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Matching Up the Fish, the Water, and the Offering

Part of the Fishing For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Almost every sizable body of water, providing it isn’t too polluted, will have some fish in it. Whether the fish have been stocked there, or appear through natural reproduction, there’s a good chance more than one species is present.

The following table lists a few common species of fish and provides typical habitats for them, as well as bait, lures, and flies that often trigger them to bite. Of course, these fish can be found in other habitats and will hit other offerings in addition to those listed.

Fish Water Offering
Freshwater Fish
Bluegill Ponds, lakes, and reservoirs Worms, crickets, and small spinners
Largemouth bass Ponds, lakes, and reservoirs Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and soft plastics
Smallmouth bass Streams and rivers Jigs, crankbaits, and topwaters
Channel catfish Ponds, reservoirs, and rivers Nightcrawlers and cutbait
Crappie Ponds, reservoirs, and lakes Minnows, spinners, and jigs
Northern pike Cooler lakes and rivers Spoons, crankbaits, and spinners
Rainbow trout Cooler streams and deep lakes Flies and spinners
Walleye Cooler rivers and lakes Jigs, crankbaits, and nightcrawlers
Saltwater Fish
Summer flounder Bays, harbors, and estuaries Jigs, shrimp, and cutbait
Red drum Shallow bays, flats, and estuaries Crankbaits, jigs, and cutbait
Weakfish Shallow bays and marshes Shrimp, jigs, and spoons
Bluefish Bays, warm estuaries, and beaches Spoons, crankbaits, and jigs
Snook Warm lagoons, mangrove swamps, and estuaries Crankbaits, livebait, and topwaters
Tarpon Estuaries and mangrove bays Livebait, spoons, and crankbaits
Yellowtail snapper Coral reefs Cutbait and squid
Goliath grouper Rocky ledges, reefs, and wrecks Livebait, cutbait, and squid
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