1. Seek out steeper sloping shorelines. Fish like close access to deep water.
2. Avoid really shallow, beach-like shores with sand bottoms.
3. Look for irregularities in bottom composition. Hard, light-colored bottoms meeting up with soft, dark ones can be like a fish-holding magnet.
4. Multiple depth changes, however slight, within a relatively short section of shore can attract fish.
5. Try wading — whether with waders or shorts/shoes (to avoid zebra mussel cuts) — to be able to cast out to deeper water.
6. When fishing from docks or piers, don’t ever step onto the dock before fishing each side thoroughly from shore. Bass and panfish often hide alongside, and you’ll spook them by walking overhead.
7. When deciding what lures to cast from the dock or shore, think of the entire water column. Think top-water under low light, mid-depth with moderate light and deep for mid-day under sunny conditions. Use lures that you can cast far, are shaped to travel swiftly through the air and have some weight to them.
8. Fan-cast the entire area systematically within all the different depth presentations to really cover the water thoroughly.
9. Learning all the fish-holding structures within casting distance of your dock can be a real advantage for the Lake Simcoe cottager. Snorkel around your casting area to learn and memorize exactly where all the big rocks, logs, branches, weed patches, waterlines and any other submerged objects are located; bass and other fish will be holding next to these objects.
10. Dawn, dusk and even the pitch black of night can be prime times to fish shorelines and docks, because many fish move into shallow water during these periods.
Bonus Tip: Have fun and relax! The beauty of shoreline fishing around Lake Simcoe is that you can kick back and wait for the fish to come to you, regardless of your age or skill level. To achieve this, many shore-bound anglers utilize live bait presentations such as worms or minnows. Others have gravitated to “do-nothing” techniques with artificial baits such as a five-in. Trigger X Flutter Worm rigged “wacky style” (i.e., through the middle) onto a 1/0 Octopus style Gamakatsu Hook.
Finally shore-bound anglers may want to revisit the drop-shotting technique we covered in depth in the 2010 Summer issue of LSL — still available on our website and tailor-made for shore fishing.