Opening weekend of fishing season

The day so many anglers have waited for is finally almost here! Game fish season opens in Wisconsin tomorrow.  Of course, in the north, where I live, musky season isn’t open yet and smallmouth is catch and release only until June… but it still marks the beginning of what every angler hopes is another successful season. It does not matter if you are on the water in search of dinner, or to bring home tournament winnings. If you love fishing, this weekend is something that gets you excited.

Now, that is not to say that all of us head out on opening weekend.  Quite the contrary. To me, I prefer to let the tourists and the weekend warriors fill the boat ramps (sometimes for up to 20 minutes while they prep their boat, which should have been done long before they moved into the actual launching lane….). This year I don’t have a tournament that I’m prefishing for, so I might just stay off the water on Saturday.  If I were to have prefishing plans, though, I’d launch at first light and attempt to be off the water by 11.  But, for many bodies of water in northern Wisconsin, that can be the best idea anyway.  For the most part, you have the water to yourself with other fishermen when you fish early.  The later in the day it gets… well, I think it goes without saying.

I’d really like to wish everyone a successful weekend, but more than that I hope you all stay safe.  I’ve already seen an ambulance go by three times this evening, and most people aren’t even on the water yet.  If you haven’t towed your boat anywhere since last fall, please check over your wheels, tires and trailer. Sometimes we get so excited to get out fishing finally that we forget the simple things. And, to be honest, a bunch of the people towing a boat to their opening day destination don’t tow anything that often.  If a trailer tire blows, it can cause a huge issue the they aren’t prepared to deal with.  It can happen.  I think many of us have seen it. A lot of these problems can be rectified by doing some basic maintenance before leaving home. It’s not only a good idea, it could save a life.

I also hope everyone stays safe once they get to the water. No one who doesn’t already wear their life jacket all the time wants to hear, “wear your life jacket,” but I’m going to say it anyway.  I want you to be here tomorrow and next week and next year, reading my blog and wondering if I ate lead paint as a child (I think I might have, but you can hardly tell anymore!). Things happen on the water, and they happen quickly. Our best defense is a good offense, as the saying goes.  Wearing a life jacket, especially when water temps are low – most reports I’ve heard are in the 50s – may save your life.  I recently read that it is not hypothermia that kills 75% of the people who fall into cold water.  The biggest killer, they say, is the involuntary gasp reflex when a person hits that cold water.  It’s a reflex, and it’s not something you can prevent.  It just happens.  With that reflex, water enters your lungs.  If you are wearing a life jacket that can hold your head above water, your chances of expelling that water and getting back to safety are much, much better.  I wear an automatic inflatable, pretty much from the time I step on the dock until I have the boat back on the trailer.  I don’t swim, so it’s really important to me. But, even if you see yourself as a strong swimmer, life jackets are still a good idea.  If you should happen to fall out of the boat and hit your head – I won’t finish that.  I’m sure you can fill in the blank.

But, enough about life jackets.  I hope you wear one.  I hope you make everyone in your boat wear one.  Okay, one more thing:  I heard this statistic and I think it’s probably pretty close.  I was told it came from the Fish and Wildlife Service, but I don’t know that to be true.  So, here it is: 90% of fishermen who drown (males) are found with their zipper down.  So, don’t think drowning just happens when you’re running across the lake, hit a big wake wrong and fly out of your boat. Is it true?  Who knows for sure, but it’s a fun fact, so I like to throw it out there.

From what I’m hearing, the weekend should set up pretty well for fishing. We’ve got a pretty good front coming through right now as I write this and the temperature is dropping, but that’s to be expected when the mercury head over 80 in May (Wait.  do they still use mercury?).  The wind has picked up quite a bit from the time I sat down at the keyboard, and I am hearing a bit of thunder.  The radar looks ugly to the north.  From Park Falls through Minocqua and Eagle River are getting a pretty good size thunder storm and it seems to be heading my way.  That could change things up a bit for fishing tomorrow, but I think it will still be a great day.  The walleye are done spawning in many lakes and should even be coming out of their post-spawn funk.  So, if that’s what you’re targeting, I hope you find your dinner.  Make sure to check the signs at the launch ramps for any size and slot limits.

