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    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

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northernsportman

How do you use a lake map to locate fish?

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I am sure this has came up before but is there anything on the internet or anything? Or just out of personal reference? What do you look for when searching for walleye.

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Breaking down a lake on the kitchen table is an effective way to help eliminate water but there is no replacement for being there. However, some things to look for on a map are tight countour lines (i.e. steep break lines or drop-offs) near main lake points or long stretches of shoreline, any "neck down" or funnel areas, creek, stream or river inlets/outlets, mid-lake structure adjacent to deep water and emergent or submergent vegetation.

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Look for flats out along points, which usually hold fish. As well as the drop offs following that. Steep drop offs, trees, rock piles, different bottom contuer all come into play.

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I do the same thing every year. I get out my Hot Spots map on the kitchen table with my Sharpie and plan out dozens of great spots I want to try on Cass Lake which is where we have been going for 20+ years. Then when I get up there I find myself going to the same 3 or 4 spots that I have been going to for my entire life. Not sure if you can teach an old dog new tricks!!!

Windy

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Now that the water is warming up fish will be moving deeper and I like to look for " butterflys" they are pronounced areas where two peices of structure come together and between them is a saddle. If you look at the contour lines this will appear as an "X" or a butterfly. Check em out you might be suprised. There are lots of them on the big water. good luck.

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Got a follow-up for this question. How often do you buy new maps? Structure changes often, especially in heavily traveled lakes.

I used a map from about 10 years ago, trying multiple spots on it, hoping to find some accuracy, and only landed a few small bass in various places (Not necessarily looking for bass).

I picked up a map at Dick's for a quick browse and chose two spots that looked good about two weeks ago. Went back to the lake, tried both spots, and both of them produced fish. All fish they produced were what the map said they should be, as well.

So I'm not saying that the spots already listed on the maps are more accurate, but I feel the maps in general are probably a lot better. Bringing back to the original question - about how often do you replace them?

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I'm not sure I follow you on structure changing on heavily traveled lakes? The only waterways that typically change are rivers due to the current/volume of water flowing.

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I'm not sure I follow you on structure changing on heavily traveled lakes? The only waterways that typically change are rivers due to the current/volume of water flowing.

I was unaware of this apparently. Well, I know it changes in rivers, but I figure there would be some variation over a course of say, ten years, especially in a shallower bay or lake.

Specifically, I know of a few deep (15-20') holes on Tonka that have seemed to be filled in (Now 5-10') over the years.

Is there no reason to update maps?

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • nice and neighborly like let them know you feed and have bird houses up and enjoy the birds. ask nicely he not try to kill them. i also believe its not legal to kill purple martins as they are not considered a nuisance bird like sparrows and starlings!!!!!!!!  not saying get beligernt or nasty!
    • I picked up a bottle of Old Forester the other day for something new. I thought is was pretty good. Plenty smooth over some ice. 
    • We have a couple both right next to trees but also close to the lake. Both have been full of Martins for several years. I don't think they have an impact on the bugs but they are very enjoyable to watch and listen to.  They also only do the dive-bombing when the babies are young and getting ready to fly, the especially bomb the dog and he doesn't even care!   I'd highly recommend putting a few houses up, the plastic gourds you can buy work good also.
    •   Not sure what you would have me say. You can't be in your own driveway because it bothers the birds?
    • be nice if they were back in St. Cloud...  I liked that place....
    • I caught one in a live trap couple years ago. Personally I'd try to rid yourself of them.
    • I grew up with purple Martin's. They seem to like power lines nearby. They eat all sorts of bugs. The diving never bothered us.  As far as the neighbor, I'd have said something.
    • This was my experience, may be completely different than others. I put up a house in my back yard, less than 40 feet from my house, pole was about ten feet tall. Had to remove a lot of sparrow nests until the martins found it, but I did have martins move in. They were beautiful to watch fly for sure. Unfortunately they would dive bomb anyone that came anywhere near, maybe with a taller pole that would not happen? They would fly silently up behind you, then squawk right as they went past. I knew I would not put up the house the following summer when I saw my neighbor, who was working on his boat in his driveway, swinging his landing net at one that was diving at him. From watching them, they would mainly catch dragonflies to feed to the young ones. By the time the mosquitos came out at dusk, the birds were all done flying, so they did not help with mosquitos. This was just my experience. A lot of people have houses and enjoy them, my guess is that if the pole was higher maybe the birds would not see people as a threat. I still have the house, if I ever move to a lake I will try it again.
    •   Yep you are right. I did go to the Sportsman's warehouse up in Anoka and St Cloud when they were here. 
    •   I think you are thinking of Sportsman's Guide- they are in south st. paul,  Sportsman's warehouse was in Woodbury.