Lake Fishing

Fishing in lakes is a good place to start because they are great places for fish to live. They produce abundant plant food and offer plenty of cover for fish to hide. Find out what to look for when lake fishing, how to fish in a lake, get lake fishing tips and more.

Lake Fishing Tips

The first thing to know about lake fishing is that there are two types of lakes: natural and man-made. While both types are freshwater fishing environments, for best results, you should still use the lake fishing tips that apply to the type of lake fishing you plan to do. Learn more about natural versus man-made lakes, how to identify the best fishing lakes, and how to fish in a lake. Species like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye , perch, bluegill  and lake trout are just some of the game fish that you will have the opportunity to catch while lake fishing.

Natural Lakes

Natural lakes include everything from vast freshwater waterways such as the Great Lakes to small mountain lakes that cover just a few acres. These lakes are the result of natural occurrences such as melted glaciers, plate tectonics, or inactive volcanoes. Many natural lakes are located near the headwaters of a river or stream and contain less sediment than those in constructed or man-made lakes. When learning lake fishing in natural lakes, here are some helpful lake fishing tips that you can use to increase your chances of success.

Natural Lake Fishing Tips

If you plan to fish on a natural lake, look for spots along the shoreline that contain patches of aquatic vegetation such as lily pads or reeds. Any areas where you notice a change in the type or thickness of vegetation are good spots to focus on. Freshwater game fish, such as largemouth bass and northern pike, are often found near vegetation in natural lakes because these areas offer higher oxygen levels and provide cover to ambush prey.

•    Wondering how to lake fish around vegetation? Try using a weedless spoon around vegetation when fishing natural lakes for northern pike. These types of spoons are widely considered to be the best lures for lake fishing to use in and around weeds or vegetation without getting snagged.

If there is little to no vegetation in a natural lake, keep your eyes open for logs or rock piles. Either of these types of structures will also provide shelter for game fish in a natural lake. Just use a heavier leader material that can hold up to abrasions when fishing around structure that has rough surfaces.

So, for the best natural lake fishing results, look first and foremost for natural lakes that offer some type of vegetation and/or structure for fish to take cover. 

Man-Made Lakes

Man-made lakes include reservoirs and pits that have been created due to damming or mining activity. When fishing man-made lakes, you should keep in mind that the water levels will often fluctuate much more than they do in a natural lake. Reservoirs, for example, are usually drawn down during the latter part of the year to prepare for spring rains and run-off. Given these differences, you may want to consider some fishing tips for man-made lakes.

Fishing Tips For Man-Made Lakes

Lake fishing in a man-made lake or reservoir means focusing your efforts around drop-offs, creek edges and ledges. Since most reservoirs are created when a dam is placed in a river or creek, the deepest area of a man-made reservoir will be the original riverbed or creek bed. One of the best tips to remember when fishing man-made lakes is that fish will seek out areas near the edges of these river or creek beds because they offer food, cover and a variety of water depths -- all within close proximity. It will help if your lake fishing gear includes an online fishing and boating map to locate the drop-offs and ledges in a man-made lake before you make your first cast.

•    When lake fishing in a man-made reservoir or pit for largemouth bass, use baits or lures that can be worked on the bottom near ledges or drop-offs. Soft-plastic worms, lizards, and jerkbaits are all good baits to try.

Casting along the shorelines of a man-made lake can still occasionally produce bites, but you will have better results if you focus on the drop-offs and ledges. Now that you know man-made lakes should be fished differently than natural lakes, you can find the underwater structure in the middle of the lake, cast out your line, and catch more fish. 

Learn about other types of freshwater fishing in our next section.