Even strong proponents of public access to fishing waters will protect their hidden gems or find justifications for the occasional visits to waters not available to the less privileged. All private water isn't created equally (to say the very least), and some pieces of guarded water are truly special. In some cases, private water offers those of who don't have the budgets to travel to Alaska or Kamchatka the next closest thing to unspoiled wilderness.

Regardless of how often I wince when previously public waterways go private, due to weak or unclear laws protecting public access to water, I never miss a chance to fish my favorite private trout stream -- a remarkable little spring creek in central Pennsylvania, kept in family hands for generations and fished by less than 30 people per year. No matter how quickly I'll jump at a chance to shit on money-minded investors that snatch up land surrounding public fisheries in order to privatize historic streams with healthy wild trout populations, fill them with pellet fed hogs, and serve wine stream-side all in the name of "conservation" and $30k per year membership dues (Donny Beaver), I don't share the location of or encourage public access to my favorite bass pond, also family controlled and family protected for generations.

big bass love frog patterns smacked on the water

Why? For lots of reasons. For one, just as when formerly public water goes private, when formerly private water is suddenly made available to the masses -- things usually go south. And fast. There's also the fact that, like some others out there, I'm human. Private water stinks when you're on the outside, but when you're on the inside, things don't seem so criminal. Go figure. Lastly, if you think anyone is going to voluntarily give up information about a bass pond that yields 40 fish days as commonly as MTV airs shitty programming, and gives up the almost 10 pound monster pictured above (on the fly, of course), you're crazy.

So, while it grieves me not to be able to share it with others, I'll be headed back to Largemouth Heaven next week with an eye on landing that pig again, who figures to be a solid pound heavier by now.

Chances are you've got a secret spot of your own.

Please tell us about it in the comments below. GPS coordinates are encouraged.


Yes, I have a secret spot, too. It's called River X.

I fish a lot of south Georgia farm ponds; some of which are so well managed and large that I could probably put a skiff on and could catch 10lb bass, monster carp, and redbreast bream on in a couple of hours. But, some so terrible that I catch more beers than hours (and I'm okay with that, too).

Down south, we aren't as endowed with public land as you guys out west. Private land is always a hit or miss, but you can always tell the people that really care about the ecosystem on their land by the way they treat it. So if you see someone with a feeder on their pond, but has also kept hundreds of acres in tact, let them be. They might even let you fish if you ask nicely.