For pan fishermen, you should also be sure to check the signage at the ramp.  There are three new panfish regulations in place that might change the number and kinds of fish you can take. The regulations have changed bag limits on 93 lakes in Wisconsin and are part of a 10-year management plan.  The idea is to see which plan on various types of lakes achieves the goal of more panfish and larger panfish.

The 25/10 rule states that 25 is the daily bag limit of panfish, but an angler may take no more than 10 of any one species.

The Spawning Season 15/5 rule says that only 15 panfish may be taken during the months of May and June, and only 5 of those may be of any one species.

Under the 15/5 rule, only 15 panfish may be kept and only 5 of those may be of any one species.

Obviously, not all lake are affected by these rules. But anglers should make sure they check any signage at the launch ramp, or check with a local bait shop, to see if bag limits on their destination lake have changed.

I wish you all good luck and tight lines this weekend.  And remember – hook sets are free!

 

 

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It has to open eventually, right?

Ice forming.jpgThis time of year is always tough on “soft water” anglers, I think.  I’m not one to really head out on the ice and go ice fishing, so I am one of those people looking out the window, hoping the sun will come out and warm things up enough to melt the snow and ice and let me get back to fishing.

Today was a really nice day, 50 degrees on the way home from work.  And tomorrow is projected to be nice as well.  I can even deal with a couple of days of rain – that helps, too.  But then comes the weekend with highs in the 30s once again. But it has to go away eventually, right?  Right? Some years it seems like that won’t be the case.

I suppose we really shouldn’t complain too much.  We did have a fairly mild winter.  We didn’t get a lot of snow and it was not too drastically cold for too long.  But spring sure is taking its sweet time getting here!

I do still have plenty to do before I hit the open water.  I’ve got line to spool on reels, treble hooks to change on crankbaits.  It’s just that both of those things are much more enjoyable when I sit in front of the picture window and I’m not looking out on a snow-covered landscape.  That being said, I guess I better get those tasks done before the weekend!

I know some people have been out fishing already in the BFLs, Opens, and Angler’s Choice, and it’s been great to see some people I know finish so well.  And walleye tournaments around the state are getting ready to get started as early as this weekend – stay safe and wear your life jackets! I hope you all have a great year on the water, with even a personal best or two thrown in there for good measure.

We have fishing season and buying season

In Wisconsin winters are long and cold.  That goes without saying.  We expect it and we always know it’s coming.  But we’re still sad when we put our boats away for the winter and think about having to wait it out until April, at least, to get back onto “soft water”.

But at least we have “buying season” to keep us entertained, right?   I don’t know about anyone else, but for me this is a great time to… well, buy stuff.  As soon as the season ends, I’m making lists of what I need to replenish for next year. Terminal tackle, line, soft plastics. There is no doubt I will need all of these things before the next season starts.

Part of this “buying season”, though, is also “Throwing season.” We all have stuff that we thought we would use the crap out of during the season.  As it winds up, we bought four packs each of three different colors, tied one on for three different tournaments, and never even threw it once.  Those plastics are going to sit at the bottom of a bin somewhere on the outside chance that we’ll dig them out and use them again some day… I mean actually use them, not just tie them on and throw them in the bottom of the boat without ever even throwing them.

When it comes to that part of “buying season”, I think we should all look around.  We should see who might really use that stuff that we bought and never threw. Is there a youth group, a high school team, or just a kid you see at the launch ramp all the time who could use that stuff that you’re about to throw into a bin or a closet somewhere and forget about for a few years? I’m guessing there is a better use for those things we all hang on to and will never use.  There is a kid at every launch ramp asking a hundred different questions about fishing. He’ll show you his Zebco 33 or she will tell you about the “one that got away” from that dock just last week.

