Out of all the hobbies fly fishing feel the most rewarding.
One of the hardest things i’ve had to do was get out of my comfort zone by looking for different fishing spots. For years, my friends and I have been going to the same place, same time of year fishing for the same fish.
It extends beyond this, not only was it the same body of water but it was at the exact same spot. We called it ‘the spot under the tree’. By default, we all knew what this meant.
It was during year 3 of our fishing trips that things took a hit. Something had changed. We weren’t catching trouts where we normally did. No matter what bait we used, nothing seemed to work. Our season ended with very few catches.
That same summer, I decided to look for new places. Here are my 4 simple steps to successfully find new fishing spots:
Visit the local fishing bait shops near you
Here’s how both parties benefit when you visit your local angling store.
- They gain your business
- Help you finding a fishing spot
In the last few years, my city has dropped from 4 local bait/tackle shops to only 1. There’s no doubt that the online stores have driven most of these out of business.
Every dollar you spend helps not only them, but it as well helps the region you live in. It eventually gets recirculated in other local businesses.
You’re clearly not here for a business lesson, so I won’t bore you with more details on that.
Here’s the second reason as why you should visit your local angling store. They are a library full of information!
When I first started fly fishing, I couldn’t find many online guides so I had to resort finding information from people around me who knew the sport.
Downside to this, I was the first one out of my family and friends to start fly fishing. So the resources in my circle were very, very limited!
Of course, you can always skip this process and look at buying fly rod outfits (kit) and get a well balanced system from the start.
When I arrived there, I went straight to the front desk. I explained how I have my fly rod and fly reel but didn’t have anything else. They asked me to bring them both in the shop so they could better help me.
I did exactly that, my next visit was with my fly rod and reel in my right hand. They gave me a breakdown of what the numbers mean on my fly rod.
They also helped me pick out the correct backing, fly line, tippet, and flies for my next fishing trip. To top that, they also told me a few spots they fly fish at!
Join fly fishing guides near you
Based off my experience, one of the best way to learn fly fishing and fly fishing spots in your area is by joining a fly fishing guide.
They help you by providing services such as:
- Give you the basics on fly fishing equipment
- Show you different types of casting techniques
- Finding hot spots for fishing
Before I joined a local fishing guide, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t cast properly, nor was I using the proper presentation for where I was fishing.
I also wasn’t aware that there was different kinds of casting techniques. I wasn’t aware of the roll casting technique at the time.
After being taught this by my guide, I was able to go in waters with no back exposure. Places like this are harder to fish in. There’s normally more fish in areas like this because they are less disturbed by fly anglers.
I had the privilege of going out with a fly fishing guide a few times. This was amazing because each outing, we visited a new fishing spot.
It’s always best to go out with a group of people during fly fishing guides because it’s normally cheaper.
Follow fly fishing pages on social media
The easiest way to gain more information is by following fly fishing pages on social media, especially the ones that are local.
If there isn’t any social media accounts about fly fishing locally, you could always follow regular fishing accounts.
The reason why it’s preferable for these accounts to be local is that more often than not group members and even admins post fish pictures. Depending on the person posting, they either show where they caught the fish or they leave clues as to where they’re fishing.
I live in a small city with few fishable waters. So in the pictures I always look for anything in that stands out. For example heavy forestry, bridges, sidewalks, river/ stream width, and/or the calmness of the water. Depending on the combination of these, it’s fairly easy to identify where this person is fishing.
In most cases, fish bite in multiples, which means if you catch one you’re more than likely to catch another one nearby.
This is also a good place to meet local anglers. It’s an easy way to make new friends. Both parties enjoy the same hobby. Sharing each other’s expertise is the easiest way on improve your game, and of course the most important, find new fishing spots.
Use Google Maps to find your next fishing spot
This is personally my favorite way of finding fishing spots near me. I can open Google Maps at any time of day and scope out new fishing spots.
Here are my three simple steps that you could use:
- Search (DUH)
- Scope out location and its surroundings
- Places to avoid
Open google maps on your computer, tablet or phone. Search for your city. Then look for where there’s water by zooming in on rivers and streams.
I start in a 5 kilometre radius of my house and then move outwards by multiple of 5 kilometres each time. There’s no tactical reasoning to this other than I’d rather fish near me so I don’t spend too much time on the road.
While searching, I try to find bridges on the water. The general public tends to avoid waters like this because they don’t have anywhere to park their car or because of the traffic noise.
Once you found a potential location in step 1, the next thing is to actually scope out the location and its surrounding.
A lot of times I will start my new journey under bridges. As mentioned earlier, most anglers will simply avoid this because of lack of parking.
In the places i’ve visited, I see a lot of younger generations in areas like this that travel with bikes. So although a lot of anglers who drive avoid this, others who bike will often visit these places.
Sometimes parking can be a good 5-10 minute walk away but it’s important to remember that if you find the walk annoying, others will too. Which means that some anglers will be discouraged to even attempt fishing there.
But once again, I prefer to use bridges as a starting point and not as an actual fishing spot, mainly due to the traffic noise.
I often will walk the stream for another 5-10 minutes until I find a decent spot. A spot that’s hidden and not easily accessible. A spot that your average angler lacks the motivation to adventure to.
My first cast usually happens when I find a spot with: medium lighting, lots of vegetation, little noise, bushes or trees in the water. This is where I find the most catches.
It’s important to look for fishing locations that will have fish.
Here’s what I try to avoid when finding my next fishing location:
- Fishing spots near parks
- Fishing spots under bridges
- Fishing spots with parking spots nearby
You’ve probably already guessed it, but the best fishing locations are usually in quieter environments with little to no human contact.
The key is to stay resilient. Just because you didn’t catch in your first couple of visits, doesn’t mean there isn’t any fish.
As a fly angler, you need to understand that not every trip will result in fish being caught. It doesn’t hurt to visit the same spot a few times before looking for a new spot entirely.
Figuring out how find new fishing spots is a really important skill that every fly angler needs to have. Being able to find new fishing spots can be the difference between you hating or loving the sport.
Visiting local angling stores near your location is a win-win situation. You give local small businesses a chance to prosper while they feed you with a wealth of information. The workers have fished local waters for many years before you, so they tend to know a few good fishing spots. Most are also willing to share these spots as well.
By joining fly fishing guides, you not only learn how to properly fly fish but you also find decent fishing spots in the process.
I follow a few local fishing pages on Facebook. I’ve met a few local fly anglers that I fish new waters with. I also often see posts on when local stores have fishing gear on sale. My last waders were bought this way.
Using technology will separate you from the average joe. Using Google Maps to search for your next fishing spot is probably the easiest way to be a great fly angler. While searching, remember what places you should avoid as you won’t have too much success. Also, you won’t always catch on your first or even second visit, so it’s imperative to revisit certain fishing spots.