Now that many of our local waters are near flood stage, off color, or high from runoff, it may be time to look for new places to fish.
Maps, friends, mentors, and the FWP can offer help and suggestions. It is true that some fishermen would rather give away their kids than a secret fishing spot but with a little effort, you can discover newer and better places to fish.
Main waters are no secrets. The Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Bighorn, and so many other waters are getting pounded. Popular waters mean crowds and a less than perfect experience. Out of staters, guide trips, outfitters, and others can be found in great numbers. Other recreationists also flood these pristine waters. Rafters, swimmers, tubers, kayakers, and water borne sports are also crowded into these places.
If you are willing to explore, you can still find special waters that offer a wonderful fishing destination. You may need to knock on some doors, hike a few miles, or navigate deeper into the watersheds, but they exist. ￼
Even popular waters can be fun. Most rivers are fished by right-handed anglers. This means that the left, upstream bank is fished harder. Right handers prefer to fish with less snags when they cast. The further you travel from an access point, the better the fishing. The first couple hundred yards upstream and downstream from a boat launch are often productive. Many boaters are done before they reach a takeout and unprepared to fish when they launch. ￼
Hiking, biking, horse riding, wheelers, off road rigs, and boats can take you to places less crowded and fished.
Plan to fish during the week. Weekends mean more crowds. Use some of those comp days to fish. Fishing at night, where legal, is never crowded. When the moon is out, you can also see well. BIG fish are more abundant and hungrier at night.
Just pretend that other fishermen are snags, rocks, stumps, and non-threats. Most fishermen spend much of their time getting snagged, tying knots, or getting frustrated. Putting on a clinic in a crowd can be fun. Focus on the small water within your casting area. You will be amazed at what you may see, learn, or catch. Fish usually settle down in 15 minutes or so. Be patient and it will often pay off.
The fish are just the excuse for why many of us fish. The outdoors is a wonderful place to relax and unwind from a hard day. Catching a few fish is icing on the cake.
One more cast!