An article about lake fishing tips may seem a little redundant, as most fishing principles apply nearly wherever you find a body of water that has fish somewhere in it. Nevertheless, lake fishing, as common and convenient as it is, can be more enjoyable if you know a few key techniques, which may or may not apply to fishing in other bodies of water. Chances are good that there are a number of lakes nearby where you can take advantage of these concepts, and increase your success in catching whatever it is you may be fishing for. 

Location, location, location

Most amateur anglers don't have thousands of dollars to invest in sonar equipment, high speed bass boats, and other such toys when it comes to pursuing a hobby that will only occupy a handful of hours out of every year. Long before such technology existed, however, people were still successful in fishing freshwater. Knowing where the fish hideout is an enormous benefit, and can turn a morning or afternoon at the lake into a vivid, colorful and fun experience.

-Look for foliage and other forms of cover that fish may use to mask their movements. Logs, trees, branches, and weeds are excellent hideouts. Rocky areas are also good. 

-In hot weather, fish dive deeper to stay cool. Attach a sinker and let your bait drag along the bottom of the lake. If the water is murky, fish will be drawn to the movement more so than the coloration of your lure. Topwater lures do well drawing the fish to the lake's surface, especially when they generate some kind of noise or vibration.  

-In cooler weather, check the shallower parts of the lake. Fish may be warming themselves closer to the surface. For more considerations regarding fishing during different times of year, read this (links to a previous article). Switch to a topwater rig for a little added excitement! 

-If visibility is high, stick with live bait or realistically colored bait. Although you may have some success with brightly colored, glow in the dark lures from time to time, fish generally know what their food looks like in normal conditions. In clear water, they'll be hunting with both sight and feel. 

-On windy days when the lake is choppy, top water lures, fast moving spinners, and rattlers tend to work well, as fish have a difficult time distinguishing artificial bait from real food closer to the surface. 


It's no secret that the most active feeding times of the day in lake water are dawn and dusk for a lot of fish. Specifically panfish such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, and crappie, as well as large and smallmouth bass. As mentioned, the fish will move around depending on the water's temperature for several reasons, be if for feeding purposes or to stay warmer or cooler, making lake fishing during the afternoons potentially less productive.

This is especially true if fishing pressure one the lake is high. Fishing pressure is the phenomena that occurs when fish are exposed to a considerably high number of artificial lures and frequently being caught as a result of, well... fishing. Many public lakes will be less enjoyable to fish at during the popular fishing months because so many  people are going out to fish so frequently. As you might expect, this is mostly true for the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months before the temperature drops. If you want the best fishing experience during these times, try night fishing if you're at a public lake, or see if there's anyone you know who owns a private lake that would be willing to give you time on the water. 

Good luck!