Walker County Lake News Article

Using Birds to Locate Fish


Posted: 2/5/2007

Larry Collins

Birds are cheap locators when looking for fish feeding on top or near the surface. Nature has given them some great eyes to see bait fish at great distances. Birds feeding over the lake can see bait fish near the surface. Once spotted they start a pattern of diving into the water feeding on the bait.  Of course when shad or other bait fish are near the surface and stripers or bass are near by then you can expect to see lots of sub surface and surface action. Once the feeding action of the fish is over you will see the birds move or just be setting on the water but not showing much interest in what is in the water around them.

Birds are pretty smart as some set on the water while others are flying as scouts looking for bait fish for all to eat. Once these scouts spot fish just a few squawks and the area is filled with diving birds. As a fisherman this sure will set the blood to pumping with excitement. You know that in any of these schools there are huge salt water stripers and large bass feeding. The first thing you want to do is run hard right into the area and start casting. If no surface action is to be had then you think about trolling deep running baits around the area to try and catch some of those fish that are deeper.

Nothing wrong with getting excited but think as you move to get to the surface action. If you run into the middle wide open you will spook the bait fish and then as they go deeper or move the fish move with them. Trolling also with the big engine over and around an area that you have seen filled with diving birds does the same thing it spooks the bait and in turn both fish and bait moves. What you should do is get as close as you can with your big engine and then get on the trolling motor and ease into the prime area. Try to not stir up the water too much as you move around where the fish are feeding. Of course even with all this there is no guarantee that the fish will bite what you throw at them. If you get no surface action use the trolling motor to troll deeper baits again trying not to disturb the bait too much so the fish will stay around feeding longer. The only time it is fine to run your big engine trolling is when you are searching for fish in deeper water or when you know the fish have gone deeper as shown on your locator. Think about this the next time you use birds to help locate active fish and have a great week. I’ve gone fishing.

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