The New Water Challenge, Part 1

It’s a problem we all face at some point. Whether you fish from the bank, from a boat, canoe, kayak….. How can I find and catch fish on a body of water I’ve never seen before. How many times have you been overwhelmed because you’re at a new lake and you just can’t seem to figure out where they are? The longer you fish, the less you catch and the more frustrated you become. Let’s break down some things I’ve picked up over the years.

To give a short back story of myself, I’m born and raised in North Carolina. The heart of bass fishing country. Clay stained water and power fishing was all I grew up to know. A few years back, I made the move to North Idaho, specifically Coeur d’Alene. Beautiful country side and gin clear lakes abound. Granted Lake Coeur d’Alene is rated high on the national lake rankings, I had never been on a body of water where you could see the bottom, in detail, in 30 feet of water.

I took out on my own and began fishing with the lures I had accumulated over the years. Crank baits, swim baits, jerk baits, all in that tried and true shad pattern. I ran the gamut of my arsenal, in places where fish, probably, would never go. I was frustrated to say the least. But like all avid fishermen, I persevered.

Talking with a few anglers who had experience on the lake, I found out that the main forage of the lake wasn’t even shad. I grew up believing that every lake had shad. 90% of my tackle was some form of shad color. This gave me insight into my first problem. Don’t assume that what you know about one area is true for the rest of the population. Just because your honey hole back home is filled with blue gill doesn’t mean your new spot is going to be loaded with that same forage.

Be mindful that with a new body of water has new conditions, new forage, and new structure that those new fish relate to. Get a head start on you’re new lake. Talk to the guys at the ramp, or other people nearby that might have a clue as to what these fish are eating. I find that most anglers are willing to lend some information to help a fellow fishermen. We’re all after the same goal and that’s catching more fish.

Stayed tuned for the next post, where I’ll get into techniques and fishing your strengths. Just because you think you should be doing something you’re not accustomed to doesn’t always translate into catching fish.

-Alan B. Talbert, Staff