To move, or not to move? That is a question anglers must answer every time they hit the water or the ice. Sometimes, it’s not the easiest question to answer either. And inevitably, you’ll end up making the wrong decision from time to time.

For me, the decision to move or stay depends on a wide range of factors.

Weather often plays a big role in deciding to stick around one spot. Lets face it, if it’s -30C I’ll be less inclined to pack up my gear and employ a run-and-gun strategy on the ice. In my opinion, you’re best off to choose a high percentage spot and ride it out there when the mercury really drops.

IMG_0073 (Medium)The same goes for big winds and storms in the boat. I’d rather stick around one area than spend the day crashing through huge waves and fighting the conditions.

Another situation where I throw the run-and-gun playbook out the window is when I’m trophy hunting, especially for walleye. In this case, I like to work one or two confidence spots that are close to each other and bounce back and forth between them. Spending more time with lines in the water on top-notch spots can tip the odds in your favour for connecting with a trophy.

Running-and-gunning means you’ll spend less time fishing and more time driving the boat. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s a successful strategy a lot of the time. I use it constantly when muskie fishing and when searching for a lot of walleye action.

Under good conditions, both on the water and the ice, if you’re not catching fish you should be planning your next move. Try different structure, different depths or different areas of the lake until you find something that works. These are the days that you’ll find the next honey-hole – a spot that will become a confidence spot that you can sit on when conditions aren’t favourable.
Trolling is another great way to constantly be fishing new water. It’s probably the best strategy for fishing unfamiliar water too.

There’s much to consider when deciding if you should stay or if you should move. Weighing your options is a good bet as is listening to your gut feeling. Bottom line, if you don’t find better fishing you can always come back to where you started.

Ben Beattie is an outdoor writer and fishing guide based in Sioux Lookout, ON. For more information visit