By Larry Pape
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Having a successful fishing trip depends on how you plan for success. Planning will help regardless if your goal is to catch a state record fish, or escape from chores for the day.
Remember that some days we catch fish on bare hooks, while others days we just go fishing. Prepare and plan to have fun and you will never be disappointed.
The following are few planning tips and hints:
Plan where to fish – Nebraska has more than 200 lakes that are open the public. Each of these is listed in the Nebraska Fishing Guide with a description of the location, amenities and the fish present. This guide and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website – OutdoorNebraska.org – include a listing of Family Friendly Lakes and those that are accessible. These locations are sure to be comfortable and most likely good fish-catching opportunity.
Plan to be safe and comfortable – In the summer, fishing during the middle of the day can be hot and a sun-burning experience. Consider such conditions and plan accordingly; bring sunscreen, water and a shade shelter. Or, wait until it cools off in the evening when the fish also are more active. If you are sneaking off to fish on your own at a remote lake, let someone know your plans.
Plan your equipment – Depending on what you want to catch, or more important, what you want to carry, will help decide what to include. You really only need a stick with a string and hook. But really, just take one or two fishing poles per angler and basic gear. Keep the tackle simple for what you want to catch. Leave the huge tackle box at home or in the car. A long-nose-pliers and nail clippers are handy tools that fit into a small pack with the rest of your tackle.
Plan to have fun – Essential fishing trip items should always include the things that make the trip an enjoyable adventure. The first item is an expectation of fun whatever the fishing outcome. Equipment and supplies that make it an enjoyable adventure include snacks and drinks, field guides for birds, or mushrooms, or whatever your interest, lawn chairs, a ball or Frisbee to burn off extra energy, and a Plan B for when conditions change.
Plan a Plan B – Nearly every lake in Nebraska is near a small town that can offer adventure. The local diner likely will serve a fish dinner to replace the fish you didn’t catch or chose not to keep. Hide from the heat or rain in a junk shop in search of a memento for the day. Accomplish Great Park Pursuit stops while traveling to and from your fishing destination. Regardless of what you ended up doing, your fishing trip was more memorable than the chores you left for tomorrow.
If you are just getting into fishing and want more details on planning a fishing adventure, a helpful resource for all things beginner is Game and Parks’ Going Fishing Guide, available at OutdoorNEbraska.gov/howtofish. For information on the Great Park Pursuit, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/greatparkpursuit. Buy a fishing permit at OutdoorNebraska.org.
Photo: A family enjoys a summer evening of fishing at Holmes Lake in Lincoln. (Nebraskaland Magazine/NGPC)