Exploring For New Fishing Spots With Google Earth Pro.

Some of my fondest fishing memories memories have been when I have discovered, on my own, secret fishing spots that nobody knew about – or so it seemed at the time I discovered them.

Many of my “discoveries” were simply luck. or perhaps a case of a few fish getting into a spot they had not inhabited before – or perhaps they had human help. And many of these “discoveries” only lasted a year or two before the new fishery dried up or could not maintain itsef due to lack of spawning success.

But some of my “discoveries” were truly special. When I hiked down Lake Creek, the Diamond Lake outlet, in October of 1971, I was looking for a barrier that kept the brown trout in Lemolo Reservoir from reaching Diamond Lake via Lake Creek which in addition to being Diamond Lake’s outlet is also a major tributary of Lemolo Reservoir. Within a quarter mile of the lake I encountered a couple of brush dams and the remains of a small concrete dam that would greatly hinder upstream migration – but the greatest barrier to upstream migration was a 300 yard stretch of slow-moving, very weedy water that was the most food rich water in the entire stream.

The first few years the fall fishing on Lake Creek for brown trout and brookies was superb along with excellent spring fishing for spawning rainbow trout around Memorial Day.

Over the next 20 years, a series of drought years, a tui chub invasion and the resulting rotenone treatment all combined to make the stream less productive. I no longer fish it, prefering to remember Lake Creek it as it was when I first started fishing it.

Another discovery was a pond along the west side of the railroad tracks about midway between Hauser and where the Trans Pacific Parkway. This shallow pond of slightly more than an acre was absolutely loaded with bass when I first discovered it, but a year later the railroad tore out the beaver dam creating the lake when it became large enough so that the pond almost reached the tracks. When the beavers rebuilt the dam, it no longer had the 80 foot long channel with a hard sand bottom that was necessary to bass spawning success as the pond itself had a soft muck bottom.

The beavers also built a dam creating a pond upriver of the original pond, but too far above the original pond to entrap bass and still remains fishless, except for sticklebacks, to this day.

There are numerous other “discoveries”, but I’m sure you realize how wonderful it feels to discover a special, overlooked spot – and the disappointment that ensues, when for one reason or another, the spot doesnt stay special – or undiscovered.

While private land ownership, and the subsequent postings, have increased over the years, computer mapping software has made exploring easier. My favorite program for doing so is Google Earth Pro – a free application that downloads easily from the internet.

When I am using Google Earth Pro, I am usually looking for small lakes or ponds fairly close to waters that contain fish and have public access. I also look for obviously much wider spots on streams that contain bass or panfish. I also look for barriers that may impact fish movement For example, I found that the best fishing on small central Oregon streams in the late summer and fall was just downstream of beaverdams or other obstructions rather than the actual ponds.

So there you have it – a free software program guaranteed to give you a headstart toward finding you own “secret” spots.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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