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Are we here to exchange knowledge or not? (ex. hot spotting)

Post By: eholm      Posted: 9/28/2022 4:03:23 PM     Points: 3036    

Hey all,

I'm not trying to be snarky, and this is not a facetious question. I'm genuinely interested in how the members of this forum view it currently, as I'm deciding whether I want to get active in it again.

I was active in the forum for a period of a few years, many years ago. Compared to what I'm seeing now, there was a much more significant exchange of knowledge at that time, with actual fishing "tips" being shared more freely. For example, what's working right now and where.

My personal observation is that there were several "pro" level anglers involved at that time, which in my opinion really helped set the tone. These were guys who either fish for a living, guide for a living, or just fish every day for the love of it.

They were regularly posting conditions updates, and reports of what's hot. That's not to say they were revealing everything (there will always be secrets in fishing), but what they were posting was considered acceptable and seemed to be in the spirit of why this forum was created.

When those well-respected anglers were posting regularly, I think it trickled down into the culture of the forum, so others were frequently and transparently posting their successes.

I recall avidly reading posts of some of the top walleye and catfish angers in the state, in which they talked about their specific baits, along with when and where they were fishing.

After being really busy with life priorities in recent years, I revisited the forum recently as I've been shifting my personal fishing interests toward high alpine, and came looking for info.

When I didn't see a lot of tips being posted in the general forum, I re-joined FXR+, thinking maybe the hot conversations had moved behind closed doors. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. (But as I mention below, I do think FXR+ is well worth it)

With few exceptions, the only members that I currently see posting their successes in the forum are YouTubers who are trying to get views and build a following. Some of those guys are posting really great stuff in their videos, such as ND Transplant and Bennyb SST, who are sharing actual locations and bait in many cases. ND Transplant in particular has a great educational approach.

It seems that there is a lot of fear about "hot spotting" these days. People don't want successful fishing spots revealed. To some extent, that same fear seems to inhibit sharing successful methods too, for fear that the hot-spot chasers will show up and actually know how to catch fish.

That's always been an issue, and always will be. Overfishing can be a real problem. But again, that begs the question - what's the point of this forum?

I've thought about posting updates for some of the bodies of water I've fished lately, along with my personal reports, but I'm not interested in going to battle with hot-spotting shamers.
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 9/28/2022 4:03:55 PM     Points: 3036

There's no wrong answer to my question I just wonder where you all stand. If this is not a safe place to freely exchange fishing info, that's fine -- in that case, I won't.

If it is intended to be such a place, then I'd like to see a couple of things.

First, the expert and pro anglers need to step up and set the tone. This would include sharing truly helpful info about what's working "now", because that's what everyone wants to know.

That also includes ongoing sharing of fundamentals and best practices. For example, I've been shocked to see what seem like long-time anglers posting pics and videos in which they're holding trout by the gills. Can we get back to a culture of education, and gentle correction where needed?

Second, ANY shaming for sharing experiential knowledge or reports should not be tolerated. If this is to be a place where information is freely exchanged, people need to be able to share their top tips with no fear of verbal retribution. Gentle correction and education is always encouraged. If someone makes a post in which they're using live bait in a gold medal stream, or holding a fish by the gills, by all means help them understand. But it needs to be done in a respectful way, otherwise who will want to post?

My personal opinion is that fishing is an activity that must be passed down to the next generation, otherwise we will see opportunities disappear. Education and transfer of passion and enthusiasm is the only way to make it happen. I would estimate that 99% of all so-called hot spotting occurs in places that have been stocked by the CPW - therefore they are not secret, nor should they be. Again my opinion - if you are the ONLY person who fishes a body of water, there is less a chance of it being protected, maintained, and stocked in the future.

If members feel that the "secret" or "good" information should be limited to the FXR+ forum, that could make sense too, in which case the above guidelines would still apply. I do realize that to some extent that's already how it works, because certain reports are only available to FXR+ members. And although it seems those conditions reports are lacking lately, the ones I've accessed have already made my annual membership more than worth it.

To be clear - I have no authority here, and I'm not dissing the forum as a whole. I think its a great forum. These are just my personal observations and suggestions. It is quite possible that I'm interpreting too much, and I just need some reassurance.

I'd love to know what the rest of you think!

