How to Find Fishing Spots Near You

Ever been stumped on where to fish? In this article, Fishing expert Christian Nelson breaks down exactly how he finds a fishing spot anywhere he goes.

The author holds a fish by its mouth in front of a muddy creek with a sandy bank.

Photo by Christian Nelson

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned angler, you’ve probably had a moment where you want to fish but don’t quite know where to go—we all have. If you don’t know any spots at all, or if you’re looking for a new promising spot to mix things up, there’s always somewhere to go that can get you on the fish! In this article, I’m going to break down exactly how I go about finding a fishing spot anywhere I go, using methods such as doing online research and just driving around and looking.

Before You Head Out

No matter where you are located, always make sure you have everything you need before heading out to a new fishing spot! Make sure to understand all of your local laws and regulations so you know what licenses you need to have. Once you’ve learned the regulations and got yourself a fishing license, you’re all set to grab your tackle box and fishing gear and head off to your new fishing destination!

Good Ole Google

Screenshot of the Google Earth loading screen

The absolute best resources for finding new fishing spots are all at our fingertips these days, and it’s crazy how many fishermen still aren’t utilizing these resources. Our phones hold the answers to nearly everything, and fishing spots are no different.

First, I recommend you start with a Google search to see what that yields. Search something around the lines of “fishing spots near your town name” and see what pops up. You can also try to search things like boat ramps, fishing spots, fishing access points, or shorelines in your town or county.

Searching broad topics like this will often yield some local results, so that’s a good place to start! A lot of areas have public ponds or state lakes in lesser-known state parks that can be great places to fish, and most of them will also have a boat ramp. Your area might also have some lakes and rivers that have been written about online, so you can find some sweet places to fish as well as tips for fishing there!

Sometimes though, you may be in an area that is lesser-known with very little presence on the Web and scarce information in the ways of fishing. When I was younger and just getting into fishing, this was an issue that I dealt with. In a situation like that, finding a good fishing spot becomes much more of a DIY kind of deal. Personally, I always start with a drive around town to see what I can find. In most towns, you pass several public ponds and cross tons of creeks and rivers without any thought, and most of these will hold fish.

Beyond driving around, I highly suggest getting on Google Earth or Google Maps and looking for bodies of water near you. Having an easy-to-use, interactive map can help a lot in your search for a new fishing spot. Good places to check out are any state parks near you or even public parks in your town. Also, look for bridge crossings to find creeks. Then you can follow the creeks on Google Earth to find suitable places to access and fish along them. Public lakes and ponds can be heavily pressured or overfished though, so don’t be discouraged if the fishing is a little slow in those areas.

In most situations, I choose creeks above all other fishing spots. Part of this may be personal bias, but it’s also years of experience talking. Creeks are a perfect place to fish for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they don’t get nearly the pressure that lakes and ponds do—far fewer people are willing to spend a day wading up a creek to fish than they are to sit by a pond and cast a line. The more remote the creek, the better. These areas don’t get very much fishing pressure and can yield great results.

Knowing Where to Look

Sometimes it’s not all about finding a body of water near you, but rather about finding spots in that water that actually hold fish. While every body of water you fish may be slightly or even fundamentally different from the next, the fish remain unchanged.

To put it simply, a fish is a fish, no matter where it is. Largemouth bass in a pond in Michigan are not so different from largemouth bass in a river in Alabama. Sure, maybe there are some differences, but at their core, they are the same. They want the same things — to be comfortable, to eat, and to reproduce when the time comes. With that being said, I’m going to cover some great places where you can look for popular fish, no matter where you are.

The author holds a small fish in his hand.

Photo by Christian Nelson

Bass, Bluegill, and Panfish

Like largemouth, smallmouth, and other freshwater species, bass are fundamentally simple fish to catch, as are panfish. They are very easy to find using logic, and they readily take a wide variety of baits and lures. Simply ask yourself a few questions about the conditions: Has it been cold? Then the fish are probably cold. Is the sun out? The fish probably moved into shallower water because the sun can heat it up more quickly. Coming to logical conclusions can help tremendously when finding a proper fishing spot.

Once you have a good idea of where these fish are in your particular body of water, you can start looking for likely spots to catch them. To finish the example above, we have identified that these fish are in shallow, sunny water. Start looking in areas like that and identify things that would sweeten the deal for the fish. Large rocks or rocky bottoms are a good place to check because they hold heat, and the same goes for logs or other covers in the area. These fish not only want to be comfortable, but they need feeding opportunities as well! That is more of a winter example, but following that thought process will help you find fish anytime, anywhere! Use these strategies the next time you’re out scouring a local lake or creek for bass. Being observant and making conclusions is one of the best ways to get better at fishing!

Trout

While different from bass in most ways, trout also want two main things — to be comfortable and eat well. No matter where you are, if you understand what makes a trout happy and comfortable you’re sure to find a few, especially rainbow trout.

Trout tend to like cool, clear water. As water temperatures rise, the trout require more oxygen, so in the summer months heads of pools and areas with more turbulence that put oxygen in the water are a good place to look for them. Trout love to be near fast-moving water but not directly in it, as this requires lots of effort. Look for things that break the current such as rocks, logs, fallen trees, or even overhanging branches. Current seams are also a great place to fish and they can hold great trout.

Another thing to watch for is where the majority of the foam in the creek is floating. Most of the food is going to float in the same current lane as the foam, so the foam can often show you exactly where a fish will be sitting. The best advice I can give you is to simply be observant!

Whether you need an entirely new body of water to fish or just need some help locating fish where you are now, I really hope this article helped! There are countless fishing opportunities available all around us, all the time. It can be easy to let these fishing opportunities go unnoticed, but hopefully, now you’re prepared to go out and find them! With a little bit of practice finding these spots and recognizing where to find the fish within them, you’ll be out there ripping some lips in no time! If you have any questions or want some help finding the best gear for you, reach out to a Fishing expert here on Curated.

Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
Christian Nelson
Christian Nelson
Conventional Fishing Expert
I have been fishing for pleasure for over 10 years, fishing tournaments and doing some guiding as a side gig along the way. ​ I have caught 50+ species of fish, from rainbow trout to giant sharks, and from bass to monster bull redfish. ​ I have a wide array of knowledge to put you on fish, no matter...
View profile

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy