Understanding Maps of Lakes

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by ronnycl, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

    Messages:
    36
    State:
    NW/MS
    I am going to be fishing the TN River/Pickwick Lake and was interested in thoughts for what to look for when viewing the map of a lake. I can distinguish different depths, channels, old logging roads by the map, but what would look for in fishing unfamiliar territory. Best areas to target first!
     
  2. CatBusster

    CatBusster New Member

    Messages:
    295
    State:
    Out Fishing
    First port of call is fishing where you see or sound out the fish, you can then identify any routes between structures and then set your traps along any patrol routes or go about creating areas of activity in and around where the fish are hanging out. The weather is important and wind depending on the depths, dont forget the moon cycle as i think it can be the difference between catching and not catching
     

  3. Matt Smith

    Matt Smith New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Tennessee
    You can look at a map all day long but it won't tell you what a sonar will. Drift the channel and look for the dropoffs. Make note of which dropoffs are holding fish and find out why the fish prefer that location over others. Be on the lookout for baitfish over the big guys. This time of year, they most likely be in the deepest water around.
     
  4. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,538
    State:
    Greer, SC
    Name:
    Pat Chaney
    Also look for structure like flooded timber, or old bridges. And places that have drop-offs close to channels or creeks. Cats love places where they can hide and ambush food. During cold months, they will often swim up onto flats where the water is warmer after a few sunny days. Now go get 'em! :0a23:
     
  5. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Understanding how fish relate to structure and feeding patterns makes a map as good as an underwater camera.
    Structure isnt just a stump, it could be a hole, a flat, creek channel or channel intersections.

    Make a plan of attack using your map. Mark 5 spots you want to fish and dont deviate. This will help you develope patterns and gain confidence in what you are doing.
     
  6. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    What part of the lake are you planning in fishing? And what time frame are you looking at being here?
    This will help give you an ideal on where to look.
    Pete


     
  7. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    As you've gathered from the above posts, structure is important. One of the nice things about having a map is that you can use it to narrow down the places to look for fish. Learning to use the contour lines on a topographical map can help you in this. Contour lines close together indicate a steep slope; if they are on top of one another, that indicates a bluff. Where contour lines are far apart indicates a flat area. Generally, a shoreline topographical feature will continue on out into the water (but not always). So, a shoreline bluff would indicate deep water; a flat shoreline would indicate a shallow flat for some distance out from shore; and any kind of branch, even a wet-weather branch would often indicate an underwater depression leading out to the main channel. This can be a real hotspot, especially if it leads from deep water to a shallow flat with woody cover.
     
  8. stickthrower

    stickthrower New Member

    Messages:
    313
    State:
    Possum Kingdom Lk, TX
    Another good trick using Lake maps if you are not used to them: Take a day to just ride aound the lake looking at contures, features, ect. that you prelocated on the map so you can get a better understanding of what you are looking at on the map. This way you can compare what you think may be a good spot with a first hand visual. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Frank
     
  9. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

    Messages:
    36
    State:
    NW/MS
    from what I am hearing from the local's as that the catfish turn it on once the water temp reaches 57F. I would have to guess that this would be sometime in mid March. And I am referring to the main lake. The dam to due south waters where MS, AL, and TN intersect.
     
  10. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    I hate to break the bad news to you. but the water temp Tuesday was 50.7 degrees in the main lake and 55 in the north facing coves. So if we don't get some winter it will be 57+ way before then.
    AS for the waters your talking about all that you have to do is drift the rock bluffs above the dam. Savannah side east side of the lake. go up above the first cove and drift along in 60 to 75 ft of water. And hold on. They should be feeding in there great during march and april..
    Pete


     
  11. ronnycl

    ronnycl Member

    Messages:
    36
    State:
    NW/MS
    thanks so much for the help shiloh red, I know exactly where you are talking about. I fished that area last summer with no luck, but I will be there come March. I thought that maybe I was to deep back then.