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Sandpit Fishing 101

If you know anything about fishing in Nebraska, it’s that you are usually not very far from a sandpit of some sort. For miles and miles along the Platte River valley, there are sandpits that were formed during the building of the interstate. There are also private pits that a lot of times are adjacent to these public waters. Add in various other man made pits, and you’ve got quite a selection. Here, we’ll discuss a few general tactics when trying to be successful on these waters.

You can learn a lot about a sandpit by looking at its shoreline structure. Deep water areas close to shore are obvious at times, as the banks can go straight up, which make access tricky. Conversely, shallow areas are shown by the gradually rising banks next to them.

The body of a sand pit can vary widely, depending on its age and level of activity. Lots of private sandpits are basically deep holes filled with water. Finding different kinds of structure or cover can sometimes be difficult, so when you do find such a place, it can be special. A ridge of larger rock extending off a point, a hidden weed bed, or a random log can make a big difference in these pits.

In older pits, like the aforementioned Interstate Lakes, it’s a lot easier to spot potential fish holding areas. Lots of these lakes also have boat access, which can greatly increase your odds of catching quality fish. Generally speaking, there are more areas of cover like grass and bushes, and fallen trees.

When these areas are identified, you can start making decisions about how to fish said areas. When it comes to older public areas, it can be an easy process. Throwing plastics into thickly covered areas where there are cat tails and grass is always a good place to start. Throwing crankbaits adjacent to these areas can also produce. Bouncing a jig-n-pig about anywhere can be deadly a large portion of the open water season. Don’t believe that you always need cover to throw a jig-n-pig; we catch plenty of bass on drop offs in open water.

One observation that applies to most sand pits in our state is the fact that they often have clear to very clear water. This can make catching fish difficult as they can be very wary, and get spooked at seemingly any activity. Keeping your distance and starting with natural colors in your bait selections are good places to start. A bit of a breeze to break the water’s surface clarity or cloudy days are always helpful in these situations.

When it comes to location, I like to have certain strategies when fishing any sand pit. One thing I like to do is fish corners. What I mean is being in the corner of a pit where you have a 90 degree or so turn on the bank. This allows you to cover both deep and shallow water, as well as shoreline targets. This can really help shrink your search for active fish.

I also like to fish deep water areas that are very close to shallow areas. Lots of times, fish will move up from deep water to feed near or in shallower water. Other times, they sit in water that’s just deep enough for them to ambush prey coming out of the shallows. These are great places to throw crankbaits that vary in depth, as they will help you find the fish faster.

Hopefully these few tips will help you on your next adventure to your local sand pit. Sometimes these unique bodies of water can present different challenges that you may not find on your favorite reservoir or lake. Try different tactics, be safe and enjoy the fishing.

About Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson is a lifelong resident of central Nebraska who has spent his entire life chasing fish of all kinds. Nearing 100 Master Angler awards for 13 different species, Brian spends most of his time fishing central Nebraska water, including the Tri County Canal system and associated waters.

2 comments

  1. Brian Robinson

    I’ll be honest; that’s usually the hard part is finding such areas. Lots of public pits are available throughout the state, but finding private pits with owners who will grant you access is a much more difficult ordeal! For instance, in the area near where I live, there are several, several private waters, and the percentage of waters that I have access to is definitely less than 10%, maybe even less than 5%. It can be tricky. Good luck in your search!

  2. Willing to let me know where these sandpits are??! Sounds like a good fishing day :>) thanks

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