PS- a few shots of some beauties from the past couple weeks.
 Reply by: Barnacles      Posted: 9/28/2022 8:08:15 PM     Points: 2868
I'm going to meditate on this one & post a more thoughtful response tomorrow. For now I'll say welcome back, hope you stay, help us make this better & keep those good trout pictures coming.
 Reply by: richw88      Posted: 9/28/2022 9:07:54 PM     Points: 28
My feeling is, and has always been, that fishing expertise is something that should be learned, not given out for free, except to relatives and close friends. And that's a tough opinion to hold in today's e-world where info is so easily shared. If someone has a better knot, a better leader, a new product, a new method, I'm all for sharing it. But if you have to reveal exact locations, patterns, techniques, or times, just to feign expertise and sell yourself, you're not someone I'd want to know. It's probably info someone gave you in the first place, or you wouldn't be so free with it.
Most of the You-Tubers here are more concerned with aesthetics than useful facts. Good for them, but it makes their videos entertaining, not educational. The only reason I'll watch them is to see if they've "slipped up" and given out something useful. I don't need to see their reels turning or their rods bent. I can do that.
If you want to learn a lot in a hurry, hire a guide. If you want to learn a lot slowly, fish more.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 9/28/2022 10:32:42 PM     Points: 38
I gain knowledge here almost everyday. Not all of it is useful, but a lot of it is. I do agree the more you fish, the more you will learn. And there are no magic bullets. A YouTube video and the info you get from this site may be hours out of date. Conditions change fast. I think of fishing like a puzzle with about 6000 pieces. Got put it all together.
 Reply by: reddave      Posted: 9/29/2022 7:54:13 AM     Points: 8281
"ANY shaming for sharing experiential knowledge or reports should not be tolerated."

THIS! I just want to say one thing - this website used to have a much "friendlier" feel to it. These days, anyone who doesn't conceal location and tactics is ostracized. In my opinion, hiding this information makes most posts feel like bragging about the success others cannot attain. We should all be here to help share in each other's enjoyment of fishing.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 9/29/2022 9:08:57 AM     Points: 69361
interesting and good thread. but now I have to ask

WHAT ABOUT YOU?? BTW this is not only for the OP but the collective “you” Where are your posts and replies and threads helping other anglers? Answering other anglers questions? Seems to me you're primarily a lurker and gather information but doesn't share? And that's perfectly fine, until you fuss about people not sharing.

I don't make a lot of video's but the ones I do, I share everything I use for those trips. Mine aren't educational because it's simply a way to share with family and friends. If you wanna know, just ask me and there’s a strong possibility you’ll get anaswer.

That said, I personally try to help people as best I can. You mention walleye and catfish.. for fun, lets add ice fishing. I NEVER post any information on those because I know next to nothing about them as I don't target them.

You want to know about trout and pike I happily share. Also for many other warm water species and there are still plenty of people on here that still do, you just have to keep up with the forum pretty much daily.

As for posting locations and what I'm doing immediately after I'm done, I've had to stop doing that. Because there will be way too many people fishing exactly where I fish immediately after. Because of fish explorer and posting on here, people recognize me on the water. Yesterday is a good example.. fishing 11 Mile we got into fish. As soon as we hooked up, boats got right on top of us. That never happened when I first started on here. It happens to me way too often on South Park and JMart for it to be coincidence. Since I fish from a toon or float tube, the breadth of areas to fish get limited.

Going back to the catfish and walleye, some of the really good anglers for those have moved and are no longer on the forum. But in general I have discovered people really good at certain species are tight lipped, for example trophy sized Lakers… or really good SMB spots. But people will give lots of advice about catching a Laker (just not the trophy) and SMB, I found Horsetooth to be relatively easy to fish.

People like Robby Richardson, Chad LaChance and Will Dykstra are super busy with their given professions. They’re still around, they just don’t post much. If ya wanna learn.. I highly recommend hiring any of those guys.

Circling around to locations. 100% still do NOT advocate blowing up small bodies of water. Everyone that ever has, did not remain members. While yes some folks may have jumped on them, willing to bet it had a lot more to do with they discovered they had MANY new friends and their little body of water became overfished in short order.

Large bodies.. post away. My personal recommendation, if you’re going to fish there the next day or week, if you start a thread, don’t be surprised if there is abnormal activity when next you visit. This is referring to specific location the lake, not the lake itself.

Very much agree with you that we currently have a bunch of guys that their sole purpose seems to be promoting their You Tube channels.

