How To Catch Fish In A Lake? (Lake Fishing Tips & Techniques)

| Published On: is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
Cover Image of how to catch fish in a lake

The still blue waters, the fresh breeze and, the feel of soil against our boots, lakes are undoubtedly the best places to carry out the act of fishing.

It’s just not about the aesthetics of the place, but it’s also about the kind of catch that you can find over there, well people if you are a beginner and you are not sufficiently experienced to tackle the harsh waves and water flow of a river or an ocean then lakes are the best destination for you.

The still water is not just serene and beautiful, but it’s also a great meeting ground for many of the freshwater fishes such as trout, there are fewer chances of you not finding anything to bring back home.

Lakes are also the kind of water bodies that have ample supply for fishes to feed on, such as plant food and algae, so yeah, there is a good chance of you finding a big catch in your first go.

We can judge that lake fishing is an excellent opportunity for a healthy and flavourful picnic outside with friends and family, it’s unique, everybody loves fresh air, and hey! Who doesn’t like freshly cooked fish?

We can’t deny that the flavors of something that we hunt on our own are way more intense and delicious than store-bought food, and you are getting a great deal on exercising too.

It’s a win-win situation for everybody, but there are some things that you need to keep in mind before deciding on going fishing in a lake.

What Would You Need To Carry Out Fishing In A Lake (The Basics)

Apart from the picnic mats, portable chairs, drinks and, snacks, you would need a whole set of things only designated towards fishing. Before even making up your mind for this adventurous spree, make sure that you have everything ready.

Don’t stress out if you don’t know where to start because that’s what we are here for, to help you have the best time of your life through lake fishing.

A fishing reel beneath a lake

Here is the list of all the possible things that you would need on a fishing spree in a lake:

  1. You would need a fishing license issued from the state because there are some places around the world where fishing in lakes is prohibited due to the fear of extinction of some rare species of fish.
  2. The second most important thing, A fishing rod, and a fishing reel.
  3. You will also be needing a fishing line that can hold up to 4-12 pounds worth of weight.
  4. A set of fishing weights.
  5. A good number of fish hooks (size 6-10 is best )
  6. You will also be needing a cork bobber or plastic.
  7. A set of exciting baits and lures (we would suggest to pick baits according to the kind of fish that is most likely to be found in that specific area)
  8. Last but most important thing, a lot of research. You need to have full information regarding the kind of catch found there so that you can prepare in that way.

Now that your mind is all set and pumped up for an excellent fishing spree, let’s have a look at some tips and tricks that might come handy when fishing in freshwater.

More Reading: How To Set Up A Fishing Pole? – Beginners Guide.

Important Tips To Remember When Fishing In Fresh Water

No matter how much research you have done on a particular topic, you can never know more than the experts, and we make sure that you know it all.

A back of a man while fishing in a lake

We gathered some handy tips and tricks for you that you will be needing to keep in mind when setting foot, or we should say when setting rod in freshwater.

  1. Find the right place. Just like any other living being, fishes also like to be around the places that they find comfort in staying, the kind of in and our drainage outlets that have the accurate temperature for them to stay in, for example, places where water drains and enters the lake.
  2. Make sure to have the right lure. You can’t catch fishes if you don’t have the right kind of bait according to the freshwater fishes. The best part about fishing in freshwater is that freshwater baits are always easier to avail, they are cheap, and you can get them in bulk. We would suggest you keep loads of worms and crickets because freshwater fishes love them.
  3. Always keep the temperature in mind. The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that freshwater fishes love cold temperatures when it’s hot outside, they go deeper towards the surface to cool down. If you fish in more heat, then you need to go deeper, but if you are not a fan of going deeper, then we would suggest you fish at dusk or at dawn when the temperature is lower as compared to the heat at noon.
  4. Fish love crowded spaces. No, they don’t love traffic jams in city life, but instead, they like to feel safe around the water bushes, mangroves, or naturally crowded places where there are sunken trees or something like that are the most ideal places for fishes. This is because they like to feel safe and secured around strong structures.
  5. Keep the weed watch. If you are a fan of big sized fishes and today you came to take that one big fish picture you always wanted, then we know exactly where you need to search. Locate a dense weed bed in the respective lake you are fishing in; big fishes love week beds because they make a great camouflage agent for their prey. Cast your bait in those weed beds and keep them moving so that you can get a big fish to get on your hook.
  6. Always work well on your research. We will repeat this if you are looking for a specific kind of fish, then you might want to trim and change some rules that we set our boundaries on; make sure that you have comprehensive research on everything, including the lake, safety measures, best baits, etc.

More Reading: How does a fish finder work?

Choosing Where To Fish In A Lake?

You should have the right idea about where to fish in a lake because lakes are big bodies of water and if you don’t keep a specific place in your mind then you will surely find yourself with nothing but baits.

