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What makes you choose a body of water to fish?


Darnold335
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Just curious why everyone chooses to fish where they fish. Is it location? Numbers? Size of fish? Size of the water? Just to learn something new? Water level? Time of year?

 

Unless I am fishing for a different species I am generally happy fishing anywhere. Location generally plays a big factor for me. I generally stay within an hour drive of my house. The next is water level.  Every once and awhile I will stray to 1.5-2 hours. I tend to stick to a specific 4 mile stretch of river but, I am trying to learn another 8 -10 miles of it in a different location.  That is purely dependent on water level. 

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I fish different bodies of water to add a little variety to life.   I fish the one a mile from my house the most because it’s close.   I wouldn’t fish a lake with no bass but I don’t mind a challenge.  I tend to favor the ones that have a lot of interesting structure.

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Location - the lakes I fish are all within 20 minutes of my house. Since I don't have full days to fish, the more time I get on the water the better.

 

My most-used launch point for the boat is 1 mile from my place.

 

It doesn't hurt that the lake regularly produces 6.5#-7# LMB during tournaments held here...which considering the state record is only 8#15oz, that's not too shabby.

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Several factors go into how I choose a place to fish. Public launch and proximity to my home are the first two. Other factors can make the proximity less important. 
 

Depth, observable structure, cover or bait (be it visually or on a contour map), general intrigue, and word of mouth can all make me try a body of water too.

 

But besides public access the most important factor is probably past results. Why do I choose to fish my favorite lake more than any other lake? Because I believe it gives me the best chances of having a good day on the water. My domestic PB came from this lake, and I’ve never been skunked on it. Perfect combination of size and numbers. It has great fish habitat, is deep, has a thriving ecosystem, and an easy public launch, but it’s the great fishing that makes it my favorite lake. 

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If it's got good Bass fishing, that's all that matters to me.

 

Goals, location, and size of fish are considerations as well.   Luckily my home lake meets all three of those and makes life easy for me in that regard. 

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Ninety percent of my fishing is location based - what I can walk to in a matter of minutes, or drive to (boat) in under 30. I’ll occasionally drive up to an hour to fish a lake, but not much more than that these days. Got plenty of time and miles under my belt from 20+ years of tourney fishing.

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53 minutes ago, Darnold335 said:

Just curious why everyone chooses to fish where they fish. Is it location? Numbers? Size of fish? Size of the water? Just to learn something new? Water level? Time of year?

 

 

All of the above.  I've got at least a dozen decent lakes inside 40 minutes that I know and a few more that I don't.  They range from 15 acres to 2700.  I also have a fairly flexible work schedule so I can pick and choose my times to go.  Based on that I'll pick a lake that I think should be fishing well for the day, time of year, and conditions.  I like variety so I fish them all eventually.  In one case, a close lake fishes well from ice out until May but after that gets a bad algal bloom and heavy pondweed, both of which make it unappealing to fish (so I don't).  Another dropped 25' last year and I couldn't be bothered to fish it in those conditions (after I fished it 15' low).  One lake is tucked down inside of a mountain bowl so it pretty protected if I want to fish on a windy day.  The big lake has mega boat traffic on a weekend, tournament thursday, or any day from memorial day through labor day with pleasure boats so if I'm going to fish it, its going to be on my own time and early.  Most all of them have good fish, some have big fish.  If a lake doesn't produce, I don't bother.  There is one about 35 minute away, ~120 acres, beautiful setting, etc.  I've yet to see a tournament produce any type of worthwhile bag there (as in it takes ~40-50" to win there) so I'm not bothering.  I like to add one or two places each year that I've never fished, go in depth at one or two places I've only fished a little, and hit my priority lake during their prime time.

 

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C41-CD13-F-F172-4-D63-A362-62-F1-DFFEAA4
decisions decisions……..

 

I don’t live near the blue dot, that’s just where I’m at right now. I live close to downtown Knoxville so that’s easiest and most common stop 

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I actually spend a lot of time planning where I'm going to go and when.  I like variety, and I fish a rotation of around 40 different bodies of water that include small natural lakes (a few dozen to a few hundred acres), impoundments, bayous, gravel pits, and free-flowing river stretches.  They vary a lot in numbers, sizes, and accessibility of bass, and each fishes better or worse at different times of year (due to things like seasonal changes, water temp, vegetation growth, recreational activity), or days of the week (fishing pressure), 

 

Some I visit more often than others, but I usually plan ahead each year which places I want to prioritize visiting during different times. For instance, in spring, I go to the lakes that warm faster first (usually smaller, shallower) before the slower-warming places (larger, deeper). Pre-spawn fishing can be extended in this way.  In some lakes it is easier to find bass once there is a well-developed deep weedline around midsummer.  Others may be hard to fish at this time because they start getting choked with vegetation, or activity levels go down with declining oxygen.  Some river sections don't fish very well for bass early in the year, but are absolutely lights-out in August when the food chain is fully fired-up. 

