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Find the biters if you want to catch fish

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When anglers go fishing, they want to catch a fish. In fact, they want to catch lots of fish. While you're probably not going to always catch lots of fish, there are some things that anglers can do to increase their odds of getting bit. Finding the biters is a big part of catching fish.

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We frequently emphasize that to consistently catch fish, first you've got to find the fish. However, at times just finding the fish isn't enough. You've got to find the fish that are willing to eat your bait. You might have a bunch of walleyes hovering off the edge of a deep-water structure, and just a few walleyes on the top of that same structure. While it's tempting to work the big school of fish that are on the edge, it might be more productive to work the smaller group that's on top of the structure. Here's why.

You can sometimes determine the activity level of a fish by where it is. Walleyes that are shallow or on top of a structure are often looking for something to eat.

Walleyes that are relating to structure but that have pulled off the structure are fish that have probably just fed and are now just hanging around. They probably won't be real willing to eat. When they do get ready to eat, they'll swim back to the structure and find a meal.

There are always exceptions. In some bodies of water the walleyes spend much of their summer suspending near baitfish. When they get hungry, they move into that school of baitfish, open their mouths, and swim.

I just got back from a trip to Lake Oahe in South Dakota. Oahe is a walleye factory. We found a prime example of why you should fish where the biters are.

We were working the water in the twenty five to twenty eight foot range. We could see lots of fish that we suspected were walleyes on our sonar, and there were lots of baitfish around. The color display of the Humminbird sonar that I use does a great job of revealing life underwater. We were getting bit every now and then.

The wind came up and was blowing into the shoreline close to where we were fishing. We had been fishing that shoreline earlier, and had seen a few fish on the sonar, but they wouldn't eat. We decided to try the area again to see if the wind made the fish want to eat. It did, big time! We still didn't see a lot of fish on the sonar, but almost every fish that we did see we caught. We were fishing fewer fish, but we were having better action.

When you go fishing, keep in mind that sometimes you're better off fishing areas that hold fewer fish if those fish are willing to bite. If you can find an area that's holding a few biters, you're going to have a good time. And, if you can find an area that's holding lots of fish that are willing to bite, you can plan on having a great time.

(Watch all the 2009 episodes of Fishing the Midwest television on WalleyeCentral.com in the video section and on MyOutdoorTv.com.)

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