Freshwater Fishing FAQ

Freshwater fishing is a fun sport that requires some skill and timing. Depending on where you fish, your tactics will be different. Brackish or colder water may call for a certain style of fishing

Any tips for freshwater fishing?

Regardless of the type of fish or water, there are some freshwater fishing tips that everyone should follow:

  • For lake and river fishing, go where the water turns from shallow to deep. Fish like to congregate and look for food in this area.
  • Shiny fishing lures can attract certain fish, but the reflection of the sun can blind them and cause confusion.
  • Use a matted metal fishing lure instead if possible, to avoid too much reflection.
  • Cast close to the shoreline for more bites.
  • Look for mossy areas, as fish prefer to swim in these areas to forage for food.
  • A lot of people use worms as bait, but locusts are also a great choice. Larger fish like bass really enjoy these insects.<.li>
  • Check the local fishing reports that day for updates on areas where they're biting.
  • Sunrise is an excellent time to fish, try to go out early in the morning.
  • Pay close attention to the movement of your line. Learn how to understand the difference between a curious fish and one that is biting so you can hook and reel it in.
  • Research the region you will be fishing in to find out what kinds of fish live there and the things they like.
  • Be patient. Patience really is the key to good fishing. Bring a book or radio if you plan to out for a long time and remember that all good things come to those who wait.

Where can I go freshwater fishing?

Lakes, ponds, rivers, streams – they're all great places to find fish. Bays and estuaries contain a mixture of fresh water and salt water, so they'll have a mix of freshwater and saltwater fish. To learn more, check out our Where to Fish page.

Is there certain basic freshwater fishing gear that I need?

The basics include a rod, reel, line, hook, and bait or lure that are matched to the type of fish you’re after. Generally, spin-casting equipment is easier for beginners than bait-casting equipment. You’ll also want a tackle box with various hooks, baits, lures and other tackle. For more information, check out our Gear page.

How do I know what kind of fishing line to use?

The right line to use depends on what kind of fish you’re after and where you’re fishing. Fishing line is referred to by “pound-test” – the strength of the line. A number of factors go into determining the right line and pound-test to use. Check out our Other Tackle page to learn more.

How can I learn to cast?

The best way to learn is to just do it. You can also practice away from the water – in a large, open area, away from people or pets. Start by checking out the basics on our Fishing Techniques page.

What’s the difference between a bobber and a float?

They’re basically the same thing. A bobber is a round floating device used to keep your bait at the depth you want and to alert you when a fish is biting. Floats are shaped differently and more sensitive than round bobbers. For more, check out our Other Tackle page.

What is a rig?

A fishing rig is the way you tie together your bait or lure, hook and other tackle to your fishing line in order to attract fish. Rigs are used for specific types of fishing. Check out our Rigs page to learn more.

What’s the difference between natural fishing bait and fishing lures?

Natural fishing bait includes attractants like minnows, cut bait, leeches, mealworms and insects – real, natural stuff that fish like to eat. If your bait isn't natural, it’s a lure, which is a manufactured replica of natural bait or material designed to look and move like things that fish like to eat. For more information, check out our Bait & Lures section or our Species Explorer for more on baits and lures for specific fish.