The prep. So many variables can affect your success when chasing trophy gills. There's the lake type, fishing pressure, predators, weather, location and genetics. These are just some of the things that determine the trophy potential for any given lake. Some of my favorite lakes are small bodies of water with a couple of shallow bays and a mixture of cattail and bulrush lined shores. I also like to have more then one deep basin to allow the fish to spread out and not get too pressured. Having a population of pike and/or largemouth bass can also help keep gill numbers in check and allow a lower population to grow big! Weather can play a big factor when fishing new lakes and trying to determine the size structure. If you are out on a new lake in post frontal conditions or after the spawn you might not catch many fish and have a hard time checking the size structure of the lake. The last, but one of the most important features of a trophy lake, is the genetic structure of the lake. Whenever I hear talk about a lake putting out trophy fish of any species, it's a sign to check it out for trophy gills too. Sometimes it's like something in the water just grows big fish! Now that you have a list of lakes to attack, the "on the water" search begins.