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Reading Wood

Wood is wood is wood. Right? Wrong. Understanding the difference between good wood and bad wood and how it attracts fish is critical when fishing an area full of timber. It is easy to forget this especially when the angler is faced with acres and acres of great fishy looking area. Where do you start?

According to timber fishing experts there are many types of wood available to anglers if they know Where to look and How to fish them. These are:

  • Stump Piles 

  • Multi-directional wood 

  • Directional wood 

  • Emergent trees 

  • Submergent trees 

Stump Piles: I believe this form of wood is the second-most common form of wood in lakes and reservoirs today, yet regardless of its availability, few people fish stumps in the most effective manner possible. 

How hard is it to fish a stump pile? Many anglers just cruise by, casually flipping spinners and worms in a variable manner. But if an angler pays attention to depth and sun position, they could maximize their success rate. High cut stumps attract more fish especially if they are located near a creek channel or drop off. Anglers should check every side of the stump , paying close attention to the shaded side of stumps on bright days. As an angler brings the lure closer to the stump, awareness should be heightened as this is where most strikes occur.

Key presentations are spinnerbaits, wide wobble crankbaits, jig-n-pigs, and plastic worms

Multi-directional Wood: Multi-directional wood can be further broken down into two different sub-groups. The Brushpile and the Beaver Dens. The difference between the two is where the larger wood is located. With a beaver den, an angler knows that the beavers place larger sized logs and wood around the base of the den. An angler can feel for these with a plastic worm very easily. Many times there is a type of overhead canopy created by overhanging thinner branches and brush. Bass like to use these canopies. Places to check for these are right along the edges. 

Key points to remember are not to cast onto the main body of the beaver den and not to let your presentation sink deep into the tight crevices and nooks of the wood. Keep your rod tip high to reduce risk of snags.

Directional wood: This type of structure is made up of fallen or bulldozed trees. Directional wood is a prime attractant for bass during or in areas where a lack of adequate timber is present. The main point here for anglers to take into consideration is how recently the tree has fallen into the water. A newly fallen tree resembles a broom. Fish will be positioned around the main edges of a newly fallen tree and as the tree decomposes will move farther into the branches. A prime place for spinnerbaits and jig-n-pigs. 

Emergent Trees: These are the one of the most sought after timber structures for anglers. These are typically identified by their tops sticking out of the water in reservoirs. If you can find them growing along a creek channel, then you have hit the jackpot. An important point to consider is that you do not have to drop your presentation any farther that the actual crown of the tree. There won't be any fish holding along the trunk. Add to this that best time to fish these is at night. Fish like Bass move into the multi-directional structure of the tree crown at night. Jigs and spinnerbaits work best and work the timber from every angle possible

Submergent Trees: The prize among prizes for timber fisherman, especially if the tree remains in full crown. Another excellent place to try at night, during the early spring, late summer (day and night) and if the weather allows it, in early fall to early winter for bass. Prime bass magnet. The biggest fish in the lake will relate to this type of timber and migrate from the bottom (the bottom usually contains smaller younger growth trees as well) to the crown at night to feed.

Be stealthy and equip yourself for all these timber types with heavier lines and stout rods. 10-14 lb test is usually sufficient. Until next time

Happy casts

Daniel C. Nielsen


Copyright 2000 
Reprinted with permission

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