GUIDE TO LAKE FISHING
UNDERSTANDING A LAKE
Lake fishing is one of the most incredible experiences to fully connect with nature on all levels. Imagine the morning sun breaking first light just behind the hill, the stars have begun to fade, the light fog is dissipating over the lake revealing a glass like reflection of the morning skies. The air is crisp, and the birds are just awakening. You scout the lake to look for any signs of fish. You see swirls and light splashes in the distance. This is first light and you know the fish are hungry.
There are a few different methods of Lake fishing, these methods can be used in combination with both shore fishing or boat fishing. Your target species will determine what fishing gear will be most effective when lake fishing. Because lakes host many different species, it is important to understand your target species characteristics. This is what will consistently allow you to catch fish, if you understand what depths they are holding at, what they are feeding on you will surely catch fish consistently. This is tried and true.
Just as nature replicates it self in different scales, Lakes are essentially comparable to miniature oceans. Like the sea, lakes range in different depths and widths, from sandy banks to rocky cliffs. Creeks and streams run from glacial mountains, collecting and pooling to create lakes. With the outflow, draining from lakes into rivers, then into the ocean.
Lake fishing is typically much more predictable than river fishing. This is due to the fact that lakes are not affected by tide, water levels or having to guess if a season brings different species.. Fish found in lakes are usually resident fish, meaning they spend their entire lives in the lake other than to breed in streams.
Lake fishing however comes with its own set of rules to learn.
Here are a list of important factors to keep in mind when lake fishing:
- Lake clarity can affect how fish feed. Extremely clear water, will make fish more aware and spook easy.
- While on the other hand if a lake clarity is poor or if a lake has “turned over”, this will deter fish from seeing your offering.
- Extreme hot or cold weather will drive fish deeper in the lake.
- Fish tend to feed in the shallows during morning and evening.
- The mid day sun will typically drive fish into deeper coolers waters.
- Insect life and larvae hatch timing will affect what the fish are feeding on.
- Weather fronts will effect fish from feeding patterns.
One of the most important aspects of lake fishing, is to understand what species live in the lake, and when the most optimal time to target them would be. We will break down the most effective methods, however these methods will mean nothing if you don’t understand the characteristics of your target species. Due to the vastness of a lake, different species can be found in different depths in different times of the season. They may be feeding on different types of insects.
Here are a couple common lake fish species, and what you should know and how to target them:
- Rainbow Trout – Mid & top water – Feeds on insects or minnows
- Lake Trout – Deep water – Feeds on other fish
- Bass – Mid & water – Feeds on insects, minnows, crustaceans, frogs, rodents, fish
- Catfish – Bottom – Feeds on crustaceans, fish eggs, aquatic plants
Fish species found in BC lakes include:
- Rainbow trout
- Westslope cutthroat trout
- Cutthroat trout
- Lake trout
- Eastern brook trout
- Smallmouth bass
- Largemouth bass
- Yellow Perch
- Northern Pike minnow
- Pea mouth chub
For more on fish species click here.
LAKE FISHING TIPS
Now that you understand the importance of the environment and target species, there are a couple things that you can do to increase the chances of catching fish! Again, lake fishing is very predictable, however it is similar to hunting.. If fish are not present, switch up minor things that will entice bites. We have broken this down into a couple different categories:
Shallow water fishing is best during spring and fall. During the summer months, target shallower areas otherwise known as shoals. Fish tend to come into shallower waters to feed as the sunlight provides energy and warmth for insects and small crustaceans. Target water between 6-20 feet. Float fishing with bait or flies will entice passing fish, while casting with lures or flies and retrieving will entice fish to chase down your offering.
When targeting deep water, you will need to switch up tactics. Fish will hold in deeper water when the weather is either very cold or very hot. The best methods, are to fish the bottom with a bottom rig, essentially made up of a sinker and bait. Another productive method is to troll with a lure or fly. By trolling, you are able to adjust your depth to best determine which depth column fish are holding at.
LAKE FISHING METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
There are many methods that can be used when fishing lakes. These techniques are based on your preferred methods of targeting fish. However there are species that can be only caught using specific methods. Learn the characteristics of your target species and then determine the best methods to catch them.
TROLLING ON A BOAT