Fishing Deep Water, Shallow by John Liechty, Page 2

Fishing Deep Water, Shallow by John Liechty, Page 2

like to have their meals nearby. If the shad or any other bait is not present near the bank, the fish will relocate to wherever the food is accessible.

Once we suspect they have pulled off, it’s time to look for indicators to find their whereabouts.

Probably the most obvious is busting/feeding fish. Sometimes these feeders won’t appear until you have put yourself in an area and begin to watch. Other times you will be on plane and see a flurry of fish.

If I find them feeding on top, regardless of depth, I’m sure to head their way.

Another visible indicator is the birds. They feed on the same forage. There are certain birds that eat fish for a living, literally. Identifying these birds and understanding their feeding habits will help locate populations of smaller fish.

And finally; if the bank is not producing, maybe they aren’t there? Not getting bites doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t biting, it just means your presentation is not being presented to enough fish, if any.

After determining indicators, we can focus on other visible targets

We are currently at a lower pool on most of our lakes, and can find an abundance of standing timber. This can be a great target to look for fish just subsurface; but holding over deep water.

There are a variety of trees and not all trees are created equal. Some have subtle intricacies that make them more appealing. Such as: tree type, location, horizontal limbs, and their proximity to the surrounding.

Shade lines and current breaks are other targets that can be seen. The shade line will travel from one side of the lake to the other each morning and then in reverse in the afternoon. Understanding these


shifts will help you time the

bite. Most shade lines are not

straight. In fact, they have points

and pockets within. The fish

will position themselves around

these features and eat off the

ends of the shaded points and

the backs of sunny pockets

just as they do on land-based


Current breaks work in a

similar manor as shade line and

can be followed out deep. The fish

will sit on the seam and use the

benefit of the wind and current

to feed, without exerting energy.

They have no need to associate to

land, just current flow.

And finally, bluff walls are

easily detectable. Some walls go

from dry land down to extremely

deep water within a few feet

from shore.

But the fish aren’t always

on the surface or the bottom. Most of the time they are somewhere in between. Cycling through presentations that cover these various depths efficiently is the key.


When selecting lures and presentations,

we must first determine a few things. Top of the list would be water temperature and the likeliness of a fish chasing.

Sixty-degrees and above, they will chase.

Below that we might need to slow down.

Also, keep in

mind what forage is

prevalent, and make

a selection that best



If I feel they might be active and within 20-feet of the surface, a topwater is the first choice. Walking baits are my favorite, and changing size, color and speed can make a huge difference.


If there are signs of activity up, but the topwater is drawing a blank. A subsurface

Winter 2022