks
  • 1/16 and 1/8-ounce split shot sinkers
  • Plastic or cork bobbers
  • Line clippers
  • Long nose pliers
  • Bait bucket or container
  • Rubberized landing net
  • Earthworms or red wigglers
  • Tackle box
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Basic first-aid kit (always take one along on your fishing adventures)

Once you have your tackle and gear assembled, check a local fishing report or local fishing forecast that provides current information about which species are actively biting in the waterways near you. For example, you can use the Take Me Fishing skill for Amazon Alexa as a resource for up-to-date local fishing forecasts.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.