How to Fish on Ledges

by Emma Rensch
Ledge fishing can be very successful when properly executed.

Ledge fishing can be very successful when properly executed.

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Anglers who make successful catches year round have likely learned to scope out successful fishing locations, such as ledges. A ledge is an underwater structure in which earth has piled up to form what appears to be underwater mountains or turrets. Bass and other fish use ledges as migratory paths and are often abundant in these areas. Ledges are especially productive for anglers fishing in reservoirs during hot and cold seasons, when it can otherwise be difficult to cajole fish to bite. Learning how to ledge fish, which is also called drop fishing, can help you find fishing success year round. The key to ledge fishing is finding a productive ledge.

Items you will need

  • Topographical map
  • Floating markers
  • Boat, motor or paddle (optional)
  • Fishing gear
Step 1

Determine the depth of water at which you should cast by researching the migratory habits of your target fish. For example, bass are commonly caught through ledge fishing. Bass are often found in ledges in deep water in the summer, since this is where their food source congregates, and often retreat to ledges in shallow water in the winter.

Step 2

Locate a ledge. A topographical map of the reservoir or body of water in which you are fishing should indicate where ledges are located. The map should also indicate the depth of the water at each ledge so that you can best choose depending on the season and the type of fish you are seeking.

Step 3

Examine the floor of the reservoir and ensure that a ledge exists. Ensure that plenty of stumps, brush, vegetation, boards or other debris exist within the channel that forms the ledge. Fish take shelter in rubble and should be found at a higher concentration in ledges with lots of hiding places.

Step 4

Drop markers into the water surrounding the ledge you wish to fish, a tactic that is especially important if you are fishing in a boat off the shore. Markers will allow you to ensure that you do not drift far from your intended fishing location. Markers are bright colored, floating devices that are attached to a cord with a weight at one end and can be purchased at most tackle stores.

Step 5

Cast your line within the marked area. Tailor your tackle and casting technique to the type of fish you wish to catch and act as if you were fishing from the shore. No special techniques are required for ledge fishing beyond locating a ledge.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ledge fishing is often successfully utilized in man-made reservoirs, since old creek beds have often carved out deep ledges into the bottoms of reservoirs.
  • You can ledge fish from the shoreline or from a boat. You will have access to more ledges and different depths of water if you use a boat but plenty of ledges exist around the shores of many reservoirs.


  • "The Field and Steam Bass-Fishing Handbook"; Mark Sosin; 1999

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images