Never leave fish to find fish

One of the last days on the open water reinforced this idea very plainly.  It was the last day out in November with the boat before putting it away for the winter and the pond that we chose is always full of willing trout and usually proves to be dependable.  However, Dan and I had different places that we felt would be more productive so that was the discussion that was held over multiple cups of coffee as we launched onto the pond.  It was a bitter 18 degrees when we launched so a later start was welcome as the sun provided a little more warmth.  It wasn’t much of a difference, but mentally it made the day seem a little bit cozier.

It was a beautiful day

As we made our way along the pond Dan thought heading across to the other shore would be a good idea as he had caught his largest trout there.  I urged working our way around the pond once and I always prefer to start with the shore on my left side.  I think this is mainly due to always trolling from my canoe.  It is easier to see the shoreline and that is how my body was turned to hold onto the tiller.  My process is to make one pass around smaller ponds first and see if we pick up a fish or two.  In larger bodies of water I break each section down and focus on parts as if they are there own separate body of water.  That way you do not get overwhelmed with the enormity of the space and get frustrated.

Dan with a nice brook trout

While trolling around any pond if we picked up a fish we would make multiple passes over that same spot until we failed to catch a fish.  We are also on the look out for any sign that might clue us into the presence of fish and on this day we were surprised to find many trout feeding on the surface.  This may alter our course slightly if we haven’t caught any fish yet.  On this day the feeding fish fell right in line with where we were trolling.  Even though we did not pick up a fish on the first few passes there was enough sign that we stayed with this part of the pond.  Knowing that the fish are there kept us coming back and after a quick change of lures we finally figured out what color they wanted.

Nice rainbow to end the trip

We had caught a bunch of fish already when Dan suggested that we try the other shore.  Maybe to just prove a point we headed over to the other shore where it was a nice boat ride for sure.  I was also able to refill my coffee mug while not catching any fish.  After giving it our best we returned to the spot that we had been before where we had all of our luck and of course we caught more fish.  This really renewed our discussion as to why you should never leave fish to find fish.  That is not to say when you have spent plenty of time on a pond or lake you have a starting point as to where you can begin.  Really all it means is that when you are consistently catching fish why go elsewhere?

Jon Peterson

About Jon Peterson

I grew up in the small town of Sebec, Maine, wandering in the woods exploring the natural world around me. I had always been fascinated by water and my explorations seemed to lead me to water as that was where I felt most comfortable. Through trial and error, I honed my fishing skills over the years and learned many valuable lessons along the way. In 2014 I realized my dream and became a Registered Maine Guide. For more information: