A few fishing season reminders

Fishing the Midwest

Here’s a young angler with an early season farm pond bluegill.

It’s a new fishing season for anglers across the Midwest and North America! Many anglers have already been fishing, others are looking forward to their first trip to the lake, river, reservoir, or pond. Following are some things to keep in mind when you get ready to go fishing.

First of all, make sure you have a valid fishing license. Some states offer options on fishing licenses. In Iowa you can buy a three year license that offers a cost savings, and you don’t need to remember to get a new one every year, only every third year. Also in Iowa you can buy a license that allows an extra line. For a few dollars more, you can use three lines, which can be an advantage in some fishing situations, such as when using slip-bobbers.

Be aware of any new regulations that may have been implemented. There are frequently changes that we need to be aware of in daily and possession limits and size limits. These are becoming more and more common. We need to manage our fisheries effectively if we want to continue to have outstanding fishing opportunities, and these regulation changes are attempts to do that.

Remember that if you’re going to be trailering a boat in some states, you need to pull the plug out of the boat when you’re on the road. This is to prevent the spread of invasive species. I put a spare plug on the key ring of my boat’s motor as a reminder to put the plug in when launching. So far I’ve remembered every time.

Also remember to pull weeds off the boat trailer when you take the boat out of the water. This is another attempt to slow the spread of invasives. If you get into a routine when loading and unloading, you can accomplish these tasks and still get your boat in and out of the water quickly and easily.

Make sure the line on your reels is in good shape. Your line is the only connection between you and the fish. Use good line!

Make sure your landing net is in good shape. The bags on nets sometimes wear out: You don’t want to discover that your net’s bag is rotten when you’re lifting that trophy out of the water.

Netting a fish is an important consideration. If you’re going to keep the fish, netting it increases the odds of getting it in the boat.

If you’re going to release the fish, the proper net will increase the odds of the fish’s survival. Some nets damage fish, a few nets are designed with the fish’s best interest in mind. Beckman Coated Nets are fish-friendly. The bottom of the net is flat, which supports the fish better, which keeps the fish in better shape for release. If you’re in need of a new net, check the Beckman’s out.

Now is the time to start checking out some of those close to home spots you’ve always thought about trying. Ask for permission to fish from local pond owners. Ponds are the first to turn on early in the year. Most ponds have bass and panfish and maybe some catfish. They can provide outstanding early season action. Get permission, then get out there. Be sure to clean up after yourself when you leave.

Last of all: Do what you can to make this a safe and pleasant fishing season. Be patient at the boat ramp. If someone is having trouble loading or unloading their boat, ask if you can help. If the person wants help, good for you and good for them. If they don’t want help, back off and let them do their thing. The open water fishing season goes by fast, enjoy it.

To see new and old episodes of Fishing the Midwest television, fishing articles and videos, visit fishingthemidwest.com

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