Welcome to Panfish!

Part One Hundred-seventeen

Warm Water/Fresh Water Chat
Host NorthLander (substituting for Fritz Fratz)
Monday. 6-8 p.m. PST (9-11 EST)

Reading Lake Maps

By Host Northlander

Lakes contain a certain level of mystery. When you look out over a lake there are very few indicators as to what lies below. A stop at the bait store or boat rental may get you some information, some of it may even be factual. You will probably hear stories about the big fish that was caught out by the point or just off the weed bed yesterday or last week. You may, after asking some questions, get information as to where to go look for specific species of fish, though the information will be vague and not to the point.

If, armed with this information, you go out fishing, you will find that you haven't been told the whole story. Maybe on that specific day you'll catch fish maybe not, but I know that if you catch fish on that spot on that day, each time that you return diminishes your chances of catching fish.

You need to expand your knowledge of the lake. You need to know, if the fish aren't where you left them where did they go? You need to be able to develop a plan to find the fish in the shortest amount of time.

By learning to read a lake map you will be able to form a plan as to how to fish the lake. Maximizing the amount of time that you are "fishing" and minimizing the time spent "washing flys/lures". Each time that you return to the lake will be productive time spent ruling out areas and finding the fish.

My point is that the fish are not in the lake. The lake is a giant ecosystem that the fish are part of. When something effects that ecosystem, it effects the entire system. Now don't think that I am talking about external effects only. We all know there are plenty of those. I am talking about the natural effects of the water warming or cooling. The weed growth as it develops and then dies back. A big natural effect where I live is the three to six feet of ice that develops on the lakes. This is as much a part of the lake as the fish are, so starting now, start thinking of the lake as one ecosystem and how these changes are going to effect your fishing.

Through the month of September the discussion on the Monday Night Warmwater Chat (check schedule for your local time) will be reading lake maps. If you feel that you have something to learn, join us. If you feel that you have something to contribute, join us. You are most cordially invited! (I know where the bass are.) ~ Host Northlander

Publishers Note:
The article begun last week, Early Autumn - Bluegills, will be continued next week.

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