Are you tired of fishing the same spots in your area? Do you find yourself asking “where are the good fishing spots near me?”
In this article, I’m going to give you 9 unique ways to find unpressured & hidden fishing spots in your area.
These are the same exact methods I use, and they really do work.
Online Map Tool
First on the list is the interactive map by takemefishing.org. Simply type in your zipcode or explore the map to see what kind of fishing spots are in your area.
Theis Map has many features, including:
- Users can search the area and filter for certain species of fish to see what fellow anglers are catching in real time.
- The new Map showcases recent catches, fish species, as well as unprecedented intelligence sourced from expert and fellow anglers.
- Fishing forecasts now show users information on the exact best time to target a fish species.
- Anglers will be able to see exactly what species are being caught in a particular body of water, and find out what methods other anglers are using to catch fish.
- In addition to the variety of points of interest available like Boat Ramps and License Vendors, the Map includes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges and Fish Hatcheries to broaden fishing opportunities for anglers.
NOTE: This tool shows bodies of water that are managed by state and/or federal agencies. Managed bodies of water are monitored to maintain healthy fish populations and habitats, along with safe and accessible boat ramps.
That is a good thing! Managed bodies of water are those that have professional oversight. They may be stocked, have fish attractors, and facilities nearby to support anglers.
Okay next on my list is Google Earth. Do no underestimate this free tool! Here is the method I use to find fishing spots near me:
- Open up Google Earth and type in your zipcode or city. Get familiar with your area by zooming in and out (try and find where you live).
- Next, start to familiarize yourself with scaling. By this I mean, get an idea on the size and scope of certain bodies of water. Zoom in on a lake you are familiar with, or a creek, or the local football field. The point here is to get an idea on the size so you can identify small, hard to reach and hidden areas.
- Now start searching and scanning around for small ponds, lakes, rivers or coastal areas in your area. If you see one you like, add a ‘pin’ to make the location and save it to your favorites.
- After you have a list of 5-10 favorites in your area, check for access. You want to look for roads, highways, bridges, parks or even hiking trails that are nearby. These are usually publicly accessible which means you have a better chance of accessing the area.
- Narrow down your list to your top 3-5 locations and go for a drive! Yep, grab your fishing gear and hit the road to ‘scout’ these areas. Some you may find are not accessible, others may be dried up or posted private property….but you may get lucky and find a GEM!
I’ve lived in the same town my entire life, and I still use this method to find small hidden ponds and lakes in my area. When I say small, I mean less than an acre! (besides those are the ones that hold big fish).
Here is what I really like to look when searching for fishing spots on google earth:
- Areas that are surrounded by vegetation or woods; The harder to reach the better!
- Areas with creeks, ditches or canals that drain in or out. Any kind of water movement is a good sign.
- Visible structure in the water; by this I mean things like fallen trees, logs, stumps, bluffs, rocks etc.
- Boats! Yes, sometimes you can actually see boats on lakes on google earth. If there is a boater, chances are there is some decent fishing.
- Hiking trails or parking areas. These are good sign that public access is permitted in the area which makes fishing much easier.
State Fisheries & DNR Websites
Every state in US, and almost every province or country in the world has some type of wildlife and fish managing authority.
This is usually a Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Wildlife, etc. They are a valuable source of information!
You can find a list of all governing wildlife agencies HERE.
Visit their website, and find the department or branch that managers fisheries in your area. In most cases, they have a ton of resources to encourage and help anglers.
You can usually find interactive maps, rules, regulations, fishing spots, fishing reports etc.
You can even send an email to fisheries biologists who can answer your questions and provide very helpful ecological information.
Here is a sample email you can send to your local fisheries agency to get started:
Hello, my name is <insert name> and I am an angler in this area seeking more information. I am really interested in <type of fishing> and would love to catch a <insert type of fish>. I have tried fishing <insert lake/area> but haven’t had much luck so I am seeking help.
Can you tell me which local waterways in my area have the best habitat to catch <insert fish>, and what you would recommend for bait/lures? Any tips, helpful information or resources you can pass along is much appreciated.
Thank you for your time,
Sincerely, <insert name>
There are a ton of online fishing forums, filled with members just like you. People who love to fish, and want to share pics, information and network with fellow anglers.
Simply go to google and do a search for “Fishing (your area or state) + Forum)“. Chances are there is a fishing forum you can join.
Now, a word of advice: Dont just join a forum and ask everyone for their favorite fishing spot. You will be met with snarky remarks or crickets.
Instead, introduce yourself. Contribute to the forum. Often times these members are filled with folks who’ve been participating for years.
