How to Find the Right Bait Fish for a Specific Lake

How to Find the Right Bait Fish for a Specific LakeLake fishing can appear to be a slam dunk method of catching fish. However, just as mountain trout, pier, surf and other types of fishing have specific nuances so do lakes. Add a specific lake to the mix and you now have a mystery on your hands. One way to narrow your selection of bait fish on a particular lake is to use your investigative skills and determine the favorite foods of the fish that inhabit the lake you want to fish.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Agencies and departments that control fishing
  • Local information
  • Internet access
Step 1
Determine the fish species that are stocked and or naturally occurring in the specific lake. Contact state wildlife agencies, departments of natural resources, parks and recreation departments and municipalities for information on fish species.
Step 2
Research the fish species that are available and for which you will be angling. Learn as much as possible about the life cycle, food, feeding habits and reproduction of the fish. Largemouth bass, for example, will eat snakes, minnows, frogs, large bugs and various pan fish. The more you know the better you will understand what the fish will eat. Knowing that bass eat blue gill, crappie and minnows narrows the search.
Step 3
Contact local business entities including hotels, tackle shops and guide services for current and up to date information. Catch reports, including what baits are working, which can often be obtained from contacting local business, for example bait shops, especially when an angler indicates they are on their way and may be spending money in the area.
Step 4
Arrive at the lake a day ahead of the fishing trip if possible. Conduct in-person research accessing as many different parts of the lake as possible. Watch for feeding habits including time of day activity and where the fish are feeding. Also look for what food is available for the fish you would like to catch. Watch for schooling fish along docks or shallows and attempt to identify their species.
Step 5
Obtain fresh bait from a bait and tackle, for example, in at least two or three sizes and more than one species if possible. Unless the fish you will be angling for is gorging themselves on a particular minnow, it often pays not to limit yourself too much.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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