Fishing lakes and ponds are ideal for beginners and novice anglers. An experienced angler already knows the benefit of these bodies of water. The calmer water offers more plant life than streams and rivers. The bottom composition is often different from streams and rivers also. These two elements provide benefits to many species allowing them to thrive.
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Lakes and ponds tend to have easier access in many areas. These bodies of water usually have flat land all around making it easier to walk in for shore fishing. Plus, the lakes will have many boat launches depending on the size. In other words, they offer a lot of fishing opportunities.
Once you find a lake or pond to fish in, you need to learn about the water. Public waterways will be listed by a government agency. These sites will have the regulations, species of fish, and other vital information. In many cases, the rules vary on the size and amount of fish you are allowed to keep. Your state regulating agency has this information. It is available for all waters under their jurisdiction.
Understanding Lakes and Ponds
Fishing a lake or pond requires finding the fish. You do not simply walk up to the water and catch fish. The fish will seek places suitable to their needs. Fish are creatures of habit. As a result, their habits help make their behavior predictable.
There are features in the water fish will be likely to seek out. Experienced anglers call the features fish use structure and cover. You need a basic understanding of these two parts of a fish’s habitat.
There is an old say among people having experience in fishing, about 80-85 % of fish are in 10-15 % of the water. On a lake and pond, much of the water does not have any fish or very few. You need to find the spots where the fish are located. The spots with fish will have structure and cover. A place lacking these two elements will not have fish.
The structure is more important to a fish. Areas under the water that are flat or have a gentle slope tend to be undesirable to fish. You need to find places. That has old streambeds, drop-offs, points, and other structural features. These places have fish congregating around them. As an analogy, these features are akin to roadways and landmarks people use to travel.
Fishing Lakes and Ponds from Shore
Chances are you have a few lakes or ponds in parks close to home. If you are lucky one or two will be larger lakes. These places are set up for recreation. They have areas designed for accessibility through trails and roadways around the water. This will make access to the water easier. In contrast, private waters often need permission. So ask before fishing on private waterways. These waters tend to lack easier access in many instances also.
Fishing a lake or pond requires finding the fish. You do not simply walk up to the water and catch fish. The fish will seek places suitable to their needs. Fish are creatures of habit. As a result, their habits help make their behavior predictable. There are features in the water fish will be likely to seek out. Experienced anglers call the features fish use structure and cover. You need a basic understanding of these two parts of a fish’s habitat.
A point is a common feature on many lakes. The spots will extend out into the water. What you see on land generally is what the structure is under the water. You can find roadways using the same method. Look at the shore to see where an old road enters and exits the water.
A drop-off tends to be an unseen feature. Look for areas with plants and see if they stop a short distance from shore. The plants do not grow in the deeper water or will be submerged early in the year. A steep bank will indicate the same type of structure as a drop-off also.
One item that helps to find the structure is a topographical map. These maps show depth with contour lines. You will see lines closer together where a drop-off is located. Lines spaced far apart indicate a flat or gentle slope. The map will indicate all structural elements. A topographical map can usually be found online for many public waterways. Use it to reference areas with the proper structure to hold fish. Locating areas with structure is the first step to finding fish.
The cover is the second feature that will draw in fish to a location. Fish use cover as a hiding place from the larger fish, feeding area, and to avoid sunlight. Some fish do not like the sunlight and will seek areas with shade. Examples of cover include weeds, fallen trees, docks, and brush piles in the water. Fish will use this cover in relatively shallow water and deeper water also.
You want to fish in or around cover for the best results. This leads to some snags with a hook or lure. You will find areas with some snags to be more productive when fishing. An area without snags is likely barren of cover and structure elements.
You need to think as a fish does in the environment. A shoreline without trees will be exposed to more sunlight. Search for an area with some trees to provide shade. Few fish like sunlight as it makes them highly visible to predators. The sun also makes water temperature fluctuate, another thing fish do not like. Fish seek stable water temperatures.
At certain times of the year, the temperature changes quickly in the shallows. Fish will go into deeper water to find stable temperatures. This is early spring and late fall in most locales.
As a result, fishing from shore in lakes or ponds. Look for structure, cover, and be aware of the temperature. These factors will help you be successful in fishing.
Techniques for Shore Fishing
There are a few techniques that perform well when shore fishing lakes and ponds. One of the best methods is using bobber or float fishing. This technique keeps the bait off the bottom. As a result, fish can find the bait easier. A worm or minnow will yield many bites using floats or bobbers. It is the best way to catch panfish from shore.
People seeking larger fish, need to get out a little farther. Using a rig with a sinker and hook does better. You can use a larger weight increasing casting distance. This method works well for catfish, carp, and an occasional bass. Choose the bait based on the species you want to catch. Nightcrawlers are an all-around bait for the mentioned species.
Lures are another option if you are looking to catch bass or other game fish. The choice of lures is extensive making your choice a little harder. Inexperienced anglers will do better with the easier-to-use lures. These are cast and retrieve lures that do not require finesse or a long time to learn. You should avoid soft plastics when starting to fish. These lures take longer to learn and a good feel.
Instead use spinnerbaits, shallow crankbaits, and top-water lures. All of these are easy to use and catch fish. You cast the lure and retrieve at varying speeds until the fish strikes. In other words, try a slower to faster retrieve until fish chase the lure. Sometimes fish like a slow retrieve and other times the faster retrieve works better. You need to try a range of retrieval speeds.
People tend to cast straight out using lures. Use the fan casting method using lures. This allows you to cover more of the water. Covering a larger portion of water places a lure in front of more fish. Repeat the casting pattern using different speeds.
Fishing Lakes and Ponds on a Boat
Having a boat is a big advantage for lake fishing. It allows access to places you cannot reach from shore. Using a kayak is an option for people with less disposable income. The use of a boat will enable you to catch more fish. A boat lets you position for the best casting angles. Often people cast towards shore and retrieve to the boat. Casting parallel to the structure holding fish is better. Your lure is in the area with fish longer leading to more strikes.
As the diagram shows. Casting parallel to structure keeps a lure in the depth of water fish are holding longer. The technique can be applied to roadbeds, drops, and weed lines. Set up with a boat to cast taking advantage of structure and cover.
Fish move around throughout the day. Shore fishing limits your movements. A boat allows you to follow the fish. Move around working all the structure and cover thoroughly. The difference between shore and boat fishing is the casting. On the shore use the fan cast pattern, on a boat use angles parallel to structure and cover.
Wherever you fish, you need to find the structure and cover.
Fishing lakes and ponds require learning the waterway. Find the structure and cover since fish will be located in or near these elements. Shore fishing uses a fan-casting technique. Fishing from a boat cast parallel to the structure or cover. The casting techniques keep a lure in the strike zone longer.