Thanks for starting what should be a fun thread. FYI, 11 Mile has been fishing well for me

 Reply by: Troutbisquits      Posted: 9/29/2022 10:12:22 AM     Points: 1004
There is still a ton of useful info on this site. As for sharing information, I will happily share information about what works for me. In fact I love helping people catch fish as much as I enjoy catching them myself. Frequently I will give flies to friends that are ideal for a certain body of water I have experience with....

Now on the flip side. I am WAY more hesitant to share some specific locations, especially on small bodies of water. For example... I know a pond where it is not too difficult to find Master Angler Perch, but I wont give that on a website like this because the size of the pond could not afford the pressure.

A few years ago a local kid caught what would have been the state record striped bass, but he caught it fishing private water where he wasn't supposed to be. So he claimed that he caught it at McIntosh, the lake by my house. It didn't take long for the HORDES of people to show up, trying to catch a big Striped bass. Well they didn't catch Striped bass, but they did catch limits of walleye and crappie. Seriously it was overharvest by an extreme amount. Stringers and stringers full of fish were taken from the lake. Eventually the kid felt guilty and came clean, but the fishing sucked for a few years after that.
 Reply by: JKaboom      Posted: 9/29/2022 12:49:06 PM     Points: 620
Good thread for sure.

I agree there are a lot less threads about technique like there used to be. Also, there are far less blogs that have good information about technique.

As far as conditions report, I share just that, conditions and sometimes put a particular method that worked well. I never get more specific about places more than something like 'North Shore' 'South Shore' even on bodies like 11 mile.

Sometimes you will see threads I start regarding general topics such as:
[log in for link] Plus side - What knots to use and why

Or, I will ask a piece of advice to point me in the right direction:
[log in for link] Plus side - Shorefishing Granby

One example of a report of mine came with a separate thread like this:
09.10.22 from: JKaboom
Fished 6:30 to 11AM on North shore. Tried rigging some live mice and wife fished the bottom. She got hold of two really nice ones but they broke her off. Strikes came between 7 and 8 and some nibbles between 10 and 11. Road in is a disaster worse than last time with some really bad pot holes. Temp was 41 on arrival and 50 when we left. Socked in pretty good surrounded by clouds. 10 MPH breeze from the east. Some shore fishers and a half dozen boats. Made a donation to the Fishing Has No Boundaries event and left. Had a nice time with my wife, first time she got in the truck at 4AM, she's a real fisher now!

Corresponding thread:
[log in for link] << This reports my method question and the results (kind of funny).

I don't like when people post videos that clearly show exact locations or exact lures/baits but I cannot stop that.

Yes, I would like things to go back to more like it was a few years ago but things change. I do my research here and elsewhere in preparation for any trip then do the trip and report back.

Yes, definitely try to point out correct fish handling and etiquette in a polite fashion but you cannot force people and shunning an idiot will not yield a result. As a matter of fact, I will plug (again) my kill method that is most humane and makes the fish taste better: [log in for link] This method is actually law I think in Australia.
 Reply by: devon234      Posted: 10/1/2022 4:45:53 PM     Points: 302
I personally don't understand the whole YouTube thing. I just don't get what the gratification is of putting videos on YouTube is. And while posting spots on larger bodies of water big of a deal as smaller ones it can still create an impact. Say you have a larger body of water that is really popular there will be someone who knows the location of where you are based on any scenery that may be in your photo. This could be very detrimental to fish when they are spawning. An example could be bass at Pueblo or browns in granby. Even with all of that said you will learn a lot more by just going out and getting experience than you will with anything on the internet.
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: 10/1/2022 6:18:41 PM     Points: 171
I don’t understand why folks post any pictures of fish. Unless there is really something unusual about it, why do it?

