Over the years, I’ve caught some really great fish from shore. We’re talking giant beasts on saltwater beaches, to freshwater beauties in lakes and rivers. No boat, no problem, as I try and keep one or two rods in my truck at all times…just in case.
Finding good spots from the bank requires a slightly different approach than if you’re scoping out a new lake you’d take a boat to. In that case, you might look over a paper lake map or your on-board electronics.
Now for the shore angler, whether you’re fishing streams and rivers or lakes and ponds, the “pre-search” starts the same: on the INTERNET!
Metro areas across the Upper Midwest offer some great shore fishing, and many waters are simply inaccessible by boat. Google Maps and Google Earth are the best tools at your disposal, and they’re both completely free to use.
When you’re looking at areas first, I like to use regular 2D Google Maps more than Google Earth. Keep the map in “default” view and scroll around looking for the BLUE areas (water), then zoom in and switch over to satellite view to get a better picture of what you’re looking at.
It’s easier to find the water in “default” than it is in satellite mode when you’re zoomed out. When you do find something that looks fishy, drop a pin and label/star it. Drop as many as you want to map out a route of places to hit.
Many times, I start by looking for bridges. Two reason:
1. Obviously these can be reached easily by vehicle.
2. Bridges are fish magnets!
For lakes, bridges can create current. For rivers, they block current and creates eddies. In lakes, this current can hold big walleyes at certain times of the year, a species that can be difficult to catch from the bank. In rivers, the eddies are great for bass, cats, panfish and more!
Most major cities in the AnglingBuzz region have one or two rivers flowing through it.
Now that you’ve starred and labeled the areas to hit on your mobile phone, it’s time to hit the road! Just like you would move around to find biting fish in a boat, use a similar approach, quickly moving from spot-to-spot with a vehicle to find active fish. Even if it’s just soaking bread for carp, I won’t spend too much time in one place, and of course, always be on the lookout for “No Fishing” signs.
Shore fishing gear is pretty easy. Backpack with a few tools, some extra line, a couple tackle boxes, one or two rods — and you’re set for some shore fishing action!
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