No matter what you are looking for on your active vacation spree, the thrill or peace, restful time off, or just gazing at some idyllic scenery, freshwater fishing can fulfill your needs. From the creeks and ponds in Alaska, over the large bodies such as some Great Lakes, there is scenery for you to pick all the way to the Amazon River exploration. Also, from simple dock-fishing to the full trolling by a boat, this sport allows anyone finds their favorite activity.
The Basics of Freshwater Fishing
Freshwaters can be appealing spots for their background and setting they are in, whether it’s a forest, a valley, mountainside, etc. The other reason why many people resort to freshwater fishing is the variety of approaches and the dynamic these give to an angler. There are some slow, patient fishing techniques great for reflection, relaxing, and simple contemplating. On the other hand, some more thrilling techniques include catching the fish by hand.
To understand how freshwater fishing works and what fish anglers are most commonly going for, we need to distinguish a few simple things.
Temperature and Oxygen
Before you go to any fresh body of water, you need to learn that freshwater fish can be really picky about their water. The temperature and oxygen content in the water are the most common factors you need to pay attention to.
Depending on the season, the body of water gains or loses temperature, and this (along with other terrain features) determines how this temperature is distributed across layers. The same applies to how rich the water is with oxygen.
For example, during summer, there is a thin upper layer of warm water rich in oxygen. Then there is a layer (usually 2 to 10 feet) of moderately warm water. Its oxygenation heavily depends on the terrain. Finally, under this layer is the coldest layer, for many compelling reasons still rich in oxygen, reaching to the bottom.
Different fish tolerate, or better, different temperatures and oxygen levels. Some like mud and sludge, while others like clean water.
The change of seasons also sometimes introduces turnovers. This usually happens during spring and autumn, when cold and warm water mix until they reach somewhat even temperatures. In autumn, for example, the warm top layer drops in temperature and gets replaced with now warmer layers below it. The opposite happens in the spring. Oxygen levels are the highest during these seasons.
So, depending on the season and the water temperature, you will want to adjust your depth so you can fish for what you came from. Experienced anglers in the area know these patterns very well.
Types of Fish
We can categorize freshwater fish in different ways. Some eat smaller fish, while others like insects. To some, their diet depends on the sludge at the bottom, while others get their food near the surface. This also depends on the seasons.
This is because we can categorize fish into three groups, depending on the water temperature. There’s:
- Coldwater fish: These fish like their water substantially colder than other species. That’s why they withdraw to the bottom during hot months and get near the surface when the weather cools down. In this group, we’ve got trout, some sturgeons, and other ‘winter’ fish.
- Cool water fish: As the name suggests, these fish live and reside in waters that don’t reach extreme bottoms and avoid very warm areas. Most of the time, they are active in the mid-layers of ponds and larger rivers. Northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, or freshwater dogfish are considered cool water fish.
- Warm water fish: To this end, we’ve got the opposite of the cold-water fish, those who like the surface in the summer and hibernate at the bottom during winter. We are talking about catfish, largemouth bass, arapaima fish (one of the largest freshwater fish), bluegill, etc. Freshwater eel also falls into this category.
There are different kinds of fishing, and freshwater fishing shows this the best. Some techniques require more equipment, while others need even less than you’d expect. Here are some:
Styles that need a rod and no special equipment
Dock and Shore fishing: One way you can enjoy fishing is on docks and shores, swinging a rod over your shoulder. This is the safest and the best way to get introduced to freshwater fishing and is even recommended for children.
Fly-fishing: This technique can be delightful, yet it’s considered somewhat less safe. You need a special kind of bait called a fly for fly-fishing and are ready for practicing casting your rod. It’s done in wading waters, usually some safer shallows or on slower, less volatile creeks.
Styles that don’t include rods
Noodling: This is an effortless yet popular technique. To catch fish that don’t like traditional tackle baits, you can simply bait them with your fingers. By standing in the shallows of slower, warmer waters, you can wiggle your finger under the surface and wait for the fish to mistake them for food. Once the fish caught your hand, you take it out of the water.
Spearing: It is an ancient technique for those with quick reflexes. Sometimes you can walk in the shallows with fish all around you passing by. If you are patient and precise enough, you can catch fish using a fishing spear.
Freshwater Fishing Techniques that require a boat
Whether, a large motorboat, a small rowing boat, or a kayak, fishing like this can be loads of fun. This gives anglers more flexibility for fishing, and one whole day can be split looking for different fish, depending on the daytime. It also allows for trolling, dragging baits as the boat moves, and covering larger areas.
What do you need for freshwater fishing?
Depending on what species you are going for, you need a different set of baits, tackles, even rods. You can always consult with local anglers and hear what works best for them, and don’t be afraid to experiment with options to find what’s best for you. This is the check-list:
- Fishing rod
- Net (fishing net or nets for keeping the caught fish)
- Bait rigs
- Baits, tackles, lures, flies
- If you are going boat fishing: finders, electronic gear, bags for storage.
We hope that you’ve learned something new about freshwater fishing and that you feel more confident about getting out there and doing your thing. If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, feel free to leave a comment. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are going through, and have a good one, guys!