Old School Lake Mapping Should Still have a Place on Your Shelf

Printed lake maps are helpful tools and can result in sales beyond the map

Old School Lake Mapping Should Still have a Place on Your Shelf

It’s easy to forget the worth of a printed map in today’s world of digital cartography, but don’t overlook the value of stocking local lake maps in your store. 

Any serious angler who travels to new waters will tell you that one of the first steps to breaking down the body of water is research is to look at a lake map and pick out high percentage areas. A lot of weekend anglers and vacationers don’t rely on advanced GPS units with sonar and side image technologies, so supplying an old fashioned map and showing them how to read it, maybe even highlighting a few of your favorite fishing locations, will go a long way.

You can also utilize the tools these maps provide to make more sales. Popular maps like Fishing Hot Spots not only include detailed and accurate contour lines, but hot spot locations for a variety of fish species. Each hot spot includes a short write-up with tips on how to catch fish in that area and even suggests lures to use. Keep those front and center and help your customers pair them up with the areas and species they’re targeting. 

Reading the map

To a novice, contour maps may just appear to be a lake outline filled with squiggly lines. Explaining what the lines mean will help your customers achieve angling success and stay safe on the water. 

Map provided by Fishidy - www.fishidy.com
Map provided by Fishidy - www.fishidy.com

The contour — or gradient — lines give a clear indication of depth throughout the water body and how quickly the depth changes. The space between the lines is the area to concentrate on when targeting a specific depth range. In the image above, the gradient lines are clearly labeled with the depth of water they represent. The example is a fairly detailed map with gradient intervals of 1-foot. Less detailed maps will often use intervals of 5 to 10 feet. 

The red circles surround areas on the map with tight contour lines, indicating a drop-off where the bottom elevation changes quickly. In contrast, the areas indicated within the black circles show contour lines that are spread out, representing a gentle slope or flat. The larger black circle indicates a shallow bay on this particular lake, while the smaller circle indicates an offshore shallow hump.

Not just for anglers

Don’t rule out the practicality of these maps for customers outside the angling world as well. Aside from navigation, they will help boaters avoid shallow or hazardous areas and find local facilities and access points. Boat launches, restaurants and mooring locations are often displayed and even if they aren’t, let customers know you are happy to mark favorite local establishments and a few fishing areas to try. That will open the door to sales of anything else they might need for a day on the water.


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