Reservoirs are artificial lakes that are usually formed by constructing a dam across a river.  Reservoirs have been constructed throughout the United States and many of them have become some outstanding fisheries.

There are a lot of things that occur in reservoirs that are similar to lakes, so you can take a look at our lakes page to learn about the different types of cover and structure that are part of these bodies of water.

On this page, we are going to go over some of the things that you will find on reservoirs that are slightly different from a lake.

Reservoirs Are Built By Humans To Address One or More Specific Water Needs

These needs are usually one or more of the following:

municipal and drinking water supplies

agricultural irrigation

industrial and cooling water supplies

power generation

flood control

sports or commercial fisheries


aesthetics and/or navigation.

Current Plays a Role in Reservoirs

The dams can control how much water is passed through the dam based on power needs or to help control the flooding.  How much and how often the water is released can definitely affect the fishing.  This creates current throughout the reservoir and some places will be affected more than others.  Current will help position bait fish which will then help position game fish as well.  Each reservoir is different and will be affected slightly differently, but the common theme is current and the current can affect where fish will be found and how they feed.

Wood is More Common on Reservoirs Than Most Lakes

Because these reservoirs are formed, you will usually have plenty of areas on the reservoirs where a variety of wood can be flooded.  For example, you may have an area where a bunch of trees were chopped down resulting in a stump field.  Other areas may have entire trees under water, some submerged completely while others will be visible above water.  On some reservoirs, the wood can be dangerous if you aren’t careful.  The wood will usually hold a variety of different fish though, so learning where the wood is and what species of fish that are using the wood and when is key to having more success on most reservoirs.

Get Used to Fishing Murky Water

Many of the reservoirs down south are murky water fisheries.  They may not always be pleasant to look at compared to the clear water lakes up north, however, the fisheries can be very good and if you understand how to fish murky water, you can experience some awesome fishing.

Many of Them are Huge Bodies of Water

Many reservoirs are huge, which means you are going to have to learn how to fish big water when on these bodies of water.  The negative is that you have a lot of water to learn and that the fish can be anywhere.  The positive is that these fisheries usually have a lot more potential for having large numbers of fish and big fish too.