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Geocaching in on fish

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Geocaching in on fish

Scott Brauer

Want to find the gold coins at the end of the rainbow on the ice??? Sometimes the search begins before leaving home. With a simple Google image search of the lake you are fishing that day and a little preplanning, you may be able to make your most productive moves on a lake from your easy chair. Check out the zoomed in image of the lake below and let’s see how we can “Cach in”.

Using Google images to “catch” fish is not that hard. Fish are creatures of habit and we can take advantage of that by understanding how and where they move. One way to do that, is drill out an area and to do some old fashion leg work. Searching the old way wastes valuable time on the ice and the way I explain below can be done before your creepers hit the ice.

Open Google and search for your lake. Then turn on satellite and zoom all the way in on the areas of the lake that you are fishing. Follow my logic using the map above and then mark the areas of interest to start that day.

1 Crosspoint of travel corridors

Finding a spot like this on a lake can be gold. Hot holes are no accident and if we recognize what makes them occur it is easier to be the one on the ‘Hotness’. What I marked with 1 is an area that at least four travel routes converge. This area will be productive because with all of the routes coming together new fish will be swimming by all day. If you spook fish by pulling one through a school it is not as big of a deal in a travel corridor. The “new” fish that are always moving in travel corridors do see their buddy heading up to spend some quality time with you, so the hot hole remains hot!

2 Small dark black weedpocket

Large panfish fish like cover so in many cases the biggest fish we flop for the year come out of thick vegetation. Trophy panfish wait outside of small pockets like this to use as attack and retreat feeding spots. They eat well and can make it back to safety with the flip of a tail.

3 Adjacent transition weed bed

This one is more subtle so look again at the map. This is a small patch of weeds just off the large bed. This location can act like a staging area between cover, food and the deep bowl where they will spend much of their day cruising. It also works just the opposite at the end of the day and fish will stop by and see if a food source is present prior to heading back to the weeds for the evening bite. This is a great place to target crappies up high in the water table.

4 Travel corridor

Understanding that fish travel on natural paths through the weeds is essential for a few reasons. First, if you set up on a travel corridor you have fresh fish coming by during the active times of the bite. Second, if there is a feed pocket at the end of a corridor fish the feed pocket and set tipups or tipdowns on the travel routes, because apex predators that we target with those tools like to sit on corridors and attack from cover.

5 Deep water silt bottom bowl

This is an area that we can fish during the slower hours of the bite. Walleyes, Northerns, Perch and Crappies often cruise these open areas looking for food all day long. Silt bottoms hold a variety of aquatic insects and year of young fish that the predators can chase down and eat. The problem is the fish are always on the move so fishing these areas can be frustrating. Try chumming if it is legal in your state to keep fish below you. Another trick is to put down some artificial structure to hold fish in the area longer. I use Reel Weeds from LaDredge Outdoors and create a bed where there is no structure present, you will be surprised how Reel Weeds will attract and hold fish. Again if it is legal in your state I will also crush waxxies and minnows right into the Reel Weeds and that often starts a feeding frenzy.

6 GPS numbers of the middle of the screen

Placing your cursor directly on the area of the map that you want, left click on it. This pinpoints the GPS# and places it in the web address. Write those numbers down and if will give you a spot to start looking that day. The beauty of using Google images is that they update pictures so much more often than lake maps. You are seeing real time weed images usually no older than 18 months.

7 Large weed pockets with sub pockets

Weed pockets with surrounding sub pockets are great areas to drill out and hole hop. If you have cover and holes in the cover you will most likely have fish. As long as the weeds are still alive this area can be one where you set up for the day with the family and as long as you keep moving and fishing different holes in the weeds you can produce big numbers and have a blast with kids doing it. The travel corridors will funnel new fish in and this area and for me would be a must check to see if it is holding fish. The sheer size of it is easy to find and is worthy of some time.

So if you are not a “techno geek” no big deal, ask your grandkids to help you with this technology, chances are they can. If you are, you can also track your route live time on your smart phone and see right where you are on a lake as well. Either way making a plan before you hit the ice and putting it into play when you get there, can maximize your efficiency on the ice and put more fish in your bucket which may be the pot at the end of the rainbow! Go cach in…

I’ll see you out there!

Scott