New Year’s is upon us, which means “new” is all the rage. New habits. New gym memberships. New hairstyles. A whole new you!
I’m all for setting goals and trying new things — especially when it comes to fishing! With that in mind, here are some ideas for a fun year of fishing in 2018. I invite you to try these along with me.
Fish with new people
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you can never have too many fishing buddies. People live busy lives, so the more anglers you have on your invite list, the better. It’s fun to get to know new people out on the water, and each fishing partner brings a new set of experiences. Last year, my new fishing friends included Adam, a relative newcomer who I enjoyed showing the ropes; Bryce, a fellow diehard who makes me laugh until I fall over; and the wise and grizzled Brothers Schmidt, who taught me a few of their steelhead trade secrets on the Salmon River. See, it pays to make new friends!
Fish in new places
There’s something special about fishing new waters for the first time — the excitement is addicting! There are so many rivers, lakes, streams and ponds in Idaho, it shouldn’t be hard to find a new fishing hole. Close your eyes and point at a map if you need to. It’s also fun to test the waters outside the Gem State. In 2017, I caught some nice bass at California’s Lake New Hogan, a beautiful Chinook salmon on the Columbia River in Washington and a monster Mackinaw trout in Lake Michigan while vacationing in Chicago. If you’re planning on leaving town, remember to pack your gear!
Catch a new fish
Once again, Idaho anglers are blessed with a bounty of species to fish for. And while it’s always fun to catch your favorite species with tried-and-true methods, chasing a species you never tangled with brings a whole new level of adventure. I started and ended 2017 by catching two signature Idaho species for the first time — a mighty sturgeon just days into January, and a majestic ocean-run steelhead to close out the fall. I’ll be a repeat customer on both, and if you catch a new species in 2018, I suspect you’ll get hooked, too.
Step outside your comfort zone
This is the spirit of the entire column, right? Get out there and try something new this year! If you’re a fly-fishing fanatic, go sling some bait and catch a catfish. If you’re a diehard bass angler, try using a Tenkara fly rod in a tiny mountain stream. If you do most of your fishing in the summer, venture out and drill some holes in a frozen lake. Join a boat crew on a trolling trip. Try fishing from a float tube. Experiment with a fancy new lure. Book a deep-sea trip on your next vacation. Fishing is all about new experiences, so get out there and go for it!
Wherever your new adventures take you, I hope to see you on the water in 2018. Happy New Year, and tight lines!
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.