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Author Topic: [National] Finding Lake Maps - Tips & Tricks  (Read 2278 times)

Offline rivermandave

[National] Finding Lake Maps - Tips & Tricks
« on: May 04, 2014, 09:26:56 AM »
Besides the commercial companies that sell lake maps, several
state's DNR websites have downloadable / printable lake maps for free

But you can also find free maps on the net by searching.

I've found 5 main ways that will give you a pretty good
overall search of what's on the 'Net...

You can use these "strings" in any Online Search Engine.

For maps all over the USA, search these 5 ways...

"contour map" + lake
"hydrographic map" + lake
"bathymetric map" + lake
"depth map" + lake
"fishing map" + lake

For ones specific in a particular state, search with...

"contour map" + lake + (name of your state)
"hydrographic map" + lake + (name of your state)
"bathymetric map" + lake + (name of your state)
"depth map" + lake + (name of your state)
"fishing map" + lake + (name of your state)

And if you want a map for a SPECIFIC lake, try these...

"contour map" + (name of your state) + (lake name)
"hydrographic map" + (name of your state) + (lake name)
"bathymetric map" + (name of your state) + (lake name)
"depth map" + (name of your state) + (lake name)
"fishing map" + (name of your state) + (lake name)

So let's say I wanted one for Lake ET (or ET Lake) in Minnesota, my search strings would be...

"contour map" + Minnesota + "ET Lake"
"hydrographic map" + Minnesota + "ET Lake"
"bathymetric map" + Minnesota + "ET Lake"
"depth map" + Minnesota + "ET Lake"
"fishing map" + lake + Minnesota + "ET Lake"

You can ALSO substitute the word "reservoir" for "lake".

Make SURE you spell EVERYTHING correctly in your searches or you may get something REALLY odd.

You may get something for all 5 lake ones...you may get none...

But I have YET to find a more thorough way to do it.

Sometimes it can help to NOT use the word "map" in the search string. This is because they are ocassionally called a "bathymetric study / survey" or a "hydrographic study / survey". Here is an example.

Sometimes the USGS will publish a bathymetric "study"...and it will have a map or several maps in it.

It's difficult to find these doing a regular search on the 'Net.

Here's the results of a search I did on the USGS website for documents that had the word "bathymetry".


Once you get to that page with the results, you won't be able to "right click" (using Firefox) on any of the document links.

And...MOST of the documents have to do with off-shore (ocean shore-line).

At the same time, many of the documents are about reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

In the serach results above, when you see a document that interests you, click on the link.

Here's an example, which is about Millwood Lake (reservoir) in Arkansas.


The page states that a "print version" isn't available.

But if you right-click on the "icon" on the left hand side, then "Open In New Tab", you will then get to this webpage.


Look on the right hand side of the webpage to see the "map.pdf" Link

Here it is...


Once you have downloaded it, open it up and then start zooming in.

Regular 7.5 moa (1:25,000) USGS maps are "quirky"...as some states show basic depth / contour maps for lakes/reservoirs, yet others don't.

This one is for Red Bluff Reservoir in Texas....and shows the original Pecos River channel


Here's the Topozone version...quite different.


One last note.

MOST search engines have an "images" link / feature for search.

SOMETIMES...you can find a map with that...without going through all
the "regular search" hits.

For example...here's a GIANT map I ran across for Canyon Lake / Canyon Reservoir in Texas


Linkback: https://fishinpedia.com/bass-fishing-forums/state-fisheries-lake-maps-depth-maps/23/finding-lake-maps-tips-and-tricks/124/

Offline rivermandave

Re: Finding Lake Maps - Tips & Tricks
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 03:20:32 PM »
I've discovered another "type" of map that is slowly becoming more available on the Internet.

They have to do with "fish cribs", also know as "fish attractors".

A bit more info about them can be found by searching for "Fish Attracting Devices" and "Fish Aggregating Devices"...also known as "FAD's".

I have found these types of maps on websites ranging from the USGS, USFWS etc...all the way down to local "lake association" websites.

They CAN be difficult to find though.

For example, I ran into a single map in a search on the 'Net for a lake in Pennsylvania. I had to search the whole PA.gov site to find the rest of them as there is no single webpage that lists them. Check out my latest post in the Pennsylvania State topic for a link to the search results.


Offline rivermandave

Re: Finding Lake Maps - Tips & Tricks
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2014, 06:11:11 PM »
I recently discovered a topic on an ice fishing forum concerning lake maps for Montana.


More & more states and other government agencies are making GIS files (and others like metadata) available to the general public. These files can be converted to ".kml" files that can be used with Google Earth to make hybrid contour maps. If you have trouble getting maps for your state's lakes & reservoirs you may want to consider looking into this.

Besides the USGS, I've discovered that the US Bureau of Reclamation has also done reservoir "surveys", some of which include contour / depth / bathymetric maps.

Here's a link to what I found for them.


Offline toad

Re: Finding Lake Maps - Tips & Tricks
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 06:38:59 AM »
Thanks for all this research, Dave. It may be out there, but I'm not aware of another site that has this much detailed assistance.


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