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Sure, fishing is about a lot more than catching fish – it’s being out in nature, relaxing, spending time with friends and family. But let’s be honest – it’s just a lot of fun to reel in a lunker. If the fish are stealing your bait or each cast comes up empty, here are some reasons you may not be catching fish.
Using too large of tackle
Match your hook, bobber and lure to the species you’re fishing for. If the fish has a small mouth, you’ll need a small hook to reel them in.
Not replacing fishing line
Simple maintenance here – change your fishing line on a regular basis, as the new line will be easier to cast without all those kinks.
Not trying something new
If what you’re doing isn’t working, be flexible and try new techniques. Don’t stick with something that’s not netting fish.
Fishing too deep
In the summer, Iowa anglers should fish only in the top 12 feet of water – go deeper, and the fish aren’t there. This applies from mid-June through the rest of the summer, especially in southern Iowa.
Ditching the bobber
Beginners should use a bobber to help them cast. If it is a stationary bobber, make sure there it not too much line out that could make casting more difficult. A bobber will allow for direct observation and will keep the bait off the bottom, out of the reach of snags.
Not checking the water levels.
A sudden rise or fall in the water level will impact fishing success.
Using dull hooks
Make sure your hooks are sharp if you expect to keep a fish on your line.
Fishing at the wrong time of day
Fish head for cover from the heat in the middle of the day too – stick to morning and evening for the best bite.
Fishing in the wrong location
Fish close to structure, like brush piles and stumps. Downloadable fishing structure location maps are available on the DNR's Where to Fish pages.
For more, sign up for our weekly fishing report or check out our Iowa Fishing board on Pinterest.