When you’re fishing in a lake, you’ll need to make sure that you’re approaching the water with all the right gear and information so that you can catch as many fish as possible during your time there. While it may seem like your best bet is to just throw some worms on your hook and hope for the best, there are actually some tried-and-true lake fishing tips and tricks that will help ensure you get plenty of bites.
How to Catch Fish in a Lake
Use these proven tips and tricks to catch more fish on your next fishing excursion!
Choose the Right Lake
All the lake fishing tips in the world won’t help you if you’re not on a lake that holds fish. Target lakes with fish and in your experience, it’s best to go early in the morning or right before sunset.
For example, perch are nocturnal and may be inactive during daylight hours. Also, look for windy days since it’s easier for fish to smell or hear bait being dragged across a boat or dock.
Plus, water visibility drops with less water movement. Understanding the lake fishing setup is important too.
Stay Away from Big Lakes
Smaller lakes and ponds (or ponds in New England) tend to be less windy and provide more structure, which means they’re actually better places for fishing.
For example, try local streams and rivers that feed into a small pond. They tend to have fish habitat even before they become a lake, plus you have an easier time seeing what’s underwater since it isn’t as deep.
Clean Your Baits, Lures, and Hooks
It’s easy to assume that because they were clean in your tackle box, they’re good enough for fishing. Unfortunately, even after cleaning them with soap and water before casting them out, bits of dirt and algae can still get stuck on your lines.
In order to catch more fish, it’s important that you thoroughly scrub down all of your fishing gear before each outing. Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or painstaking!
Simply take a bait rag or hook cleaner and run it along each part of your line until every speck of grime is removed.
Keep Track of the Weather
Lake fishing is often one of those sports that can be influenced heavily by weather conditions.
When it’s cold, fish don’t move as much, and when it’s hot and sunny, some fish move into deeper parts of a lake or shade under trees. Take advantage of live weather reports online or on TV so you know what kind of day it will be.
If there’s rain in sight, wait until after for your lake fishing outing. Many species don’t feed during heavy rains since they seek shelter themselves.
Upgrade Your Rod and Reel
You don’t need to spend a fortune on new gear, but if you want to bring in more fish, it helps to invest in quality equipment.
Most anglers find that graphite-based rods and reels cast further and last longer than cheaper alternatives made from aluminum or other metals.
And while you don’t need a top-of-the-line reel or rod, a few extra dollars can make all the difference when it comes time for your big catch.
Upgrading is also good for your overall fishing experience. High-quality fishing equipment will hold up better over time and provide you with years of enjoyment, not only at the lake, but also at rivers, streams, and the ocean.
Learn How to Rig Bait on a Jig Head
This simple jig head rigging tutorial is a great way to catch more fish. The downfall of fishing with a worm, grub, or other soft plastic bait is that they fall off very easily.
With a jig head, however, you can put your bait on at an angle, which will reduce its chances of falling off and make it easier for you to maintain control over your lure. It’s not just about catching fish when lake fishing – it’s also about having fun!
Taking on new skills like using a jig head will help add some variety to your day out on the water. It’s easy enough for beginners but still keeps experienced anglers entertained too.
Use the Right Grade of Hook for the Job
Selecting a hook that’s too large or too small can be detrimental to your success.
It’s best to stick with hooks of medium size (1/0, 2/0, 3/0) because they’re strong enough for most jobs, but not so big that they become unwieldy when you are trying to cast and fight a fish. Additionally, these hooks allow for more options when it comes time to choose bait.
With smaller hooks, you have more options for what kind of bait you’ll use and larger hooks mean you have more options on which type of fishing line you’ll use.
Cut Down on Spills and Spots
If you don’t already have one, go ahead and get a plastic bucket, and fill it with ice. No matter how careful you are, there will be times when you spill your bait or lose some hooks or lures overboard.
Bringing along a bucket full of ice means you can dip in it for water as needed and won’t have to worry about spills or drips.
Just be sure that your lines are reeled up before putting your hands into icy water – numb fingers don’t catch fish!
Cast in Multiple Directions
Everyone who has gone fishing at the lake knows that fish aren’t swimming around in a circle; they go up and down, left and right, back and forth. Don’t let fish catch you casting in one direction for too long.
Using a casting Yo-Yo technique is a great way to spread out your casts so you can cover more ground and give yourself more of a chance at reeling in dinner.
When it comes time to recast your line, simply use your rod tip as an anchor point while you reel in with your left hand and cast off your rod with your right.
Identify Patterns to Start Catching More Fish
If you’re not sure what kind of fish you’re catching, use a scale. Fish don’t always jump out of water when they’re hooked, so knowing how heavy or light your fish is can help you identify it.
This will also give you an idea of its size and if it might be worth keeping or throwing back into the lake. Scale sizes vary across states and even regions, but they are easy to find at sporting goods stores.
So, there you have it – our top lake fishing tips to enhance your fishing experience. Lake fishing can be both relaxing and frustrating.
It can also be successful if you have a game plan. If you’re new to lake fishing, try using the abovementioned proven lake fishing tips.