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Map Study

1613 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Ouachita
I know most of you folks are scattered all across the country, but I am curious as to what you look for on the maps when you are going to a new lake or an old place for that matter. There has been some very insiteful discussions on another forum and I am just wondering what everyone here looks for?
I normally fish in deep water lakes and these lakes here in East TN are shallow compared to what I used to fish. I know some of the folks here try to fish the vegetation alot, but I am not accustomed to that yet. I look for drops or humps and try to locate the fish from there. Since the brush and things like veg. are not noted on the maps, what would I need to look for?
Thanks for the input.
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one of the things I like to look for on a map are shallow areas where at the mouth of it the countour lines bunch up very close together.
Another thing I like to look for is in the spring and to find the northwest corner of all the creeks and coves and look for shallow areas where I can see the creek channel comes closest to the flat.

(oops at work and gotta run.. will try to list off more that I look for when things calm down at work again :) )

I look for the longest points I can find. What I look for is a channel or ditch close to it. I try to find significant drops on the point that are at least 2-3'. During spring and fall, I target creeks. I look for coves that have a channel running through them. I always have a large flat as a back up. Flats are like McDonalds. They are a quick food stop for Bass and if you pay attention and check them throughout the day, they'll eventually load up. I prefer grass flats that are consistently 12- 15'. I am not very good at finding offshore humps yet but I am working on that.
I always follow the creek and ditch channels on the map while looking for sharp turns near the bank or points, any sharp drop-offs near these turns or areas that are close to the bank, points which have a channel of some kind on both sides can be ideal, points that extend way out into the water and specifically an extended point which comes back shallow with a saddle in between humps, secondary points in larger coves, ditches that peter-out up onto a flat, and depending on the time of year for which side of these place you should be looking based on temp. and direction of the wind on a particular day. Look for old road beds with drop-offs on either side. Also if you have current you need to predict where you will find any kind of eddies flowing around points, humps, and sharp drop-offs. Remember to mark your maps for future reference when you do find something worthwhile.
I like a hard bend in the river channel, fish the inside of the bend. I also like a flat close to a creek or river channel or some significant depth change. I look for little over looked creeks that flow into the main lake.
Those are really good choices already.

I find out whether water is let through a dam, and if they do that I'll look for narrow necks in the lake where current will be magnified. Bass line up along ledges facing up current, and will line up immediately upon sensing water movement from power generation. If possible I get the generating schedule from the dam operator. Sometimes two major ridges will almost meet across a lake where a small dam could have been built to make half a lake. A real hot spot any time of year.

Next, if I plan to be fishing shallow flats and main lake pockets I look for sharp arrow-like contour line stacked tightly indicating a ravine or ditch that drained a flat that might have been a corn field. I love to fish cut-throughs on the edge of a flat. I also want to mark wherever deep water >20' is within 50' of the edge of a flat. More mature bass will feed in those places, wanting a quick escape route to safety.

If fishing offshore I look for cones of contour lines indicating humps. Once in the area more humps usually show up on sonar than show on a paper map.

Any darker area on a map indicating contour lines very close together draws my attention, as bass relate to steep slopes where they can pin baitfish against the bottom more effectively. A prime one to find is a bluff on shore with a creek channel passing by, locating where the creek channel bends to a bluff, and bends away past the end of a bluff.

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