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tnbassfisher

Small Lake Topo

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I'm spending my winter trying to scope out new places to fish. Some of these include smaller, public fishing lakes. However, I am unable to find any type of topo maps for some of these places. 

 

How do you handle a situation like this and what other things can you look at to determine the basic topography of a lake before going to fish?

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Castable Sonar and a few hours, unbelievable what you'll learn. Brian.

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Sometimes if you search the lake, river, or whatever on google earth and zoom in you can get an idea of the layout and see different shades of water, then go to the spot and toss a lure to see how long it takes for it to hit bottom. I assume you fish from the bank.

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Fishing from a kayak. Just looking to gain any knowledge that I can before getting on the water.

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Sometimes if you search the lake, river, or whatever on google earth and zoom in you can get an idea of the layout and see different shades of water, then go to the spot and toss a lure to see how long it takes for it to hit bottom. I assume you fish from the bank.

 

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I'm spending my winter trying to scope out new places to fish. Some of these include smaller, public fishing lakes. However, I am unable to find any type of topo maps for some of these places. 

 

How do you handle a situation like this and what other things can you look at to determine the basic topography of a lake before going to fish?

here in vt the department of fish and wildlife went over all of our states lakes and ponds with sonar, i just have to go to their website and download the pdf for whatever lake ill be fishing.... try your states dnr website

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I do the same thing you do, but in Pennsylvania. The area around the lake will give you an idea of what's below. If the land on one side of the lake is steep, chances are that that side of the lake has a steep shoreline. If the land is flat, that spot on the lake might be flat and shallow. It's not always the case, but it's a good rule of thumb. Look for transition areas: mud shoreline into a sandy beach area, or a gravel shore that leads to riprap. Those spots are great places to find staging fish. Google maps in your friend. Look for obvious structure: Weed beds, pads, rocks, stumps. Sometimes you can see humps offshore if they're shallow enough. Look for dark spots on light colored bottoms, and vice versa. You can usually see creek channels in shallow water, and can follow them for a little while. Pay attention to where they go, and where they swing. Good luck!

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My state (Maine) has depth, access and fish info on line. With a kayak I would search out ponds with canoe/hand carry access only. Less fishing pressure.  I also prefer Bing maps...better 360 deg view

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check out mytopo.com and their online topographic maps. I've had a lot of luck finding topographic maps for lakes I can't find elsewhere.

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University of Florida has over 100 free topo maps on line of lakes all over the state. I start there when fishing new waters.

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Fishing from a kayak. Just looking to gain any knowledge that I can before getting on the water.

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Sometimes if you search the lake, river, or whatever on google earth and zoom in you can get an idea of the layout and see different shades of water, then go to the spot and toss a lure to see how long it takes for it to hit bottom. I assume you fish from the bank.

x 3 .   Often you can find long points like this. 

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Another source is:

 

http://mapper.acme.com/

 

You select the map type you want to view. 

With the Topo view, you can see the surrounding terrain contours and if the lake is younger than the background map, you will see what the contours were before the lake was built.

You can switch between the Topo view and Satellite view to compare.

 

For locations with land contours and satellite images showing the water, I print one of them, change the view to the other and print that on top of the other print.

Sometimes I print the satellite view on regular paper and the topo on clear media and just put the clear print on top of the regular paper copy.

 

Some locations have the contours and the water together.

 

This is an example of the print on print method for a lake that was built after the terrain topo map was made.

 

LowerHR1.jpg

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The OP is in Tennessee.

The following link starts Gmap4 and displays a high resolution topo map for a random spot in TN.

 

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=35.917641,-85.351668&z=15&t=t4

 

Full disclosure time: I am the developer of the Gmap4 software that is showing you the map.  This project is part of my way to "pay it forward". Translation: Gmap4 is free for non-commercial use.  It is popular with people that enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.

Since Gmap4 is a browser app, not a native app, there is nothing to download or install.  Instead, simply click a link and Gmap4 will start in your browser and display a map.  Parameters that are part of the link control how the map looks when it opens on your screen.

Gmap4 runs in most browsers on most devices from smartphones to desktops.  Note that the browser does have to be online when Gmap4 starts.  When Gmap4 is running in the browser on a smartphone or other mobile device it automatically uses a touch-friendly interface.

There are three ways to access different features.
1. The “Menu” button lets you search, geolocate, change the coordinate format, get the declination and do various other things.
2. The other button always displays the name of the current basemap.  This button lets you change the basemap and also turn GIS overlays on/off.
3.  A rightclick anywhere on the map will display the coordinates in several formats for the point you clicked.

The Menu ==> "Draw and Save" feature lets you add data to the map and then save your data as either a GPX file or a delimited text file.  You can also use the map-in-a-link feature to save your data right in the Gmap4 link itself and not have to bother with any data file.

Gmap4 can display these types of files:  GPX, TPO, KML, KMZ, Google MyMap, and a delimited file format.

The Gmap4 homepage has a FAQ, examples, quick start info (on the Help page) and more to quickly get you up to speed.  

One of the articles on the Help page shows you how to use Gmap4 on your smartphone offline.

Gmap4 default map: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php

Gmap4 homepage:  http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA

 

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Castable Sonar and a few hours, unbelievable what you'll learn. Brian.

 

 

This.  Literally draw the lake on a sheet of paper or print out a pic from google maps and make yourself a basic topo.  Mark & label depths, dropoffs, bluffs, features, cover, large or persistent weed beds, deep pools and anything else distinguishing you find when you do it.  Even if it takes a whole day or even a weekend etc, you won't have to do it again (for a long time anyways) and you will have your "cheat sheet" to help you find where the fish by understanding the whole environment.    

 

If you spend real time in a place where big boats and electronics are not an option, it's a killer way to learn your water once and for all.  

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Google maps has been a huge asset to me on small lakes. While you cannot see the entire depth contours you will be able to see where there are long points and where there are good drop offs. There are websites out there that tell you what the rate of fall is for a certain weight. Go out and cast a weight and count how long it takes until your line goes slack and the weight is on the bottom. If you are wanting to look for bottom contour drag the weight around and feel. It will make you a better fisherman and you will be able to feel the difference between rock, wood and grass. If you get hung up and break off your only out a weight. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses. The good ones will be able to let you see a long ways down in the water column on a clear lake. With all the new technology though there are apps for phones which allow you to throw out sonar on your fishing rod and view the sonar on your iPhone or other device. The most important thing is just spending time on the water and slowly learning an area. By learning what bass like to do during certain times of year you can rule out certain areas and concentrate on specific areas.

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Thanks for all the responses guys! I had tried the Google earth thing in the past with some good results, but y'all just gave me a huge list of resources to use. Thanks!

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