Low waters may change spring fishing plans

Published 8:39 am Friday, May 14, 2010

As the 2010 fishing opener begins there may be new challenges at some of our favorite lakes. With the low water levels, especially in the northern part of the state, some accesses may be a little tough to use. I know that two years ago the Spider Lake access was close to being impossible for me to launch my boat. My trailer tires were on the second to the last slat of the access ramp. If you go past the last slat there is a significant drop and that would not have good results.

Last year the water in the area was up a little and I was able to launch without any real concern but from what I’ve heard this year the levels are down about as far as anyone can remember. I may have to change the game plan this year and fish some other lakes.

Fishing different lakes is something that I don’t mind; in fact I have always enjoyed exploring new waters in search of those finned creatures that swim in water. The sense of adventure that it brings to me takes me back to my days as a youth and makes part of me feel like that kid again.

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There have been times when I’ve ventured out to test new waters by myself and it has given me a great sense of accomplishment. Fishing with family or friends is always good but there are times when fishing in solitude can be very peaceful. Looking back to the days when we camped at Spider Lake I always tried to be the first one out in the morning and that usually meant going solo. This time alone gave me a chance to try new things or sort of experiment with different fishing strategies. In my 30s the In-Fisherman magazine was like the “Fisherman’s Bible” to me as I read it religiously.

There were things in that magazine that I could apply to my fishing and then there were some things that I didn’t have the technology to use. I had no desire to go out and buy a PH meter to test the oxygen levels and I couldn’t afford a state-of-the-art graph. There were so many good tips in that magazine and I really learned a lot. One thing that I have learned over the years is that no two lakes are alike and each lake fishes a little different. This means that what works on one lake may not work the same way on another. This is why no matter what you think you know there is always something to learn. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and baits until you find what works.

The one piece of modern technology that I did have was an old Lowrance “Green Box” that I had bought from my uncle, Ben. This was as modern as my technology was going to get for quite a few years. I have to say that the box did make a better fisherman out of me and it had nothing to do with its finding the depth or locating the fish but everything to do with “making do” when the stupid thing didn’t work. I do believe that of all the years that I had that thing it never did work for a full week.

I sent it in numerous times to be repaired and each time it came back and worked for about three days before expiring. The last time that I sent it in to the company it came back about two weeks later. I was standing in the driveway talking with my friend, Bob, about a planned fishing trip when the UPS driver dropped it off. When I opened the package there was a box that a new flasher would come in. Bob goes, “Wow, they sent you a new one” but, alas, it was just a cruel hint because when I opened the box there was “old greenie” looking up at me with a note attached that said they could no longer find parts for it so it couldn’t be fixed.

Over the years I remembered where the good places were, what the depths were and where the underwater weed lines ran. I had fished these areas when the thing actually worked so I had gotten pretty good at reading the shoreline and marking an area. This was all well and good but I still wanted a new flasher and eventually ended up with an “Eagle Silent 30,” which I had grown to really like. I could tell the difference between a hard bottom and a soft one and tell fish from weeds. I can’t remember how many times while trolling that I passed over what I recognized as a fish and someone had gotten a strike. Eventually I graduated to a Hummingbird depth finder that could show the fish and water temp, etc.

I still liked that flasher and it worked great up until a year ago. Oh, the flasher still runs but the local squirrels chewed the end off the part of the transducer wire that plugs into the flasher when it was on the boat in my backyard. I know I can’t fix the wire and I don’t think I’ll be able to find another one. I guess this is one of the reasons that I could never quite figure out why people would feed squirrels. They are cute, entertaining little bushy-tailed rodents that are fun to watch until they decide to invade your attic, shed or garage. Then, as if that’s not bad enough, they decide to take over your fishing boat like a bunch of landlocked pirates.

Getting back to fishing — I can tell you that there is nothing better than fishing on a quiet lake early in the morning. This is indeed the time when I really feel like one with nature and as the fresh morning air fills my lungs it makes me feel alive and ready for a new day. Catching fish is always a bonus but there’s no better feeling than fishing early in the morning and feeling that first “strike” or a “tap-tap” on your line. This gets the adrenaline flowing and in your mind you just know it’s going to be a good day.

This is something that anyone can experience and you don’t need a boat to do it. Find a place along the shore and rig up a hook and bobber and just plop it out there or if you feel a little more ambitious try casting a jig and soft-bodied twister. Bobber fishing is probably the best way to relax and just enjoy being in the outdoors.

Until next time “play safe, enjoy the outdoors and Let‘s go fishin’”.

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