Freshwater Fishing and Reading the Waters
There are many factors that attribute to success when fishing. One of the most important element is to understand how to read the waters. In other words, being able to determine the most likely places you will find fish. With modern technology such as the Internet and weather channels, it makes it easier for us to forecast and predict fish behavior patterns. This principle can be applied for majority of freshwater specimens.

1 – Starting Approach

Every freshwater angler would either be fishing in lakes, ponds, rivers or creeks.
Let’s review how each of these situations can be approached.
Lakes and Ponds  

Lakes and Ponds are both similar in that they are body of still water.  Here are some tips for success:

  • Locate spots where there is cover such as weeds, fallen trees and rocks. Fish are likely to stick around areas where they feel safe for prey species and predators for ambushing them.
  • Areas where depth changes quickly. These are parts of the water where the edges of shallow water and deep water meets, between fast and slow water or between cover and open water. This allow for food to be delivered to the fish much easier.
Rivers and Creeks
Rivers and creeks offer a different element in which there are water currents. However, the principles are similar applied to Lakes and Ponds. Fish will be held in slower water close to the fast moving water. This will allow the fish to easily access their food source.  Here are some tips for success:
  • Locate areas that offer cover such as rocks, debris etc.,
  • Identify lines of bubbles in the water, which will give you indication of where the slower and faster water meets.
General Rule of Thumb
Here are a few other basic rules that can increase your chances of landing the fish you want.
  • Fish will likely move up with the water so cast your line in that same direction
  • Know about the fish you want to catch, some of these rules may or may not apply to the fish you want. For example, bass is sensitive are sensitive to water change while others may not be.
  • Based on various factors, the type of baits & lures should be taken into consideration. For example, when to use top water baits and the type of color plays a factor as well.

2 – Water Levels

When water levels are rising, fish are likely to be closer to the banks and in groups near grass and other form of cover. You may have more success fishing shallower areas near the banks. If the water levels are falling, fish would be likely to be in deeper pockets away from the banks and areas where there is cover. This is only because the baits would need to feed and follow the same patterns. Here are some useful tips when evaluating water levels:
  • Pay attention to the water line stains.
    • If debris are floating near by. You know that the water levels are low. Things are floating away from the banks
    • If you notice the water is pushing up against the bank, then the water levels are high.

3 – Water Pressure

Anglers have watched barometric (atmosphere) pressures to help predict fish movement and feeding patterns. This can be a bit tricky as there many elements to consider.

In general, fish are less active when the water pressure is too high or too low. 

They are more receptive to rising and falling barometric levels.

Click here to learn more about Barometric levels and how it affects fish.

4 -Water Current

This applies to bodies of moving water such as Rivers and Creeks

Moving water is something every angler must seriously consider. The amount of movement in the water will dictate the type of lure and sinker weight to use as well as predicting where the fish will be and their feeding behavior. When considering water currents, there are two scenarios that come to mind:

  1. Typically after a storm or rain, the water levels will rise and increase water currents in rivers and creeks. This will also mean there is likely less visibility since the water is muddier. Fish will have a harder time to locate and find your bait, especially worms or anything that is hitting the bottom of the water. This would be a good time to switch out and use top water lures and if you’re targeting lower parts of the water, darker or very bright colored lures would work best to attract attention to the fish.
  2. Sections of the river or creek where fish would hang out to avoid exerting too much energy to find food. There are parts of the river in which fish are likely to remain such as between seams and slow parts of the water. Here they will find food coming towards them as well as escape paths to faster water should there be any threats. If you are able to identify these key spots in the water, your chances of catching fish increases. (See section 5 – Examining Waters)

5 – Examining the Waters​

Breaking Down Sections of the River
Source: Blog
Finding Trout in Relation to Structure
Source: Blog
Finding Seams - Locating Trout
Source: Blog

Things you may be interested in...

LUCKY Portable Fish Finder Transducer Sonar Sensor 147 Feet Water Depth Finder LCD Screen Echo Sounder Fishfinder with Fish Attractive Lamp for Ice Fishing Sea Fishing

HawkEye D10DX.01T In-Dash Depth Sounder with Air and Water Temperature (Includes Airmar Transom Mount Transducer)

Trac Outdoor T3002 Fishing Barometer

Orvis Encased Stream Thermometer

Mens Wrap Around Sport Sunglasses Polarized Plus Bifocal Reading Lens Black – helps with seeing in the water more easily while fishing

TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader, 2-Ply Nylon/PVC Waterproof Fishing & Hunting Waders for Men and Women Green Size 8

Lixada Fishing Barometer, SR204 Waterproof Mini LCD Digital Fishing Barometer Altimeter Thermometer

Venterior Portable Fish Finder, Water Depth & Temperature Fishfinder with Wired Sonar Sensor Transducer and LCD Display

Leave a Reply