 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: 10/2/2022 2:33:56 PM     Points: 10682
Too many one line comebacks to get me started . . . . .but you get out what you put in.
 Reply by: Psyko      Posted: 10/2/2022 7:56:23 PM     Points: 692
I have to agree with eholm.
Why don't people be a little helpful and generous with your information? I started lake fishing later in life and I am still trying to learn. But I don't have a posse of fishing friends to learn from. So I started using this forum years ago for the give-and-take. But all that has changed. There seem to be more takers than givers.
Example: Can you imagine a lake like Spinney with only six conditions updates since June 1? And 3 of those were mine!
Please friends, post a few tips. If you use FishExplorer to educate yourself about current conditions and other anglers results, then you owe it to the rest of us to share a little.
BTW, i think it is fine for fishermen to share their pictures. This is supposed to be fun, isn't it? I love to see everyone's catches.. .
 Reply by: Barnacles      Posted: 10/3/2022 7:21:28 AM     Points: 2868
I certainly lean toward more information is better. I like to help the person that is raising kids, working 60 hours a week, and doesn't have time to pick the lake apart. I've been fishing more than 50 years, and I still ask for help sometimes. Still never caught a grayling & I have no idea how to catch walleye when they're in 60 feet of water.

I'm cautious what I put on a public forum, but simple stuff like sharing the lure, fly, depth is usually helpful for some.

My only suggestion is that if someone needs to be corrected, leave that up to our Regional Editor types to handle it tactfully. I guess I'll help anyone that asks, and I'll try to stop being lazy about posting conditions.
 Reply by: JKaboom      Posted: 10/3/2022 12:25:46 PM     Points: 620
I like to see pics of:
Beautiful fish (no background stuff that can give away the location)
Bizarre fish (like 3 headed fish, fish with wounds, or fish with conditions)
Large fish (no background stuff that can give away the location)
Fish ID questions

No stringers of fish (got eaten alive about 10 years ago on that one...)
 Reply by: kirbydog      Posted: 10/3/2022 12:35:53 PM     Points: 97
Imagine how proud you will be when you catch fish using knowledge and techniques you have gained thru time on the water.
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 10/3/2022 12:45:17 PM     Points: 3036
Some great replies here! Thanks y'all.

This is very helpful in helping me understand the currently prevailing philosophies and attitudes in this forum.

Let me try to summarize and recap some of the points I'm seeing in the responses.

1) Most of you agree that sharing more info is good, especially general tips that don't blow up a specific location.

2) We need more conditions reports, especially for larger or more commonly fished bodies of water. Even some of the most well-known areas are lacking reports currently.

3) There is a commonly held belief (not a full consensus, but clearly a large contingent) that we should not draw public attention to small bodies of water.

4) Reasons for not wanting to "blow up" certain locations are not merely based on anecdotal evidence, but rather on real life experience primarily from seeing fishing locations receive too much fishing pressure after being exposed.

5) There are a lot more lurkers and takers on this forum than givers. (I will support this statement by adding: a general perusal of the forums shows an average ratio of at least 100:1 views to replies on any given thread. This does seem to prove there are a ton of people viewing what is posted here, but very few posting and interacting)

6) There are mixed feelings about the YouTubers. (I personally don't have a problem with them, and I will post a new thread discussing this particular topic, as I believe it is even more relevant to this forum as a whole than most people realize)

7) If you want to learn a lot quickly, hire a pro guide. (My note: I fully agree with this, if it is an investment you can make. If you are someone who regularly spends hundreds of dollars and hours on this hobby/sport, it makes sense to invest in a $500 (or whatever) education from a guide. That having been said, I think there is a reality that many anglers cannot afford it. Maybe they only spend a couple hundred dollars a year on fishing... again this can be another conversation)

8) Some of the people who need "help" the most, and who some of you especially want to help include those who otherwise don't have the luxury of time to learn everything about fishing from personal experience. For example, busy parents who can't dedicated many hours to learning the craft, but want to catch fish and teach their kids. Or those who started out later in life, perhaps not having and friends or family who can take them fishing and personally teach them.

9) There is agreement that this should be a friendly place, people should not be shamed, and admonition should be done tactfully.

My personal takeaway, as it relates to my original question...

I will stick around and do some posting. I'll post conditions reports, but probably not for some of the high alpine lakes I've been fishing.


What about conditions reports for small lakes that are only available to FXR+ members? Since it's behind a paywall, is that "safe enough" to avoid blowing up a location? Similarly, if we wanted to help each other out by posting specifics about locations, could that be done in the FXR+ forum? My personal feeling is that it would be sufficient to protect a location from the masses, but maybe you have other opinions or evidence?
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 10/3/2022 1:01:47 PM     Points: 3036
Walleye Guy says - "I don’t understand why folks post any pictures of fish. Unless there is really something unusual about it, why do it?"

I'm going to start a new thread about this, because it seems people definitely have opinions on this topic.

devon234 says - "I personally don't understand the whole YouTube thing. I just don't get what the gratification is of putting videos on YouTube is."

