Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First of the year

I guess the reason I ice fish is to bridge the gap between the last time I touch my spinning reel in the fall to the first time I pick it up in the spring. Not that I don't enjoy ice fishing, merely my story and blog needs a place to start. Every year its the same thing when February arrives . I add fresh line, oil and lube my reels and dig up my trout maps. The early trout season is the first open water chance I get in spring and its a great way to bust the cabin fever up a bit.I fine tune or craft a few new spinners and I'm off. Catch and release season has a few people scratching their heads but for me its a time for some self organizing and reflection more than cleaning fish.
It didn't take long after a nice ride over to sand country to realize that I am way out of shape to be wading the streams in early season. Just bend over to put waders on and bucking the two foot of snow to the stream edge had me breathing heavy. So the first trick I'll share for early spring fishing is , slow down. I had to realize that I'm not running marathons in early season or even close . Plan your work and work your plan is a great adage to use . http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/species/trout/streammaps.html. This link provides all the trout maps in Wisconsin that a person could possibly want to view. Print several copies of counties your going through on the way fishing and take notice as you drive. Next ,search your area on Google maps. Great way to see the area you want to fish and maybe some short cuts to fishing your area. This can all be done days or weeks ahead of time. This is great stuff to do on those snowy nights. I have my maps laminated and usually ride with me all the time.
Now your on the stream, the best thing to do is relax and enjoy your surroundings. Take the time to soak in all you can about the hole your fishing. Look at bottom structure, boulders,limbs and current. Is the water stained? Even try to imagine what the hole might look like when the water is a foot higher and what will be structure at that point. This will save you lots of time when your running and gunning on your next trip.
The first day is also a great time to fine tune lures and the rod and reel. For me, I make all my own trout lures in different shapes and sizes so early on, instead of busting my way to a new hole, I changes lures. Pay attention to how the blades are spinning for the current your fishing, what colors are working, and even the speed of your retrieve. So even if your not catching fish don't be discouraged .Your really scouting for next time so you can hit your prime spots and you can move along much faster. If you are catching fish your getting a big bonus so make some mental notes and enjoy.
Lastly , its a time to thank your lucky stars. Be thankful you live in a state that cares about your natural resources. Be thankful for clean water and your health and be thankful your alive to enjoy another first of the year!

Author: John McArdle

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