Should You be Asking for Fishing Spots? (What You Should do Instead)

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It can be a sensitive, touchy subject.  How to go about finding fishing spots.  What is the etiquette here?

Maybe you are new to an area, maybe you are just starting to fish, maybe you just can't seem to find fish in the spots you know.  It seems like everyone in your Facebook groups, on Instagram, and on TikTok are catching fish, but not you.  You need new fishing holes!  How do you go about finding these new, "good" spots?

The easiest answer seems to be, just ask people in your Facebook groups.  I see people ask this all the time.  However, this is probably not the right thing to do, and will often not produce the results you want.  Usually, the asker comes away frustrated, with little to no new knowledge.  Some people even get angry when others wont share their spots.  

The respondents are not trying to be rude, they have just learned from experience that giving up their spots leads to ''spot burn."

Spot burn is what happens when the location of a good fishing hole gets "outed." Once, Jimmy finds out, he tells Joe, and then Joe tells Mike, and eventually everyone and there dog then goes to fish that spot.  It might start out as one or two other people coming to catch and release, but soon others come for dinner, later more come to bowfish, and so on and so on.  Pressure is put on the fish, fish get taken out, killed, sometimes left on the bank to die.  Some people will leave trash behind in or near the river.  The spot is burned.

So what should you do?  How should you go about finding new fishing spots?  With some effort, you can find great fishing locations too.  Fishing spots where you can find success for years to come, if you take care of them.  

They caught nice bass!  Should I ask where they caught the fish?
(photo courtesy of Marcos Rodriguez, in Fish Spotlight: Largemouth Bass)

What you should NOT do: Expect everyone on Facebook to happily post the locations of, and/or directions to, their best fishing holes.

What you should do instead:  Put in some time, effort, and research, on your own.  Here is how most of those people posting pictures of great fish find the waters they fish:

Books (like Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas) and maps (often available at local fly shops like Living Waters Fly Fishing) can be a great starting point.  Another tool is the "Where to Fish" page from Texas Parks and Wildlife.  But, an overlooked and often underutilized tool is Google Maps

Log into Google Maps and find the local retention ponds, parks with water, and where a blue lines (creeks or rivers) crosses a road.  Finding the waters and access points will show you where water is, but it won't usually tell you how "fishable" that water is.  

But, most of all, you MUST put in the time to explore these locations.  Go fish them for yourself.  Give each spot that has "fishable" water a few trips to really see what you can catch there.   The people catching great fish around you have spent weeks, months, and often years, finding the spots that they now fish.  Even if they have a great spot, they often keep exploring and usually keep a log of some sort about the places they have been.  The more time you spend finding spots, the more spots you will have in your bank!  Just be careful to know the laws about which blue lines and spots you are allowed to access on the maps.

Asking others about a body of water in general terms can be acceptable. Questions like, "what kind of fish can I catch here?" or "how is the water flowing in this river?" can, and probably will be answered with enthusiasm from experienced anglers.  So feel free to do that.

But, do not expect others that have put in the time and effort to quickly and easily give up there favorite fishing holes.  I promise, many of these people have had their spots burned before.  But I promise, you can find great spots too, if you put in the time.

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