Finding local fishing spots can be tricky. You may rush off to a body of water only to see a private property sign swinging on the fence. I’ve been absolutely sure of a spot in the past, the possible lunkers I’ll catch, and the environment. Once there, I discovered a practically dry body of water.
Having the right tools to locate good locations is important. I use the following methods to stay up to date and lead me to some of the hottest fishing spots near me.
Local Fishing Spots: Google Maps
No brainer, right? But, you’d be surprised how often this app is overlooked. I use google maps for the simple purpose of discovering anything blue-colored – waterways, lakes, creeks, you name it. Once I’ve found a water source, ill zoom in on it for the purpose of finding the name. If no name exists, then it’s likely private property.
If not, throw the name in google and see what comes up. This should provide you with a decent amount of information including what species can be caught, water quality, and the history of the area. Additionally, by switching to the google maps satellite feature, you’ll get a feel for the terrain around the lake, access points, trails, and fences. It’s also a top app for directions, as it determines traffic patterns, road hazards, and calculates alternate routes. It has never let me down!
Google Earth is a browser that offers satellite and ariel images. This is a personal favorite because it offers a virtual tour of your desired location. The Street-view imaging allows you to drop down and explore the surrounding areas, which is perfect for getting a sense of water levels, vegetation, and bank access. This feature can be accessed by dragging the icon of the little human in the bottom right corner toward the area of interest.
As you begin dragging the icon, you may or may not see several blue circle icons appear over various locations on the map. By releasing the human icon over these circles, Google Earth will lower you to street-view where you’ll gain a 360-degree view of your surrounding. If the blue circle icons arent present, it means the area hasn’t been street-viewed.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you from exploring the area. One awesome feature is the intricately detailed representation of terrain, including rock formation, tree lines, and ground cover, which gives you an idea of what you’ll be walking through.
So, How Does This Help Your Fishing?
Well, by throwing on 3D imaging, you’ll easily spot cover like fallen trees, brush piles, drop-offs. This comes in handy when searching for sharp drop-offs, as you’ll be able to pre-plan where you’ll position your boat or cast from shore. Another advantage you’ll have is locating shade.
By determining what shorelines receive the most ( or least) sun and at what time, you can use Google Earth to then locate low-hanging trees, weed lines, brush piles, and large, fallen trees, which provide quality shade for bass in the afternoon. This app is tremendously useful for bank fishing. You’ll be able to scout out the shoreline vegetation and access points including trails and roadways – even plan your navigation around the lake and pre-site each spot you’d like to hit.
Google Earth is a year-round tool for anglers looking to maximize their knowledge before visiting a water source. I’ve personally used this app to locate some of the best habitats and as a result have thrown in the boat brown trout, rainbow trout, bass, and other fish throughout California.
This app has received a lot of hype over the years. As a location tool, it performs well.
How to use it;
As part of the Pro version, you’ll find an “explore fishing spots near you” section. From here, a detailed map will show you what species were caught. Lastly, you can narrow down your query and discover the exact species and;
- Where the fish was caught
- What the fish was caught on
- Offers a social media-like comment and follow features
The app also provides a Top Baits feature. As a result, it will show you the exact lure to use based on the fish caught in that area, which takes into account weather patterns, season, and time of day. After you’ve found an area of interest, you can utilize the feature called “BiteTime:”
Our forecast, called BiteTime uses machine learning with data from millions of catches to help you predict what species you are most likely to catch when you go fishing. The forecast predictions are shown in one bar graph per species. The heights and colors of the bars indicate the predicted probability of your catch being the given species at the given time.After going on the map on the water body that interests you, tap on BiteTime, you can scroll up and down to see the forecast for each species and you can scroll Right or Left to see the forecast for each time of day.
FishBrain offers location, probability, geographic contour, lures to use, species-specific data, weather patterns – all of these in one app.
This is the free version of Fishbrain, and much like FishBrain, this app directs you to good fishing spots, logs your catch, and connects you with other anglers. On the navigation bar on the homepage, you’ll find Bodies of water near me; this is the feature I like most.
Click on this and up comes a list of most (if not all) water sources in your area. From here, you have the option to follow the activity from this area. At the top of the home page, you can choose Global / Local to see what’s happening in and out of your region.
Like FishBraine, You can log your catches and the location as well as the gear used and your favorite fishing spots.
Fishing Spots provides a pretty accurate forecasting tool including time of day with the most activity, weather, barometric pressure, wind conditions, and sun state.
Overall, this app is useful in finding new local fishing spots. The greatest benefit would be if you’re new to an area and haven’t met local anglers yet. This will give you an idea of what waterways are in this region and if you can fish there, and if so, what species have been caught and specifically, where. It’s a perfect tool to narrow down your search and reduce the amount of work required in researching.
Local Fishing Spots: Tackle Shops
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local tackle shops and ask where the bite is good. It seems obvious, but this is actually where you should start ( in my opinion). They can also make recommendations as to what lures to use, rod and reel selection, line weight, and more. It’s also a great place to meet other anglers and potential fishing buddies!
Pick up the newsletters and local periodicals ( they’re often by the door). For example, I read a local new paper called Bay Area Anglers, which offers good tips on fresh and saltwater fishing. I also find myself watching youtube videos often and preparing according to the advice given by high-level tournament guys. This is good ( generally).
But one issue – they’re not talking about or demonstrating techniques or lures on the water where I’m interested in visiting. Local tackle shops will help you narrow down your selection, tailor your technique to that body of water. Where a creature bait might seem effective, a drop-shot might perform better.
Facebook can be an awesome place to link up with local fishermen. Simply do a search for your interest and see what comes up. Most people in those groups are friendly and will provide good locations in your area. For example, I belong to a Bay Area bass fishing group on Facebook.
Whenever I need to know how the bite is at a local lake or reservoir, I pose the question in the group. Additionally, you can use Facebook to acclimate to a new county or state.
This platform can be a gold mine of information. I use Quora when I need a question answered. Visit Quora and type in your question at the top and check out the results, it’s pretty intuitive.
What separates this platform from regular search engines is the level of user engagement. Users of Quora have their questions and answers posted, so you’re likely going to receive an answer from a person with lived experience.
Karl’s Bait And Tackle
I recently read through Karl’s blog and found an awesome post. Here’s the link: The 10 Best Places To Fish In California.
This article was clear and concise and true! I’ve fished all the spots referenced with the exception of two. The writer nailed each one. In addition, Karl’s blog is packed with valuable content covering lure and tackle reviews, how-to’s, and more. Blogs like these are worth keeping an eye on when scouting locations.
You’ll occasionally find a post perfectly streamlined and informational that speaks to you. I like to bookmark sites that generate good information. These same sites will often later produce additional information with solid fishing lure reviews, rod and reel, and location reviews.
Other great blogs to follow;
The Fishidy Blog
- Take Me Fishing Blog
- Tactical Bassin’
Finding local habitat for fishing can be tough. The tools above are only the surface of a universe of tools you can use. But overall, my greatest asset is people. Ask around. Talk to people who have been on the lake and caught the fish; the crusty anglers who return with fish while you’re still empty-handed onshore – those are the sources to start with. I follow this up with apps and websites – a deadly combination of tactics. If none of these work for you, keep trying. No one said fishing was easy! Arming yourself with the right tools will improve your chances.