How do you choose what location to fish on a lake? Do you look at a map first and study it looking for a flat or a hump? Do you look for a weed bed or a point sticking out into the lake? Maybe you look for a nice calm spot out of the wind. Do you look where other boats are and then just join the pack? Have you ever wanted to find fish where there are no other boats? Maybe you've tried, and never had the best success. Do you feel intimidated by big lakes and choose only to fish small lakes because you just don't know where to start looking on big lakes?
If you're like me, you've probably read about everything you can get your hands on. Watched video after video, and every program on TV filling your head with every little tid-bit of info you can. Do you still feel like you still just can't put it together once you are on the water?
If I had to choose the number one mistake I see over and over again while on any body of water big or small... I'd have to say too many people spend way too much time running from one end of the lake to the other jumping from one spot to the next and they don't spend enough time looking for fish in a smaller area of that body of water.
For example lets say lake X is 1,168 acres. You've never fished it before. But a friend showed you a few pictures from a week or two earlier of a fantastic Walleye bite him and a couple buddy's raked in on. You want to try your luck there now and the only info you have is that they fished in 12-16 foot of water with Crawlers. Let's say you buy a map and mark all of the prime looking 12-16 foot of water. Humps, Points, Breaks, Inside turns, Outside turns, Saddle areas, flats. By the time you are done the map looks like it had been around for years, but only you know that it's the first time the map has been in the boat. You spend half of the day running every piece of water in the 12-16 foot range and start calling your buddy a liar because there is no way he was on that lake. The truth of the matter is, your buddy could have been there before the bug hatch. Maybe the moon was just right. Storm front moving in or out maybe? Water temp? The fact is that those fish might have moved a little deeper or shallower.
When I go to a new lake, I first look at a map. Depending on the size of the lake I might cut it in half or maybe thirds, maybe ever quarters or sixteenths if need be. I think more people would catch more fish more often if they would spend more time hunting for fish in smaller areas of the lake rather than running from one end to the other.
I'll bet you my hat right now that if you watch close the next time you are on the lake that most of the boats you see leaving the public access on the east side of the lake will be the guys/gals fishing the west end of the lake. The people launching on the North side of the lake have to fish on the south side of the lake. And most of the boats leaving their cabins ... Yep you guessed it, the best fishing areas are always on the other end of the lake.
I hope you all see a little humor in this blog. I just got off the lake and was having this very conversation with a resort owner I know. We both got a good smile out of the topic, I hope you do too. Until next time ... See you on the other end of the lake, and if you do see me, wave me down and say hello.