Whether you’re an angler that has just moved to a new area, a newbie angler with no idea where to start, or a veteran of the area that has grown bored of your usual spots, we have all at one time or another wondered how to find a new fishing spot. The list below mentions some of the best ways to discover new fishing holes, as well as fishing techniques used in a new area
I have used many of the following strategies myself to find extremely productive fishing holes. I encourage other anglers to give some of these strategies a try, just not around my neck of the woods!
This is my favourite method of discovering new fishing holes. When looking for fishing spots on a river, scroll around the coast until you find a location where the river drains into the ocean. Look up along the river and it’s tributaries, and make a note of any fishy looking areas along the way. With rivers you are looking for larger structure that you can see from the satellite photos provided in Google Maps. Some features of the river to look for include:
- Area’s where tributaries merge with the main river.
- A widening of the rive.
- Obstructions in the river.
Locations where a road intersects the river are of special interest because bridges often make for excellent fishing, and offers easy of access to the water. Many times you can go into street view and look at the river from the bridge right in Google maps! If there is no street view available there may be static pictures of the area that you can also take a look at. If the bridge is in a more rural area, neither street view or pictures may be available and you’ll have to take a drive and look at the potential fishing spot yourself.
The picture above is one of the local mediocre rivers. It is a well known trout river on PEI as it passes through the highway just downstream from this picture. I know I’m not burning anyone’s secret hole by posting it because everyone in the area already knows about it. The image is just a demonstration of some of the things to look for when using Google Maps. I can also tell you that just because an area looks fishy from the satellite image, doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be productive when you get there. You won’t know for sure until you actually go to the river and fish it yourself!
Coastal areas are a bit different than rivers because you are going to look for different features, and the features you are looking varies according to your targeted species. Most fish have preferences relating to current, structure, and depth. If I’m looking for striped bass, rocky shores or areas with strong tidal flows will catch my attention. If I’m looking for flounder, the fishing spots I’ll be looking for will have sandy areas with slight drop offs and some sort of water flow. Sorry, I’m not posting any example pictures for tidal areas because I don’t frequent any coastal areas that are well known, only my secret spots!
Some features to look for in coastal and tidal areas include:
- Wharves and docks, both functional and abandoned.
- Tidal rips.
- Drop off’s indicated by darker water.
If you have a fishing forum in your area, check it out. You’ll be able to easily find the more well known areas, and might even find a more elusive area mentioned by some careless angler! You can ask for help if you feel like it, but I find it more effective to just browse existing posts. The really cool thing about forums is that not only will you find new locations, you’ll learn what lures, flies, and fishing methods are working in the area.
Facebook groups are a variation of fishing forums. A local fishing Facebook group is going to have pictures showing off catches, and my times people will say where they caught it. Fish and wildlife Facebook groups run by government or non-profit organizations will often have information about fishing locations as well.
Fly shops and Tackle shops
Tackle shop owners have a vested interest in you being a successful angler. If you are consistently catching fish, you are much more likely to buy tackle, bait, and equipment from them. The owners will most likely share a few well known, but still quite productive areas with you to ensure you catch a fish and become a returning customer. Many shop owners and employees are anglers themselves, and will keep the very best spots secret.
When you are out on the water, chat up other anglers. It’s a great way for you two to swap experiences and will make you both better anglers. Mention that you’re new to the area, and if the angler is feeling generous he might give you some pointers like favourite local patterns, or even a good fishing spot. If the other angler isn’t voluntarily giving up any information don’t press the issue, I’m sure we can all appreciate having fishing secrets we don’t feel like sharing!
Important! As anglers, we need to maintain some level of secrecy with fishing locations. A small fishing hole can very quickly become overfished if to many people know about it. So If a angler by some miracle shares their secret spot with you, keep it to yourself!
Take a Drive or Walk
Sometimes the best way to track down a honey hole is to go out there and search for it! Take a Sunday drive out in the country to find some new rivers, ponds, and lakes. It really helps if you scout out fishy looking areas in Google Maps first! I tend to do this during times when fishing is sub-optimal.
My fiancée likes to hike, and I have discovered several prime fishing spots while spending a Sunday afternoon on a hike through the woods, or walk down the beach with her. Another idea is to take your little ones to the beach during low tide to look at all the critters in the tidal pools. While they’re marvelling at the pretty shells, sea stars, and funny hermit crabs, you can take mental notes of the structure on the beach. Come back at high tide and fish the promising looking spots.
If you are on vacation, it’s unlikely you have time to discover fishing holes yourself. This is the prime time to hire a guide. They know all the best fishing spots in the area, and all the fishing techniques that are effective in the area. Soak it all in as they are extremely experienced and can teach you so much about casting, presentation, and locating fish. Even if you are not on location it can be worth while to hire a guide because they are so knowledgeable about what works in the area, and you can apply that knowledge to other bodies of water nearby.
When I first moved from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island, I had no idea what rivers to fish, which beaches to try, or even what species to target. I did end up changing my fishing style and that is an important thing to consider if you are looking at fishing in a new area. In New Brunswick striped bass were my preferred species, but the striped bass population on PEI is mostly transient. While there is still striper fishing to be had on PEI, I now find myself targeting the plentiful sea run brookies and steelhead that fill PEI’s spring fed rivers much more often.
While it can be frustrating finding fishing spots in a new area, hopefully these strategies will help you get started. Good luck and tight lines!