Fishing tips: How to prepare for a new-to-you lake

Fishing a new body of water is intimidating if you don’t prepare correctly. It can also be expensive if you encounter an unknown hazard such as shallow rocks, a stump, gravel bar, or even the stray farm equipment sometimes submerged in flooded farm lakes in the Dakotas.

There are many angling resources that are readily available to anyone who wishes to use them:

Use these resources and you’ll learn a lot about a lake before you reach the access. That said, take the proper precautions to keep yourself and fellow fishermen safe.

I begin by researching information on the DNR website. You can see what species of fish swim in a lake, river, or reservoir, as well as stocking data, general lake maps, access sites, fishery status, and more. 

After you get a general idea, dig deeper and read current fishing reports for the lake. I also like to search past fishing reports from the time of year that I plan on fishing that water body. This allows you to see what bite takes place during that time frame.

Look at those lake maps – electronic or paper – and focus on to structure similar to lakes you have successfully fished in the past. Pull from your past experiences on other lakes, and apply them as you craft a game plan for your new destination. Again, pay attention to any water hazards you need to avoid.

Fishing forums and Facebook groups provide great places to ask questions about certain bodies of water. You won’t get all the details, but there is usually someone willing to steer you in the right direction.

Call or stop in at the local bait shops to learn about active, area bites. Most workers fish the area themselves and can offer insight into hot bites or areas to avoid. Ask for specifics, especially about possible hazards you identified when reviewing maps.

Local guides often have their own websites or Facebook pages where they post current lake conditions and bite information. Fishing is their passion, and they want people to catch fish.

By using these resources, you can hit the water with confidence and have a game plan for success. Pay close attention to your sonar units and search the areas you have pinpointed. Locate fish before you wet a line, and you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work.

Good luck fishing and stay safe!


Click HERE to check out more tips and tactics by Jason Revermann.


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