When you arrive at your spot, take a good amount of time just for an inspection, see where you can find lowered trees or mangroves like structures.

Different fishes inside a lake

Apart from that, assess and find the possible fish predators; this will act as a natural fish finder because animals like birds who consume fish stay close to the shore where there are a lot of fishes because they can’t dive into the water. This will help you locate the fish with ease.

Apart from that, there are certain factors that you need to keep in mind when freshwater fishing, and those are temperatures, seasonality, environment, and the right water body.


Changing seasons and changing temperatures cause great changes to occur in the behavior of fishes; they act and stay in different parts of the lake according to the season. Let’s have a look into how this affects them so you can have a clear idea of where to look in which season.


Fishes find comfort in warmer bodies of water in winter seasons when the air temperature is low, and the ground temperature is high, they tend to find holes and dents in the surface that have warmer water in them, they hurdle up together in large groups to conserve the heat together.

Painting of a man doing fishing in winters

Also, in winter, the fishes stay close to the feeding places, near deep riverbanks where there is a lot to feed on because they eat way more than they consume in summer because apparently food keeps our body warm.

One more point that you need to keep in mind is that when the warmer the days are, the higher the fishes will rise from those dents to maintain their favorable temperature.


When the temperature rises in the season of spring, fishes tend to move above those holes and into the shallower part of the water, again, keeping in mind that they have to maintain their body temperature.

A boy while fishing in spring season

One more reason that they move to shallow water is giving birth, they spawn in large numbers in spring, but not all fishes do not have to do so; every fish has their own places to reproduce.

This is where your research will help, always target your desirable fish according to their favorite area to spawn.


Summer is a season where you can find fishes almost everywhere because once spring is over and fishes are done with spawning, then they are left with two options, they either move to deeper waters, or they stay in shallow areas.

A boy while fishing in summers

In summer, fishes tend to find shelter like places; you can find them near a dropoff, for example, fallen trees, pillars of concrete, or anything similar to that, even docks.

Now, this depends totally on you on what kind of fish you are looking for; for deepwater fishes, you will need a boat, and for shallow ones, you can work with riverbank fishing too.


If you are someone who does not like to try too hard to find fishes, then fall is not the season for you because fishes move again to deeper waters because of the dropping temperature.

Fall fishing season

In this kind of season, fishes are found near those winter warm holes where water is warmer than the shore, they move farther away from the shore, so bank fishing is not an option at all.


This is for sure a fact that fishes base their movements mainly on temperature rather than seasons, they prefer mild and comfortable temperature, and they dislike extreme temperatures.

Checking water temperature while going for fishing

This is why when the days are hot, you would find them in the cooler part of the lake where there is shade, you would find them deep where water is milder and friendlier.

On the other hand, when the days are cold, you would find them in the part of the lake where the temperature of the water is higher.

We can support this fact with the theory that even if the weather is mild, but suddenly the area faces a condition of a massive heat stroke, even if it’s not summers, the fishes will still move deeper where the water is colder and better for their bodies.


The surroundings play an essential part, too, when it comes to fishes, other than a mild temperature; they need an adequate supply of oxygen and food.

You won’t find fishes in mushy or muddy water where there is not an ample supply of oxygen or food; they like to be in freshwater where there is much supply of food, for example, banks or shores where there is a fair amount of algae and plants.

Also, they tend to stay away from weed beds, where bigger fishes are waiting to feed on them.

Ponds vS Lakes

There is not a vast difference for fishes when it comes to a pond or a lake; this is because they both are water bodies for them where they migrate from deeper water to shallow banks depending on the season and the temperature.

The only difference between a pond and a lake is the size of the water body, a pond is relatively smaller than a lake, and that is something that will affect our fishing because finding a catch in the pond will be much more comfortable than a lake. This is because fishes tend to hurdle up in a pond. After all, they don’t have much space to go about.

Pond vs lake

So if you are a beginner who just wants to have some fish on hand and you are not looking for something big or a specific kind of fish, then ponds are the best destination for you.

But on the other hand, lakes have much better options, and they give a much better experience than a pond.

How To Catch Fish In A Lake

Fishing in a lake is far very different than fishing in an ocean, so you need to make sure that you know all that you need to know for fishing in a lake.

You need to have the proper components, the proper form, and the appropriate patience; you have to make sure that you pick the ideal time to fish.

A big size fish inside a lake

But keep in mind that this information may vary from fishes to fishes, depending on what kind of fish you are specifically looking for.

Down below are some simple points to get you through the primary agenda of how to catch fish in a lake, what things you should keep in mind.

More Reading: What Is Fly Fishing? A Layman’s Guide!