I'm going to start a new thread about that too, as it is a good discussion topic.

kirbydog - "Imagine how proud you will be when you catch fish using knowledge and techniques you have gained thru time on the water."

I agree with that statement, but there's also nothing wrong with learning while not on the water, and I have to think you would agree, otherwise why would you be here? I didn't share anything about myself in the OP, but... I'm in my 40's, have several kids, have loved fishing my whole life. Spent tons of time on the water learning by trial and error, and still do, but I also have a very limited amount of time to devote to it currently. I've fished at least half a dozen lakes lately that haven't had conditions reports in years, so I went in blind and did catch fish partly because of a lifetime of experience. I'm not looking for free handouts of hotspot tips so that I don't have to work or learn anything. I used the word "exchange" in my OP because I know it goes both ways.
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 10/3/2022 1:11:15 PM     Points: 3036
To add some additional support of points #3 and 4 (regarding not blowing up small bodies of water) from my summary above...

I did some research on CPW's website to see how they approach this very topic -

I found two things that are very telling to me.

1) I looked at the past few years of fishing reports that they have published here: [log in for link] They have consistently provided conditions reports for popular bodies of water, but have never provided reports for many of the small bodies of water - including the ones that they stock! They also have not published articles about those bodies of water, or drawn attention to them in any special way. That leads me to believe that they do not want to add fishing pressure to certain bodies of water that they are stocking.

2) I studied their fishing atlas here: [log in for link] While the fishing atlas does list many of the small bodies of water CPW stocks, it does not list them all. Additionally, I see that it omits MANY small bodies of water (known fisheries) that CPW does not stock. So again in this case, it would seem fitting to take a cue from CPW in this regard.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 10/3/2022 1:11:47 PM     Points: 69361
eholm - great responses.

let's clarify something.. conditions reports. Emphasize CONDITIONS!!! It would be great if all members submitted regular CONDITIONS reports on ALL bodies of water, large or small. Conditions reports are NOT fishing reports. What are the water levels? Clarity, Water temp etc.. anything pertaining to the CONDITION.

Sharing information on how to catch fish whether it be with bait or lure can be easily covered in the threads. Most of us really enjoy helping others get on fish. Happy to share lures and technique. Just not likely to share my exact location and time when I do these things. lol

With a little patience and research on this forum... a person can do very well.

Helpful hint: Often people post conditions reports without how they did when they were there... BUT they will shortly after post a thread about their success and not mention in the thread where they were... put it together.. jess seyin

 Reply by: kirbydog      Posted: 10/3/2022 1:28:08 PM     Points: 97
I actually enjoy seeing pictures of fish caught-don't even care where or what they were caught on. Now when you hold the fish close enough to the camera to make it look half the size of the angler-that becomes a "hey look at me" deal.
 Reply by: FXA0      Posted: 10/3/2022 1:29:19 PM     Points: 220
I ain't gonna lie, I used to lurk on all kinds of websites and Youtube to try to find tips. These days, I'm just happy to get free entertainment. :) Tips, pics, Youtube video promotions, random rants... It's all good, especially the random rants! :)
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 10/3/2022 5:16:14 PM     Points: 3036
anglerwannabe - good point about the conditions and "helpful hint".

I will mention another experience I had in the past week, which also helps me see the side of those who prefer to conceal locations. I went to a hike-in-only alpine lake... there was one other guy there... and he was fishing 3 rods with powerbait and keeping fish. I thought about saying something, but we were literally in the wilderness with no one else around and I'm already a non-confrontational person, lol. I had previously thought anyone who would hike into a lake like that was probably a responsible fisherman, but that made me think twice.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 10/3/2022 9:04:16 PM     Points: 38
Please report said occurrences. The operation game thief website is clearly displayed on this site and it is designed to be exactly non-confrontational.
 Reply by: eholm      Posted: 10/4/2022 3:25:57 PM     Points: 3036
Trailerman - good point, thanks!
 Reply by: randog      Posted: 10/28/2022 11:44:48 AM     Points: 1737
Much more rewarding to earn the knowledge myself. Plus learning/failing on your own is part of the adventure. Pictures for attention. All caught on a chartreuse jig head with a pearl white gulp minnow. 30 years of fishing experience at this river. Finally got it dialed In. Lot of experience learning from failure

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