Anglers are naturally inquisitive; especially fly anglers. So it is important ask yourself several questions before going fishing. The more we learn, the more we grow in the fishing world, and the more complex our questions become. For any age or experience level, there are a basic set of questions that anglers should ask themselves before going fishing.
And the more you ask them, the more confidence you’ll have to explore your water.
From onWater’s Cole Pancake, here are Five questions to ask yourself before hitting the water.
Where can I fish?
Sometimes getting on the water quickly and legally is one of the biggest challenges anglers face. For years I spent a lot of my free time staring at maps and wondering where the hell I could get on the water to wet a line. Finding access is easy in big tracks of public land, but for the vast majority of us, the waters we fish cross in and out of private properties.
And while we try our best to fish where we’re supposed to, mistakes can happen. So being able to see the surrounding property data on one map simplifies the process greatly, and it assures me that I’m fishing where I’m supposed to.
How do I get there?
There have been more than a handful of times in my life where I’ve gotten “turned-around” on the way to a new piece of water. It’s practically a right of passage for the traveling angler. But as a very impatient man, I prefer to spend more time fishing than getting there. So having maps that smart, fishy people have made is a lifesaver.
Not having to find your own access points will save you a lot of time, and better yet, one tap instantly gets you directions to the point you’re headed to. These points are also great for float trips. All public boat ramps are on the map, and you can even measure distances between them to find the exact length of your floats.
There’s already enough guessing in the world of fishing, so why do it on your way to the water?
What are the local shops saying?
Whether you’re a traveling angler, or you’ve simply got some time to kill over the weekend, getting valuable information from local experts can turn good days into great ones with the simplest of tips. Getting fishing reports is easier now than ever, and your local shops are always ready to help. Maybe you’re brand new to the area and need a few confidence flies to throw.
Or, maybe you want to know why you’re catching fish on one river, but not another. Regardless, getting local fishing reports can really help take your fishing to the next level. Sometimes the smallest advice can give you that extra advantage over the fish, and other anglers.
How has the water been flowing recently?
When it comes to deciding where and how I’m going to fish, nothing is more important than stream flows. Not only do I need to know how the water is currently running, but past data is vital to understanding how fish are behaving now. Rising and falling water, and the rate at which it changes, all factor into feeding behavior.
By using the graph feature in onWater, I’m able to see what the flows have been for the past week, as well as how they compare to yearly average. After checking this data, I’m in a much better position to not only decide where to fish, but how to approach the water when I get there.
What is the weather like?
It’s no secret that weather changes the way fish behave. However, many anglers don’t change their approach to match the situation. Fish generally don’t act the same on sunny and cloudy days, and the flies they’re willing to eat usually differ. We all love catching fish on warm days, but sometimes throwing streamers in the rain can be the better move.
When checking the weather the main things I pay attention to are cloud cover and temperature. Both of these dictate how I begin my approach to the day. As an angler who fishes stillwaters a lot, I also love being able to see wind direction by using onWater. Wind will help push baitfish to shore, so if there’s a strong wind blowing northeast, there will more than likely be baitfish, and their consumers, on that side of the lake. Love or hate it, weather is just another crucial variable to learn and respect in the game of fly fishing.
We all have boxes to check before we go fishing, but the key is to do it as quickly as possible. Whether we take time to memorize Latin names of aquatic invertebrates, or we just understand that the fish find that big green thing tasty, there is a natural curiosity in all of us.
The faster you can answer these questions, the faster you can start fishing. The only thing is, there’s more questions to answer when you get there.
Be sure to read the 5 Questions Every Angler Should Ask When on the Water.