Taking the dangers of COVID-19 seriously and going fishing are not mutually exclusive, and in Idaho, most people can fish close to home. COVID-19 has created many challenges for Idahoans, but fortunately, we don’t have to stop fishing during beautiful spring weather.
Here are some tips to keep your fishing fun and interesting while minimizing risk to yourself and others.
Fish close to home: This is one of the easiest things to do, and no matter where you are in Idaho, you probably have lots of places to choose from. Check out Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner to find locations near you.
Find bait without going to a store: You might be surprised how much effective fish bait you can find in, or around, your house. Your yard has worms, and your pantry likely has other baits, such as canned corn, marshmallows, canned tuna, and there’s likely cheese in your refrigerator. All of those will work for a variety of fish species.
Try new waters: You may be surprised how much fishing opportunity and diversity you have close to home. Seek out those places you’ve overlooked and give them a try, and they may become your new favorite fishing spots.
Try new types of fishing: Are you a spin angler? Try a fly rod, or vice versa. Dig through your tackle box and find some under-used tackle and try to master new techniques. There are so many options with fishing that it’s rare anyone has mastered them all.
Fish for different species: Along similar lines, if you’re a trout angler, try fishing for warmwater fish or panfish, or heck, if you live near the Snake River, go for something big, like sturgeon, catfish or carp. Speaking of carp, they’re an over-looked angling challenge and widely available in everything from ponds, rivers and large lakes and reservoirs. It can be tricky to hook one, but they pull like an empty truck when you do.
Go with light tackle: Fishing a neighborhood pond, nearby reservoir or river might mean less chances to catch big fish. But you can still make smaller fish exciting by using an ultralight fishing rod, which can make a 10-inch trout feel like a tuna. Ever hear of micro fishing? It’s going after the smallest fish you can find, even down to minnows and smaller fish. It can be especially fun if you spot them and watch their reaction to your bait.
Use personal fishing craft: There’s really never been a better time for anglers when it comes to personal fishing craft. They range from inexpensive float tubes up to expensive pedal kayaks suitable for ocean fishing. Dig yours out of the garage or buy a kayak or similar fishing boat and get out on the water so you can access areas that are less accessible from shore and difficult to reach with a larger boat.
Play it safe: Remember the point of COVID-19 restrictions and Governor Brad Little's recreate responsibly guidelines are to prevent the spread of the virus. Just like trying to catch a big fish, you have to be a little patient and creative. The COVID-19 situation is temporary, so eventually we will return to our favorite fishing spots, where ever they may be.