Jon M. asks:
I was at the Fargo ice show and attended your seminar. I thought you did a awesome job, and gave great insight as to what it takes as a person, and the gear it takes to be a successful angler. You were limited on time, and you are a busy man so I didn’t want to bother you.... my question for you is this... I’m talking mainly perch and walleye now.... Do we wait it out on the spot we’re at? Or are we better off driving to another lake or slough that doesn’t have all the pressure from other anglers?
Hey Jon – my apologies for the late reply, and thanks so much for attending that seminar. I appreciate the kind words and am glad you made it.
First and foremost, where it ain’t happening, it ain’t happening. That’s usually from the perspective of a location on a specific lake. It’s rare that I stay put and wait for them to show up unless:
1. I’ve got good intel to suggest that they’ll be moving to cover or structure at a certain time
2. I can’t find those same fish during the day, or they’re too spread out and inactive to target them
3. I’m parked on historically good key feeding areas for a prime-time bite window
To leave the lake altogether, that’s a tougher question to answer. Much depends on your lake research, what locals are saying, or more importantly aren’t. In your neck of the woods, I’d rather fish a slough that nobody is on or few people are targeting, than get after a likely diminishing bite on its way down that everyone is hitting. Realize however, that even in the “found” systems where word is out, there’s usually parts of the lake that contain the same fish and people just aren’t finding. Similarly, there’s “unfound” lakes where fish are crushing that no one is at. The rub lies in that even if you check out a lake and don’t find them, they might still be there. For that reason, give likely looking water bodies another chance. Of course, this process takes time, and you need to be willing to not catch fish as much as catch them. For most anglers, that’s the difficult and unacceptable part. In some respects it’s easier to go where you “know” they are, but you’ll never become a better angler and find more fish without constantly searching out new bites.
I hope that helps, and good luck out there!