I recently watched an episode of In-Depth Outdoors that was all about mapping concepts and it got me thinking about similar resources available to the Alberta angler. So with that in mind today’s post is about the tools I use to search new lakes, find structure and narrow down the areas those elusive fish are hiding. I can’t say I have put in enough time at any given lake to have secret spot on the spots but using these tools I have been able to break down a lake into smaller, more manageable areas. I will often have a game plan before I leave the house for which part of the lake I will fish, the depths I am targeting and the presentations I want to try. By making those decisions beforehand I have more time to focus on fishing and maximizing my time on the water.
The place I always check first is the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forums. There is a large and active fishing community where new or seasoned anglers can find a lot of information on any given topic. I will typically start by reading the latest posts for up to date news on the lakes I am interested in. If its a certain species I am after I will use the search function to narrow down the posts to that species. If you can’t find the information you are after through the search then join the forums and post your question! The Outdoorsmen community is very supportive and have many years of experience to share.
Next I will check out both Google Maps and the Navionics iPhone app for lake access points and structure. There is also a free web app I will link to below but I highly recommend that you check out the paid app for your phone. The depth maps on the iPhone are much more detailed and although not perfect in terms of exact location of structure it really narrows down the search. The web app does not share as much detail but it is better than nothing!
The iFish Alberta app is also a good resource but I admit I don’t use it that often anymore. It is a useful tool for ice thickness updates, lake access points or narrowing down lakes by species or proximity. Now that I am familiar with the lakes in my area and the access points I use I don’t feel the need to use the app, but as a beginner or discovering new lakes it is very valuable.
Last but not least is the trout stocking reports. I love fishing stocked trout and when they are biting it is just too much fun. There are two major groups that stock trout in Alberta and they both stock different lakes so be sure to look at both. The first is Alberta Environment and Parks and the second is the Alberta Conservation Association. I will link to them below. Although stocking numbers are down this year due to maintenance they still supply a ton of fish for all to enjoy.
Let me know in the comments if you found this information helpful. Now get out there and catch some fish!
Alberta Outdoorsmen Forums:
My username is StringTheory so feel free to drop me a message!
Navionics Web App
Alberta Environment and Parks stocking program:
Alberta Conservation Association stocking program: