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mjhowe

Do you follow the "hot bite", or stick with "Your" Lake(s)?

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Im curious, and I also thought this may help out some of the "newbies"...

For the majority of the season, do you listen to all the gossip, whispers, rumors, etc about the latest hot bite and bounce from lake to lake to lake, or do you stick with a couple lakes and really pick em apart? I seem to have a lake or two that are my "go to's", but I also enjoy exploring new areas.

Here in MT, we have no such thing as a comprehensive supplier of lake maps, no chips for our GPS's, except for a handfull of the larger lakes that are either open water all year...or too dang far away. We can get our hands on some decent maps for about a dozen or so lakes, conveniently a lot of them are local to me. Of course they are just maps, no coordinates, just contour lines and depth marks. So, if I want to hit a small lake for the first time, I am limited to reading the shoreline, trying to get a grip on what the contour lines MIGHT be under the ice, drilling a whole bunch of holes and getting to work with the sonar. That in itself is a REAL challenge, but its a rewarding one when it pans out...

On the other hand, I can just go hit one of "my" lakes, follow my GPS marks and usually get on fish. But its not always about just catching fish, especially if I have some fillets in the freezer...(I am incredibly blessed to have a wife who LOVES to eat fish, and while she is not an avid angler, she is always happy to have me go fishing, as long as I keep the freezer stocked. She obviously knows what keeps me, and at the same time, her, happy!)

So, whats it all about for you...just going out and hammering them every time, or the joy of discovering new waters while following the "hot bite"? Do you fish the same lakes because of the success rates, maybe the fellow anglers that hang on the same waters, and the comraderie that represents? Or maybe its the lake thats closest to your favorite "watering hole"?

What is it about chasing the hot bite on an untested water that keeps you driving further and further from home each time out? Or keeps you buying new maps each week, and meeting new friends evry time out? Or perhaps you just want to be alone each time you go, and the heck with everyone else? What is it that makes you do what you do...?

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Mike, lake maps are nice but long before they were available I relied on much the same as you. Read the shorelines and get to know a lake. I'll go one further and say I've spent many days on the water without sonar. In fact on a new lake I'd make a mental map of the lake by testing depth with an anchor. I might lift and drop that anchor a hundred times in one area before I wet a line. Thats something I wouldn't care to do in this age but as a teenager it wasn't bad.

I'll go on to say although it was a lot of work back then I knew that that work would pay off in the end.

So you might not have a lake map but you do have your sonar.

Back to reading shorelines. Even with lake maps and sounders being able to read shorelines and lake bottom makeup is still a tool I fall back on constantly. Knowing how to play the wind and weather on those shorelines is even more important. The years fishing without sonar has made me very good at keeping my rigs just off bottom and the ability to follow contours. Putting all that together with sonar and lake maps is a huge plus.

As to your question do I like familiar lakes, yes I do because I've worked had to get to know the lake and its patterns. I also fish lakes that are a work in progress.

On top of that I like adding a few new lakes every year to list to get to know. One main difference is I like lakes that haven't been patterned by anyone else or at least by someone that has let the cat out of the bag. Those lakes usually are remote with very little pressure. Lake map or not as long as I have a sounder to find breaks and structure and can read the shorelines and play the wind and weather thats all I need.

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I have a couple of "go to's" that are close to home but I bounce around from lake to lake quite a bit. Not usually because of hot bite rumors or gossip and things like that. I just like to try new things and try to find find my own honey holes.

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I tend to avoid chasing the 'hot bite'. Often times, this leads to crowding and close in combat type fishing. This is totally against why I usually go ice fishing - I want a little peace and quiet. Thus, I like to fish areas that don't have the crowds.

I have done well (and had a good time) in some crowded areas. More often than not, I will choose a lake or area that is not getting the intense pressure. I enjoy the satisfaction of scatching out some good fishing in an area that has not been touched yet.

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I kind of have a seasonal "rotation" of lakes I've fished in my life that I've had success on. By looking back at journal entries I can usually stay on a bite somewhere. I rarely chase the bite, except when the information is recent, and by a trusted friend.

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Great post and topic Mike!

Personally I have a number of waters that I consider "go-to". Take the Red River for example, the action for huge 'eyes can be so incredible you simply can't pass it up. On the other hand I have always found great pleasure in exploring new waters as well. Near the end of March, I along with eleven others are heading up to north central Manitoba's Reed Lake in pursuit of trophy lake trout and gators. Never been to Reed before and I'm looking foreword to the challenge! In more recent years much of my efforts are being diverted toward Lake Winnipeg. She's an inland sea that is infested with a huge variety of fish species. Best of all there's very little angling pressure on this massive system! Depending on your location, there are days when you do not see another human as far as the eye can see! I have always been one to go forth to see what's on the other side of the hill, simply put I guess I'm an explorer at heart. Lake Winnipeg allows me the luxury of exploring and learning, it can be a different experience every time out! Unfortunately GPS chips are not available for Manitoba Lakes. Everything we do is accomplished by drilling holes and marking valuable waypoints, or by marking waypoints during the open water season and then fishing them during the hard water season. Either way it's always a refreshing and challenging and I wouldn't change a thing even if I could!

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I never follow the "hot bite". I always go on lakes with few to no people on them. I drill holes and check depth and fish until I find some fish. Once I find them I usually bring the old man with a few times and then I start on a different lake. For me it is exploring new lakes and trying to figure the fish out.

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Like many others here, I prefer to get to know a couple lakes and stay with them. I think that is ultimately more productive, and for me, more satisfying. Besides, like my Dad always says, if you're not the one doing the telling of the great fishing story, it's already too late! smirk.gif

Tim

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Some excellent replies...Catmendo...Sounds like your Manitoba fishing is just like Montana fishing! What gets me is...I may spend a half day drilling holes...searching for fish...find the right set up...move around till we find the spot on the spot...and then some ol'timer will walk out with a bucket and a rod...look around for a bit...drill one hole with a hand auger...and start slayin' em!!! That gets me evry time!!! Course they probobly been fishin that lake for 50 years and they dont NEED a GPS to know when they are where they need to be!!!

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I am one who is interested in the hot bite but rarely follows up on it. It seems as if once you have heard of it it is already too late or everybody else and their cousin is there. Point being... It is good to have your ears pealed and the wisdom to know whether or not it's worth your time. Hard water season is quite different in that aspect in my experiance. I do have a perm out and it's close to home for my short outings and it is dependable as far as not getting skunked but if if something comes up and it's feasable... if the wife gives the ok... I'll be there. It is very rewarding though to find your own new original hot bite. Unfortunately it doesnt happen often enough.

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