They are the future of our sport.  And I think it makes sense to feed that passion.  It makes sense to take a few minutes and help him learn how to cast or to show her how to put a worm on her hook.  We all do it.  Most of us take that time.  So, next time, while we are taking the time to talk to those kids, why not take some of our baits we will probably never use anyway. Let’s face it, we have our confidence baits. Those are what we catch our fish on.  But we will still try out other baits.  Maybe that bait will become the confidence bait of a 10-year-old at your local park or launch ramp. Why not pull that stuff out of wherever we have it hidden and make sure we have a pack of baits to throw to a kid when we see them? Not only will it make a great connection between our generation and the next… but it will leave us more room for “buying season”!  But, honestly, if we have it laying around, chances are really good that there is a kid out there that would love to have just a pack or two of baits of his or her own.  And I think we owe it to the future of our sport.  I’m going to go look in my “throw away” bin right now… and I hope you do, too.

Why You Should Join a Bass Fishing Club

I understand that not everyone is competitive.  And maybe that’s the reason more people, specifically more women, don’t join bass clubs.  But, really, you don’t have to be competitive.  Eventually, you may become that way – it’s just natural.  As far as just getting involved, though, it is really a great way to learn a lot about fishing, make some great friendships, and spend some time outdoors.  You shouldn’t feel out of place as a woman or a novice when you join a bass club.  The reason clubs exist is to help people learn new techniques and improve their fishing.  Everyone is there to learn something!

Another misconception about bass fishing is that is has to be really, really expensive.  You don’t need a lot of equipment, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money.  Don’t get me wrong.  At this point, I probably spend more on bass fishing than is prudent, but I’m okay with that.  It’s my hobby, my passion, and it could probably even be called my vice.  In reality, though, you can at least get started fairly inexpensively.

You don’t need fifteen expensive rods and reels to start with.  A couple spinning set-ups will work just fine to start.   You don’t need a bunch of tackle to start, either.  You might pick up a little terminal tackle like hooks and sinkers, a few bags of soft plastics, maybe a cheap spinnerbait or two, and call that good to start with.  I’ll cover tackle in another blog post, though.  But suffice it to say that you don’t need a boat load of tackle.  Heck, you don’t even need a boat!

That’s part of what’s great about fishing with a local bass club.  You can fish as either a boater or a non-boater.  Being a non-boater is just what it sounds like.  You fish with someone else out of his or her boat.  Even if you have a boat, when you first start out with a club, it can be a great idea to fish with someone else at least part of the time.  You can definitely learn a lot from the boaters in your club, and there’s no better way to do that than to spend a day in the back of their boats.

When you join a bass fishing club, you are really there to learn.  When I joined my first bass club, I didn’t know much of anything about bass fishing.  I’d done it a couple of times, but with varying amounts of success.  But when I joined the club, I really started to learn a lot.  I was very lucky to have my boyfriend who taught me so much about bass fishing.  But I did learn a lot from other guys in the club, too.

I think it’s a great idea for anyone who thinks they might want to try fishing, to join a club and just learn from other anglers.  Even if it’s only for a year, it’s a great way not only to learn, to be meet people who enjoy the same things you do – and you might even find you enjoy fishing more than you knew.  A simple Internet search can provide you with some clubs in your area.  Check them out and find one that works for you.  You will never know how much fun you’re missing if you don’t!

Welcome to my Fish Like a Girl US blog!

Thanks for checking in on my newest blog.  I am an avid bass angler and I truly enjoy being out on the water.  I fish club tournaments as well as two team circuits in Wisconsin.  I have several sponsor, who you will get to know if you follow this blog for any length of time.  They are:  RockyBrook Sinkers, Denali Rods, Secret Weapon Baits, Super K Jigs, and Stick ‘Um Graphics.  We also recently picked up FishingFundraiser.com, and I’m really excited about what they have to offer scholatic fishing teams in the way of fundraisers.

If you enjoy fishing, I hope you’ll enjoy my blog, and even check out my website http://www.fishlikeagirl.us  I’ll be posting pictures, podcasts, and even videos to that site as the season moves along.  In any case, I hope you find some great fishing information, or at least a reason to smile, in my posts and information here on this blog and on my website.

Thank you for stopping by and good fishing!