Understanding fish behavior is critical to being able to catch fish. Fish are NOT spread equally throughout a given body of water! They have preferred habitats and respond to changing environmental conditions in reasonably predictable ways. As a result, they often occur in high concentrations in very specific, but limited areas. Other areas of the lake, pond, stream or river may be virtually devoid of fish at that same time.
This concept is often very difficult for novice anglers to understand or unravel.
Because the aquatic environment they live in is constantly changing, fish change locations often. During some seasons, or on some days, fish may be shallow; at other times, they may be deep. Some days they may hold very tight to brush, logs or other cover, while other days they may be suspended in the middle of the water column over deep water.
Unraveling fish behavior, and finding their location, is only the first step in being able to catch them. Once you find fish, the next step is to find out what their preferred food is. The food source fish are using changes with the changing seasons. Often, the preferred food source determines where the fish will be. In some situations, fish can be extremely selective and will only take certain baits that mimic their natural prey and are presented in a natural manner. At other times they may be much more opportunistic feeders and will take almost any type of food (or bait) that comes near them.
Understanding and accurately predicting when and what fish are eating is the essence of fishing. Honing this knowledge may take a lifetime of fishing fun. Fortunately, there are some very predictable situations that hold a very high potential for success.