The Right Fishing Gear:

Fishing gear is different depending on the water body, for a river you these components below are preferred:

  1. The right rod always chooses a shorter rod if planning to catch small fish and a longer one for bigger fishes.
  2. Baitcasting reels are the best kinds of reels when fishing in a river.
  3. The size of your hook matters, choose a smaller one for small fish and larger ones for larger fishes.
  4. Make sure that you have the right kind of bait; freshwater fishes love live insects like worms and crickets.
  5. Get the best line, floaters, and sinkers of your preferred choice.
  6. Get a tackle box so that you can keep all your fishing gear in one place.
  7. Make sure you have a fishing license if you need one.

The Right Time Matters:

  1. As we earlier mentioned that the best times for fishing is when the fishes feed that is dawn or sunset when the temperature is mild.
  2. If it’s spring, then always fish in shallow waters where the fishes spawn in spring and where the water temperature is not extreme at that time of the year.
  3. Go deep in summer where the temperature is lesser, and fishes tend to cool off and stay comfortable in the scorching heat.

Making The Perfect Freshwater Rig:

Your rig depends on what kind of fish are you planning on catching and where can you find them, below, we will briefly tell you about the different rigs and where to use them.

  1. A clinch knot is needed to attach the rig to the line.
  2. A basic bobber rig is more comfortable to identify in the water, and a basic rig is excellent for beginners.
  3. If you are planning to cast to the bottom of the water, then always go for the slider rig.
  4. If you want to keep your bait at the bottom, then a three-way rig will do your job efficiently.

Catching The Fish:

Now that you have everything set let’s go fishing! But wait there are more things you need to know before,

  1. Now is the right time to load your bait on the hook.
  2. Bring the rod to your shoulder, hold the rod with your dominant hand, and then make your cast.
  3. Now wait patiently enjoying your surroundings, don’t hurry or panic if it takes longer because sometimes fish are hungry and sometimes they are not.
  4. Pull your rod straight up, set your hook, whenever you feel something pulling on the line.
  5. Now you have no time to lose, reel in as fast as you can to bring back the magic you just caught.

Safety Information For Lake Fishing

No matter how easy it is to fish from a lake as compared to the ocean, there still are some safety hazards that we need to follow when it comes to lake fishing because it does have it’s cons, and you know what they say ”better safe than sorry.”

Safety and process

These tips/safety measures below will make sure that you stay out of any unwanted trouble that you may or might encounter when fishing in the lake.

  1. The first thing you need a full first aid kit that has everything you might be needing.
  2. Insect repellent, insect bite treatment.
  3. Sunblock or sun prevention cream.
  4. Torches.
  5. Big and small bandages.
  6. Radio.
  7. Antibiotics
  8. Other pain medications.

Apart from medical help, you need to keep some precautions in mind,

  1. Always make sure that you are wearing a vest when on the boat because accidents happen.
  2. Lakes are often places where there is a lot of debris, be very sure about your boots, wearing heavy-duty ones so that no glass or metal scrap go through it.
  3. Lakes are often places that are colder than the normal places we reside in, that’s why keeping gloves and jacket is not an option.

Now let’s talk about some safety measures to take when handling fish.

  1. Fishes have sharp teeth and scales when handling them; make sure that you are wearing thick plastic gloves.
  2. Hooks are crucial in fishing, but they can be very dangerous if the cast slips and the hook backfires, don’t let your children go to close to those hooks if they know nothing about fishing.
  3. Untangling fishing lines call for you using sharp knives, before using this kind of fishing knives, have full training on using them.
  4. Don’t ever let your kids or inexperienced people handle knives and sharp objects.

Suggested guides:

Final Verdict:

Fishing in a lake is truly a treat; everybody loves to enjoy the beauty and the calmness of the surroundings along with the delicious hunt luring underneath.

But there are certain precautions and certain things you need to know before you decide to fish in a lake. You need to know a perfect time, the perfect equipment, and the perfect fish to catch.

If you have all the safety precautions in mind along with these points that we educated you about in the following read, then you are good to go for some fantastic fishing spree!

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – How to catch fish at night in a lake?

There is nothing wrong with fishing at night, but there are some things you need to keep in consideration before, keep a good source of light with you and backups for it arrive before it’s dark.

Hence, you have time to set up, keep a company with you, don’t go into mushy or muddy waters, always go slow and never rush, most of all, make some noise and enjoy your time.

#2 – How to catch big fish in a lake?

Rivers are the best kind of water bodies for catching big fishes; all you need to do is make sure you are at the right time at the right place; you have the perfect equipment to handle a heavy fish and, you have live baits because monster fishes love live baits.

#3 – What kind of fish can be found in a lake?

There is a variety of fishes available in a lake, from big to small, from monstrous ones to really tiny ones. The most common river water fishes are Burbot, bass, bluegills, common carp, muskellunge, perch, smelt, and sturgeon. Moreover, there are 150 more species.

Your Author

  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.

Leave a Comment