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What makes you choose a body of water to fish?


Darnold335
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3 hours ago, GaryH said:

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.

I hope to, maybe when it’s colder than April. My buddy from Memphis that I went with didn’t like it as much. Also somehow there was only like a 20 minute difference in drive time from him coming to Knoxville than to dale hollow from Memphis . 

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3 minutes ago, TnRiver46 said:

I hope to, maybe when it’s colder than April. My buddy from Memphis that funded the trip didn’t like it too much hahah. He’s spoiled when he comes to Knoxville with river smallies, those lake ones were a little harder to come by . Also somehow there was only like a 20 minute difference in drive time from him coming to Knoxville than to dale hollow from Memphis . 

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For me, I am so lazy, and I need my truck beside me or as near as possible, Any lake have less walking is the winner. If I am going to be on boat and rent a boat, The lake that have better fishing report is winner and driving there for me no problem at all.

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Good Day and Seasons Greetings!

Since I am a recreational angler I am usually following the theme of "conservation of energy", specifically mine. I prefer easier low effort angling destinations. Here in SE AZ there are limited angling venues so there is some amount of travel required to taunt fish. Pretty much all destinations require about an hour or so travel. Often more desirable destinations require more travel time. So adventure planning requires that travel consideration. We are fortunate there is pretty much year round angling opportunities. The cold weather months brings trout stocking to many of the regional lakes/ponds/streams.

 

I do enjoy angling adventures in new destinations. Fun to explore! Wishing all well being for the Holidays! Cheers!

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Location, first and foremost.  Time spent driving is time wasted not fishing.  And my free time is scarce and precious.  

 

Second is wind.  Speed and direction.  Some lakes are better at shielding from the wind in general, and some are better at shielding from the wind only in certain directions.  Plus, sometimes the wind be a lot worse in one spot, and not nearly as bad 30 miles away.  

 

Third is familiarity.  Not necessarily familiarity with that particular body of water, but familiarity with bodies of water like it.  And that can go either way.  Maybe I want more of a challenge, or maybe I think the conditions will be challenging enough.

 

Fourth is water temperature and depth.  It's not usually a big deal most of the time, but occasionally it will matter, like during the transition periods when one lake might be 40° and another might be 55°.

 

And last is popularity.  Typically I only worry about this during holiday weekends.  I don't mind a lot of boats on a lake, but when it's crowded enough to make fishing dangerous or even impossible, I try to find a less popular lake.  

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The only place I feel generally confident that I will always catch is the spot nearest to my house, which makes it very defeating when I drive 2 hours to some other bath tub and get skunked. I still do, but mostly to fish other species like Striper or for the opportunity at clearer water and different topography. Most of the time though, I could just stay home and actually catch fish rather than exploring. Probably what I should have done today, would have kept a vision 110 from snapping off. It does get old casting over the same structures and stuff all the time, but catching fish does not.

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2 hours 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. 😁


I may have to get up there sometime with you. I have launched out of Nesbitt park and fished the north branch. You are probably more west of that though. That’s about an hour and half for me.

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Depending on the day... season, species, conditions, temp, proximity, potential for large or tasty bycatch... Been wanting to get down to my #2 lake to get one last crack at some late season smallies, but muskiepalooza has been going on for a few weeks 15 minutes from the house. Sooo... Going after them big toothy buggers again tomorrow. When they hit an A-rig, they try to take your arm off. Just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

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Location is a big one for me.  I mostly fish Lake Wylie.  (pause while I'm doing math).  I've fished 6 different lakes this year.  4 of them (including Lake Wylie) are Catawba river lakes.  (Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Norman and Lake Wylie)    Moss Lake is a 1500 acre lake closest to my house.  It's overfished, especially during the Summer.   There's a limited number of spots that hold fish, and many times someone is already fishing them.   The other lake I went to this year was Lake Jocassee.   

 

I want to go to Santee Cooper sometime.  It's ~3 hours or so for me.  I've got a sister in law that lives near lake Hartwell.  I want to go there sometime too.   My oldest grandson is now in college near Lake Murray.  Myself and his Dad are going there one weekend sometime.  I've been to Santee, and Hartwell but it's been decades.   

 

Mountain Island lake is on the Catawba river between Lake Norman and Lake Wylie.  I've never been there.  I'm considering going there this weekend.  The ramp I normally use at Lake Wylie is temporarily closed.  I hate the other ramp that's close for me.  It's way too flat, and usually crowded.  Most of the cleats are broke off the docks too.    

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2 hours ago, Darnold335 said:


I may have to get up there sometime with you. I have launched out of Nesbitt park and fished the north branch. You are probably more west of that though. That’s about an hour and half for me.

Yep. North of Williamsport. About a hour and 45 min. From Harrisburg 

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Mostly what is easily available. I would love to have the budget and time to visit a wider variety of waters, but for the most part, it is just now feasible for me. Getting old, tired, and broke really cramps my "style", but it does not keep me from fishing.

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6 hours ago, MIbassyaker said:

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. 

 

I'm like you. I only fished about 16 bodies of water in 2022, but I already have another 24 in the queue, all less than an hour from home and all different. I'm going to scout one of the new ones tomorrow. 

 

As I've shared in the past, I look for water without boat launches and the less shoreline development, the better. I don't mind launching at a creek and paddling it for a mile to reach a pond that has no road to it. 

 

I don't mind fishing water right beside a highway. It's my experience that some people overlook the most obvious water. Same with little ponds. 

 

@MIbassyaker, I admire how you've fine tuned your fishing sites to know what fishes best in spring and what fishes best in July. I'm nowhere near that. I think it'll take several seasons to achieve that understanding.

 

6 hours ago, A-Jay said:

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

like no dock, are a favorite.

 

^Yep.^

 

 

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2 hours ago, GaryH said:

Yep. North of Williamsport. About a hour and 45 min. From Harrisburg 

So you’re not too far from cowanesque. I’m about 30 minutes east of Harrisburg.  My wife and I may head up to happy acres at some point 2023 and if we do I was going to take the boat. Fish the west branch or little pine state park 

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8 hours ago, Darnold335 said:

So you’re not too far from cowanesque. I’m about 30 minutes east of Harrisburg.  My wife and I may head up to happy acres at some point 2023 and if we do I was going to take the boat. Fish the west branch or little pine state park 

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For a 1-day trip, I won't travel longer than 1 hour.  My lake choice is due to: 1)  lack of tournaments on that day (there are so many tournaments around me that I am always trying to steer clear of them) 2) how the lake fishes at that time of the year (a Powerplant lake becomes very tough in the summer so I never fish there) 3)  history with the body of water  4) how the weather that day will impact my fishing (wind from certain a direction makes Lake Michigan)

 

I use the same criteria for my longer, multiday trips but lodging, camping availability, and access to Wi-Fi plays a large role in my decision-making.  I often go camping by myself so I like a campground with available Wi-Fi to watch sports, upload podcasts, and read everything going on in the world.  There's one lake I want to fish but there is no nearby lodging and the campground does not have Wi-Fi so that is a major drawback for me.  I always try to fish at least one new body of water a year.  Earlier in my fishing career I used to fish many different places but nowadays I pretty much stick to around 10 different places each year.      There's 4 main places I fish around home and several places in central/southern Illinois and northern Michigan I fish.  

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Time of year...target species... Amount of time. These things are always considerations for me. The biggest one is crowds...if I know there's going to be a bunch of people ill usually go elsewhere.

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These days it's mostly close to home. That would be the state park lake and the Susquehanna. Both are only 5 minutes away. The park I avoid on weekends. Once or twice a year I'll travel to old haunts that I fished when younger. Distance was no object back then.

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I fish where I have the whole place to myself. I fish where there is an almost infinite variety of cover and structure. I fish where I know I can catch a ton of bass every time, all the time, no matter what. I fish where I know GIANT bass roam. I fish at night out in the Florida Everglades. 

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It needs to have big fish, other than that, I have no real reason why I choose where I decide to fish most of the time. Sometimes it's past experience. I've done well on this lake at this time of year before, so I'll go there. Or, I've done well at this lake when I had the conditions we have now, so I'll go there. Sometimes, it's just "I haven't fished that lake in a while, I'll go there".  

 

Other times, it's where I think the fewest number of boats will be. 

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I fish a lot of the same ponds.  Some ponds I love in the cold water cuz I know I’ll get bit. While other ponds I only fish in spring cuz I know it’s my best shot at a giant. I do enjoy exploring new ponds though or learning places I haven’t fished much.  But it does depend on time of year and weather! 
 

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Being a non-boater back seater now I fish where I am invited within a few hours drive.

Weather is the biggest factor no high winds or cold rain.

Tom

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I have too many options here.  Close far good mediocre bad.  The full spectrum of choices.  I like exploring, but I question my logic.  Sometimes I feel I should just try to master 1 or 2 places.  

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