3 Tips for Planning Fishing Trips

MapsTinyStaring out the office window at my rapidly shrinking driveway surface area and ever growing snow banks, thoughts turn to when this annoying stuff finally melts and transforms into enough oxygenated liquid to support my finned friends. Can’t wait!

This year I’ve got big fishing plans. For the last two years, I explored and fished from shore or kayak. Only a couple of small streams with limited shore access have been crossed off. With the addition of a new fishing boat (well, new to me) and trailer, there are larger new waters to explore. Several large close lakes contain stripers and pike. The kayak also will continue to compete for my fishing attention.

For example, there is a shallow lake nearby that may contain a duck-eating muskie. And of course, there is always the ample shore and miles of trails. One shoreline location is rumored to have so many carp that the ducks walk across the backs of these fish.

Here are 3 tips to keep from getting overwhelmed with options when spring finally arrives.

  1. List.
    Write down all of those places you’ve been longing to try this winter.

  2. Locate.
    Dig out those maps jammed under the truck seat and study them. Visit the boating and fishing map features on this site. If the water still iced over and not cast able or you are “in the neighborhood,” do some exploring. You want to be able to drive directly to these places, not blow valuable daylight fishing time searching when the right moment comes.

  3. Look.
    Observe the quality of the roads and ramps. Are they still accessible after a recent rain? Are there posted signs pertaining to trail access or special regulations? For example, one fun collection of ponds in Western Pennsylvania is only open to anglers June through December.

To help narrow down my decisions, in general I try to take advantage of optimal river and stream conditions and consider these options first. Lakes’ water levels and clarity tend to fluctuate less, so it also serves as a good plan B, depending on what species I want to chase.

Are you planning fishing trips now? Is your mind reeling too?

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.