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Using Maps To Locate Active Fish

This article is provided by our great friends at Fishidy, your digital fishing guide with 1000s of online waterway pages, Fishing Hot Spots® maps, local reports, and tools to help you catch more fish!A great way to make your next fishing trip more productive is to dedicate time to understanding and using fishing maps. But what should you look for, and how will maps help you locate active fish? Here are some tips to help get you started.

Read Between the LinesOne of the most valuable features of fishing maps are contour lines, which show bottom depth in gradients (usually of 5 or 10 feet) from the shoreline all the way to the deepest part of the waterway. The key to reading contours is understanding the space between lines. The wider the space between lines, the flatter and more gradual the slope of the bottom of the waterway from one line to the next. The narrower the space, it’s just the opposite – steeper and more of a quick drop-off. Use this knowledge to your advantage at specific times of the year depending on the species of fish you’re targeting. Most often fish will move along the shortest routes from deep to shallow to feed, spawn and take shelter. Narrowing down these areas on the map is a key to success.

Identify “Hot Spots”There’s an old saying in fishing that 90% of the fish are found in 10% of the water. The ratio might not always apply, but the principle is absolutely true. Learning to identify fishing hot spots on a map can make your time fishing a whole lot more productive.Look for areas on the map where there is potential for “structure”, defined as anything that breaks the normal flow of water or bottom composition. Structure could be visible elements such as emergent grasses, lilypads, rocks, bridge pillars, and current breaks. But structure is not always easily visible. Fishing maps can help you identify underwater humps, deep holes, fish cribs, submergent vegetation, and underwater rock piles. Many times these are the areas where you will find fish, and learning to read and trust your fishing map will be the difference between getting skunked and heading home with a boatload of fish!Hopefully, these tips will lead you to more and bigger fish. To begin planning your next fishing adventure and gain access to thousands of fishing maps loaded with contours, tips, and fishing hot spots sign up for a free account on Fishidy!Good luck out there and tight lines!

Updated March 8th, 2019 at 9:48 AM CT