Trees lying in the water present something of a conundrum: we know they create some serious fish-attracting structure, but we also know they’re magnificent snag-machines. What tactics can you use to catch those tree-hugging fish, without sinking your hook into hardwood? Here are three ways to catch fish while avoiding frustration.

casting for crappie near a tree
Cast parallel to the trunk and branches, not across them. The angler you see here has set himself up for disaster, because he’ll have to retrieve across the trunk and all of the branches on this tree. If his lure sinks deeper than any one of them, getting snagged is virtually a sure thing.
angler catching bass in trees
Cast a snag-resistant lure. Topwater lures may do the trick if the conditions are good for a surface bite. If not, consider casting spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged worms, flukes rigged weedless, and other lures that are just as likely to bounce off the branches as they are to snag them. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard.
yellow perch fishing
Stop casting altogether, and get up close and friendly with those fish. Look closely at this picture, and you’ll see there’s a rope tying the boat off to the tree itself. Reaching out and jigging vertically right in-between the branches the angler was able to catch fish after fish. Note that it’s easy to spook fish using this tactic, and after tying off you may need to sit quietly and wait 10 or 15 minutes before the fish are willing to bite.
walking on a tree over the water
You know why we put this one here, don’t you? Not only is this angler risking a fall, walking on the tree you’re about to fish is a surefire way of spooking anything hanging around it.

For more freshwater fishing intel also see: Critical Freshwater Fishing Tips