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There's a lot of water here to choose from.

large.1956095038_MILakesBR.png.362389057abcff7747164eb4c5fe1055.png

Proximity plays a role as does big fish potential.

After that, there's a few 'factors' that determine where & when I fish a certain body of water.

Gobies are good.

Lakes that are 'hard to get to' or have a tricky boat launching deal;

like no dock, are a favorite.

Places that are close to a major highway exit are usually avoided. 

So off the beaten path is good and sort of easy to find up here.

Not all the roads are paved and many 'bass boat' guys seem to avoid long dirt & gravel access roads. 

 I seek them out.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

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8 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

There's a lot of water here to choose from.

large.1956095038_MILakesBR.png.362389057abcff7747164eb4c5fe1055.png

Proximity plays a role as does big fish potential.

After that, there's a few 'factors' that determine where & when I fish a certain body of water.

Gobies are good.

Lakes that are 'hard to get to' or have a tricky boat launching deal;

like no dock, are a favorite.

Places that are close to a major highway exit are usually avoided. 

So off the beaten path is good and sort of easy to find up here.

No all the roads are paved and many 'bass boat' guys seem to avoid long dirt & gravel roads access roads. 

 I seek them out.

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

I think drowning might be a factor on those big ones too……

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6 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

I think drowning might be a factor on those big ones too……

Little ones too if I'm careless.

But that's not my style.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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24 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

C41-CD13-F-F172-4-D63-A362-62-F1-DFFEAA4
decisions decisions……..

 

I don’t live near the blue dot, that’s just where I’m at right now. I live close to downtown Knoxville so that’s easiest and most common stop 

Lucky

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5 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Little ones too if I'm careless.

But that's not my style.

:smiley:

A-Jay

I just stay on the sand dunes of that one on the left. It’s scary all but one time I’ve seen it 

4 minutes ago, GaryH said:

Lucky

It was the main criteria of where to buy, no more than 5 miles from a boat launch. 
 

why any bass head would live an hour from the water is beyond my scope of understanding 

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I fish several different lakes a lot more than others, but I love traveling to different lakes all over the country whether it’s pleasure or tournaments. Taking on big bodies of unfamiliar water is a great challenge sometimes rewarding and sometimes not. 

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1 minute ago, GaryH said:

I fish several different lakes a lot more than others, but I love traveling to different lakes all over the country whether it’s pleasure or tournaments. Taking on big bodies of unfamiliar water is a great challenge sometimes rewarding and sometimes not. 

I didn’t know you fished tourneys, are you one of those pros that Glenn says read the forums? Haha

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2 hours ago, Darnold335 said:

Just curious why everyone chooses to fish where they fish. Is it location? Numbers? Size of fish? Size of the water? Just to learn something new? Water level? Time of year?

 

Unless I am fishing for a different species I am generally happy fishing anywhere. Location generally plays a big factor for me. I generally stay within an hour drive of my house. The next is water level.  Every once and awhile I will stray to 1.5-2 hours. I tend to stick to a specific 4 mile stretch of river but, I am trying to learn another 8 -10 miles of it in a different location.  That is purely dependent on water level. 

If you ever want to head up north a few hours give me a shout and I’ll take you out on one of the lakes up here.

1 minute ago, TnRiver46 said:

I didn’t know you fished tourneys, are you one of those pros that Glenn says read the forums? Haha

Heck with the fishing you do your one of the pros. 😁

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11 minutes ago, GaryH said:

If you ever want to head up north a few hours give me a shout and I’ll take you out on one of the lakes up here.

Heck with the fishing you do your one of the pros. 😁

One keeper doesn’t get me many checks to cash haha. Looks a lot better in the latest catch pics thread 

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The lakes I frequent are based on multiple factors: location, species present, and pressure (or lack thereof).  Luckily, I live in the land of 10,000 lakes so fishable water is not a problem.  Depending on what species I am targeting, the MN DNR has population surveys posted on their website so I can look that up and see what kind of population is present, and how big the fish are.  A lot of this also comes my personal knowledge and experience fishing out there though, either myself or someone I know.

 

I tend to avoid bigger, more heavily pressured lakes, especially from Memorial Day through Labor Day (peak summer time) because 1) I don't like people, 2) I don't like recreational boats, and 3) I don't like fishing where there is constant tournament pressure.

 

The river fishing I do is primarily dependent on water levels.  Drought has plagued this for a couple years now and the fishing has suffered because of it.

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Just now, TnRiver46 said:

One keeper doesn’t get me many checks to cash haha

I’ll be heading back to Dale Hollow in April for around a week. If your going there again let me know and maybe we can hook up.

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Anymore I try to stay within an hour of home, so proximity does make a difference. I do take two or three long distance fishing trips a year, mainly to east TN.

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