Rockin’ Internet Winter Fishery Research

Take advantage of the down time winter provides to brush up on next year's hotspots!

A $14.95 annual fee gives you access to the powerful research tools at Angling Technologies. I can accomplish more here than anyplace else I’ve found.

Among the many features is the ability to view recent and older satellite images from Bing, Google Earth, the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) and other sources. You can overlay depth contour lines onto the satellite photo or a topo map of the land before a reservoir was filled.

Besides contour lines, the topo map shows submerged roadbeds, bridges and buildings that attract a wide variety of fish.

I’m a big fan of the measuring tool. I use it to measure structural elements that interest me, and the distances required to boat from place to place.

When I find points of interest I want to check out later on the water, I drop waypoints on them. The program lets you convert the waypoints to an SD card that will upload into your chartplotter.

(To do the final waypoint conversion with Humminbird chartplotters you need Humminbird PC, which is available free at humminbird.com.)

When I get to the lake, I can go straight to the places I’ve found during my winter research. I did just that when I drove from my home in Ohio to Douglas Lake in east Tennessee.

While researching Douglas during the winter with Angling Technologies, I used a satellite map that showed the reservoir when it had been drawn down 40 feet. I could see every rock, stump, point, ledge and creek channel.

By overlaying the contour lines, I could find out precisely how deep any potential cover and structure I had found would be at full pool. I dropped waypoints on over 100 spots that looked promising.

The first waypoint I placed on Douglas was on a long underwater ledge 25 feet deep that dropped into 35 feet of water. I put my waypoint where a drain was situated next to a rocky outcropping. Since I would be visiting Douglas in midsummer, I figured the bass would be feeding offshore.

Some of the bass I caught from that very spot weighed from 4 to more than 5 pounds. They belted big, deep-diving crankbaits and a 5-inch swimbait. I had found that spot while the lakes near my Ohio home were covered with ice and snow.

Deeper Into LakeMaster Contour Elite

LakeMaster Contour Elite software can help you find hotspots for over 25 species of fish depending on the lake. Inland lakes cover walleyes, muskies, pike, large- and smallmouth bass, crappies, bluegills, stripers, catfish and yellow perch.

The Great Lakes include some of those species along with king salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, steelhead and lake trout. Coastal waters have saltwater species such as redfish, speckled trout, grouper, bonefish, tarpon and sailfish.

You enter the species of fish, time of year and time of day. Then the program searches the entire lake and highlights likely hot spots in red on the contour map.

You can refine the search by entering other pertinent data, such as weather conditions, wind direction and water clarity. If you already know of a productive spot, enter it into the program and it will find other places in the lake that are similar.

This program can import and export information with Humminbird, Lowrance, Garmin and Raymarine units. You can also import and export waypoints with Google Earth and Google Maps using Google's .kml format.

LakeMaster Contour Elite Software sells for $149.95 and is available for different states and regions. You can download a free sample at Lake-Maps.com.

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