"Where did the Fish Go?"
These past few months we have been talking about fishing with many anglers who visit our website and some who are new to fishing. We heard stories of catching fish this spring on a spot one day with no bites the next week or catching fish and then they just seem to disappear, “Where did the Fish Go?” This reinforces the need for a couple things, 1- to be a versatile angler and adjusting to changing conditions and 2- to refine our presentation.
1st let’s talk about adjusting to conditions that we all know are always changing, causing the fish to move and as anglers we too must move. Fish move in response to abrupt weather changes, added light penetration and there are times when fish just roam to find food. All fish have seasonal patterns that cause them to move, so do not expect to find fish in the same spot throughout the year. A predictable movement was during spawning season last month, when most fish moved into shallower areas once the water temps were right.
When the fish get hard to find it may be time to refine our presentation by putting the right bait or lure on target in the right spot. This may be making your bait or lure appear more realistic and natural looking or just a slower retrieve. A weather frontal passage can have fish holding tight to cover and will not chase baits which calls for more accurate cast to a spot. Very few anglers who pay attention to their presentation, they fish way too fast and as a result miss out on a lot of strikes. This is when being aware of the strike or bite zone and putting the bait where the fish are and live will get you fish. As fishing pressure has increased over the past years, so has the need for the right presentation.
In order to find fish, you need to understand a little about the fish you target as to where they like to hang out and their seasonal habits. Many fish are often found in and around underwater structures or cover such as fallen trees, brushpiles, rocks, bridge pilings, boat docks, dense weeds, along ledges, breaks, steep drop-offs, in coves, on sandy areas, humps and points. A lake topo map can be an invaluable tool to locate potential fish-holding structure/cover hotspots ahead of time. This is where Linda says I should clear up the difference between Structure and Cover: Structure is any irregular change in the bottom, like drop-offs, humps or from sand to mud. Cover is brush, timber, stumps, weeds and docks and can be visible or hidden.
We find that Walleye are a fish you located in one spot today but gone tomorrow. Since they seem to always have their bags packed, they have taught us that we simply must keep moving to keep up with active fish. Predator fish like Bass will conceal themselves around weeds and other objects of cover waiting for prey to get close. Most important is to know the strike zone can be fairly big most of the time, but as conditions get tougher such as cold fronts, bright sunlight or muddy water, the smaller that strike zone gets.
Several years ago before we had depth finders or fish locators, we just simply fished and hoped for the best but we did move around till we found active fish. You can now locate those spots which fish move along (travel routes) such as breaks, transitions, edges and even brush piles. But do not make the mistake of finding a brush pile and sitting there too long, try to limit yourself to fishing a spot for 15 minutes or so and if nothing bites, move to another spot that looks good until you locate the fish.
Each lake has its own characteristics and fish are driven by water temperature, time of the year, cloud cover, wind and the available food. If a lake is new to you start fishing shallow, then move out to the first break and vary your depths till you find fish and during the hot summer months do not be surprised to find many fish suspended.
Fish are directly influenced by weather and are affected by solar periods, moon phases and moon position. Weather is too unpredictable but were using our Fishing Calendar you knew the peak times when fish are most active each day. Food is the key to where fish are, so locating the baitfish will help you find fish and when the bait moves, the fish move too, therefore, you must do the same. You have to find fish to catch them so move with the fish, keep notes in a log to refer to regularly and do not be afraid to hire a guide, they not only take you fishing, they teach you how to find and catch fish.
Visit us at www.larrysfishinghole.com for more fishing info, current fishing reports, and read our Product reviews as we have several New Lures or Hand Poured Baits to be testing soon. Remember, Illinois Free Fishing Days in June each year when anyone is allowed to fish without a fishing license.
We wish to say THANKS to all who have shared their fishing reports and those Awesome Spring Fish photos.
Till Next Time, Enjoy Your Summer, GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !