How to find fish in a lake (and rivers)

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We all want to catch more fish. In addition to finding the best fishing rod for your purposes, you must locate where they normally feed. Many people just plop their hooks into lakes and rivers without any thought as to where the fish actually are. As with many other cases in nature, fish have a pattern; their movements make sense from an angler’s point of view.

1. Use your eyes

If you are fishing a small pond or a lake, the best time to go is during moderate weather. Part of the reason is because the water is calm, so fish are more likely to feed. Just like humans, fish like to “come outside” when the weather is not to hot and not too cold.

When you are fishing, try to study the movements in the water. You may be able to spot ripples here and there, which are indications that there are fish moving near the surface. In addition, bubbles at the water’s surface are signs that fish are near.

2. Look for structure

Fish tend to feed and find protection in areas with structure. It is common for underwater structures to support plant growth such as algae. Some examples of structures are:

  • Weeds
  • Rocks
  • Logs
  • Docks
  • River ends
  • Bluffs

rock turtleWeeds, rocks, logs, and docks provide great shelter for fish. They also support the growth of plants. Many times, these structures attract the smaller bait fish, which subsequently attract the larger fish that you are targeting.

A lesser-known location in a lake to fish is at the river ends. This is where the river enters the lake. In many lakes that are fed by rivers, there is a dam. These are prime locations for fishing because the rivers continuously feed nutrients into the lake, attracting baitfish. Again, these bait fish attract the larger fish.

Finally, bluffs are great places for fish to hide.  Bluffs are the nooks and crannies that are located in rock walls. These nooks are created by many years of carving by the movement of water. It is not uncommon for the underwater structure of a rock wall to look like the visible rock wall. So if you spot a rock wall with many nooks and crannies, try fishing there. You may get some hungry fish that are hiding out.


3. Sunken Objects

Sunken objects are also a great place for fish to feed. Just like the structures we discussed above, these objects provide shelter for the fish. Where there is shelter, there are most likely fish.


4. Oxygen

waterfallLike you and I, fish stay in areas that are rich full of oxygen. The areas that provide this oxygen are near moving water. If you see streams or waterfalls, you will likely see fish. It is common to see fish around smaller streams that feed lakes. If you can find these areas, it almost doesn’t matter what bait you use – just put something in front of those fish and you will get a bite!



While there may be many other clues as to where to find fish, these should provide you with a sufficient number of places to look when you are fishing. With these hints, you will be much more informed than many novices. Use our guide to fishing rods to figure out the best one for you. The choices are sorted by price and type. Use these to your advantage and you will be catching fish in no time!


Dustin also writes about health at Strong Bastard Project and folding bicycles at Foldable Cycle.

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Dustin also writes about health at Strong Bastard Project and folding bicycles at Foldable Cycle.

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