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Buying Land

8 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Fishing Property

July 12, 2023

Fishing is one of America’s greatest pastimes, so it’s no surprise that many people are on the hunt for their own fishing property. Generations of families have long enjoyed fishing for both pleasure and as a great healthy food choice, though geographic differences often determine the preferred target species and methods of fishing. For a large portion of South Carolina, fishing occurs on both public and private bodies of water—either still or flowing. The water type (still vs flowing) often changes what a fisherman looks for before beginning to actively fish. Many of the following factors are applicable to both still and moving water.

Fishermen take many factors into account before fishing in order to improve their experience and increase their chances of catching fish. Here are some things fishermen typically consider before purchasing a fishing property.

Target Fish Species

Fishermen often have specific target species they want to catch. They look for bodies of water known to contain the fish they are interested in, whether it’s bass, trout, catfish, crappie, or bream. Certain species will prefer/require moving bodies of water in lieu of still water for oxygenation, food sources, habitat, and breeding. It’s important to consider the types of fish you’re after, and whether your prospective fishing property has the conditions to support those species.

Water Quality

Water quality is important as it affects the fish’s behavior and health. Clear water with good oxygen levels is usually preferred. Signs of pollution or poor water quality, such as algae blooms or foul odors, may deter fish and subsequently, those targeting the fish.

Structure and Cover

Fishermen seek waters with various underwater structures and cover where fish can hide, feed, and seek shelter. These structures may include submerged rocks, fallen trees, vegetation, and weed beds. Such features provide a suitable habitat for fish and attract them to specific areas. Be sure to survey the waters around a potential fishing property and see if these features are present. If they are, chances are good that you’ll get a few bites!

Water Depth and Bottom Contour

The depth of water and the contour of its bottom influence fish types, behavior, and feeding patterns. Fishermen may target areas with varying depths, drop-offs, channels, or submerged humps, as these often concentrate fish activity due to temperature changes and possible baitfish seeking shelter or calmer water. If you want to learn more about a lake’s bottom contour, try contacting your state’s Department of Natural Resources for a map.

Underwater Vegetation

Aquatic vegetation serves as a productive ecosystem for many fish species. Fishermen look for ponds with healthy vegetation, as it attracts smaller fish and, in turn, draws larger predatory fish. If a body of water is lacking in underwater vegetation, quality fish are much less likely to reside there.

Inflow and Outflow

Ponds with inflows, such as streams or springs, can provide a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients, making them attractive to fish as well as impacting the overall temperatures of the water. Outflows that create currents while flowing into larger bodies of water can concentrate certain fish populations as well.

Signs of Fish Activity

Visual signs of fish activity are very helpful in finding a great fishing property. These include fish breaking the water’s surface, visible feeding activity like swirls or splashes, or the presence of birds or other wildlife that feed on fish. Predatory birds diving into the water can point to both baitfish close to the surface (likely pushed to the surface from larger target fish species) or the target fish themselves seeking topwater food sources or temperature changes.

Local Knowledge and Reports

As with many American pastimes, fishing can be a very social activity, and many (apart from competition fishers) people welcome to opportunity to teach or help another person enjoy their next fishing trip! If you’ve got questions about fishing or finding a fishing property, try talking to some of the people at your local fishing hole or boat launch, or even consult a local Land Professional.

About the Author
Nicholas Ardis is a Land Professional for National Land Realty based out of our Columbia, SC office. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a double-major in both Finance and Global Supply Chain/Operations Management. Nicholas currently lives in Columbia, SC near the USC campus. He spends most of his time outdoors - hunting, fishing, and playing sports with friends. Nicholas is a people person, loves being on or near the water, and is an avid South Carolina fan. View Nicholas's Listings and Reviews on