Be kind, exchange information, post some pics and engage with other users. I’ve done this numerous times and made friends, fishing buddies and even participated in events.
Check for a ‘fishing report‘ section where members post there recent catches. Here you can gleam valuable information on what is biting, where, tides, temperature, baits etc.
Social Media (#hashtags)
Ok this one is probably the newest method I use to find fishing spots near me. If you are familiar with most social media platforms, they use the ‘hasthag‘ or ‘#‘ symbol to designate a tag about a particular topic.
For example, on my Instagram page I use the hastag #Bassfishing if I post a picture of a bass.
Well, did you know you can search for hashtags other people post? Open Instagram, facebook, or twitter and go to the search bar. Type in a hashtag about a location or fish your interested in.
If I wanted to see what was biting on Lake Okeechobee, I would search ‘#LakeOkeechobee‘. If I wanted to see salmon fishing content in Alaska, I would search for ‘#AlaskaSalmon“.
Scroll through the posts, sort by newest or most recent and see what people are posting. Send them a friend request, leave a comment, give them a like, etc.
Use this to your advantage…many of these platforms have robust searching and filtering capabilities. The goal is to find other anglers in your area to see what they are catching, saying, reporting, etc.
Local Fishing Clubs
Long before social media, people actually got together to hang out and share pictures and stories, ha!
I’m talking about local fishing clubs. Believe it or not they do still exist and they are an excellent way to meet other anglers in your area.
Contact your local chamber of commerce, community center or check the local paper, craigslist and even facebook. These clubs usually are formed to share a common interest (fishing) and participate in the community.
Fishing Clubs may host local fishing tournaments, fundraisers, clean ups and other contests. If you live in an area where bass fishing is popular, I bet there is a club you can join.
Other club types include fly fishing clubs, fly-tying clubs, tournament clubs, hunting & fishing associations etc.
Just do a little research and see whats in your area and make some friends!
Bait & Tackle Shops In Your Area
Ok this is probably my favorite way to find new fishing spots, and probably the most overlooked method.
Bait and Tackle shops are almost always locally owned, and the employees are usually anglers or have a history of fishing in their family/business.
I always try and support the local bait and tackle shops in my area, and you should too. But consider this: the main customers to a bait and tackle shop are anglers! People just like you and me who love to fish.
So those bait and tackle operators talk to fisherman ALL day. Their walls are often lined with photos and they hear about everything: what’s biting, the weather, best baits, trophy catches etc.
If you show these businesses support, I find they will often support you back. Tell them you are new to fishing and looking for a new area to try. Ask them for a point in the right direction, or where you can catch yellow perch, pike or monster shellcracker.
Give them a call on the phone, ask them what bait they have in stock and what the local report is. These folks are always kind and generous, and willing to help a fellow angler.
The more you support them, the more likely you are to get support (and tips) in return.
In today’s digital age, it should be no surprise there are a number of fishing apps available to anglers.
These apps are available on smartphones, and typically allow you to sign up create a profile and network with other anglers in the digital world.
Some of the most popular fishing apps today are:
I haven’t signed up for any of these Apps myself just yet, but I am thinking about giving Fishbrain a try as it seems to be pretty popular.
Okay, last but not least is the good old fashioned way to find fishing spots, and that is networking.
Yep- talking to people!
Start with your co-workers, close friends and neighbors. Maybe one of them has a boat in the driveway? Ask them about it.
Or next time your at the grocery store, and you see someone wearing a fishing shirt, say hello and ask them if they like to fish.
In my experience, fisherman usually love to talk about fishing. It doesn’t take long and we’re breaking out our phones showing pictures of recent catches.
Now, dont go and expect to get secret spots from strangers…the point is be yourself and build rapport. Network, talk to folks, be polite, interested and engaging.
You never know, that person may live on a private lake, or is looking for a fishing buddy for the next tournament. They may be selling a boat, or looking for advice too.
As anglers, we are always looking for that ‘secret spot’ or that ‘best lure’ to catch the next big fish. I get it, and I know what its like to fish the same spots over and over.
Put your thinking cap on, and use some of the methods in this article to really analyze your area. I guarantee there are fishing spots you have overlooked.
I enjoy researching and exploring new areas. Are some of them a bust? Sure. But thats part of the process.
Keep an open mind, engage, network and use the technology available today and there is no reason you can’t find some great fishing spots near me (you!). Good luck!
Thank you for reading this article. If you haven’t guessed yet, I love fishing and everything about it.
To see a full list of the exact fishing gear I use, visit my TACKLE FAVORITES and get ready to catch some fish!