When Thoughts Turn to Spring, Think Fishing!

As I sit here and look out the window at the snow swirling around my house, wondering if we are really going to get that foot of snow that was predicted, my mind begins to wander. All of a sudden it hits me… it’s March 2nd!

For a guy whose boat has been sequestered in a cold barn for the last five months, the only thing that I can now think of is the fact that opening day is just around the corner! In fact, it’s actually here… at least for early trout in Wisconsin. It also means walleye opener is not far behind.

Adult mayfiles on the surface of the water

My boat is crying to be released from its winter storage and there are lots of things to do to get ready for the upcoming fishing and vacation season. One of the first things you can do is visit the website for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and/or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for lots of useful information. There is plenty of news about places to camp, hunt and fish; there are downloadable maps and regulations, as well as permit applications and lot of other important information.

These are also great places to get your hunting, fishing and camping licenses and permits online. Speaking of “on line”, this is a good time – if you’re not shoveling at the moment – to take a look at those fishing poles from last year… especially the line.

I learned the hard way that just about all fishing line that has been exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun for the entire fishing season is going to deteriorate. So now is a great time to strip off about 15-20 yards so that you have fresh line to put in the water this spring.

Better yet, if you’ve given those poles a good workout (and maybe you haven’t put on new line in awhile), why not just re-spool them with new line altogether. As they say: “there's a spooling choice for every budget.” Face it, tying on new line, snap swivels and leaders sure beats losing that first big fish of the season!

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's -- just to mention two -- are sending out their newest catalogs, packed full of deals on line, reels and rods. Being prepared is the best way to start a new season.

In the face of a weekend seemingly offering little more than some couch time watching re-runs or basketball games, why not take a peek into the ol' tackle box and see what needs repairing or replacing? Check out those reels to make sure they are lubed and ready.

Why not do some re-organizing so that your first fishing trip of the season doesn't find you cursing the fact that an important lure lost to a giant bass never got replaced? Double-check to make sure that your first-aid kit is still full of the necessities like aspirin, band-aids, and allergy meds for the possible reaction to a bee sting.

Even if it is still in storage, you can still make a list of things to check on when you get your boat back home: Do you still carry an emergency signal flare (one that's not way out-dated)? Are your ropes/lines still in good condition or could they use replacement? Is there still ample sun screen on board? Is your fire extinguisher outdated/in need of replacement or servicing?

Spring can be a frustrating time of year; the ice has that grey or black and waffled appearance that pretty much announces the end of the hard water season. Spring is also a great signal that it's time for renewal of both land and spirit.

The days lengthen, the sun rides higher in the sky, and the annual spawn is at hand. Take the time to rejoice that warmer weather is soon to follow. Think positively. Think spring. But think -- and plan -- ahead, so that when the time comes to head for your favorite fishing hole... you are ready!

As always, I hope to see you On the Lake!

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