Opening day of fishing season is to the angler what the first game is to the hitter. A fresh start, a familiar feeling of anxious anticipation, and a chance to swing for the fences. But opening days are rarely easy, and if you head in unprepared, you’ll likely strike out. Start planning for opening day now, and begin this season on a hot-streak. 

Get Away From The Crowds

Nothing is more disheartening than seeing an access point without a single parking spot left open. We’ve all been there, and that frustration usually leads to a drop in confidence; which in turn makes for a poor day of fishing. However, it’s not impossible to find empty water on opening day, you just have to know where to look. 

onWater Team Member Lesley Agostinelli has fished many an opening day in her home state of Pennsylvania, and when her favorite waters get crowded, she seeks solitude. 

“It’s a tough thing. On one hand I advocate fishing for all people because I know being on the water makes me a happier person. But on the other hand, I almost feel offended when I arrive at my favorite spot only to find other anglers fishing it up.”

“With the popular streams being hit hard on opening day, I search for water bodies that are off the beaten path. By using onWater I have found several new areas within an hour of me with public access that hold wild fish. I may have to hike in a bit, and be prepared to encounter brush and wildlife, but it affords me the solitude I crave.” 

 Start hiking before you make your first cast to find less pressured water.

Think Like a Fish

If every battle is won before it is fought, then you can bet a fishing trip will be more successful with a little preparation. Few anglers show up to a new water uninformed and strike gold. Planning and scouting are critical for fishing everywhere, but even more so on crowded openers. 

onWater’s Curation Team Manager, Toren Shirk, scouts relentlessly before any trip, but the first thing he always checks is the weather. 

“The first thing I’m looking at before I even look at the map are the weather conditions for the time before, during and after I’ll be fishing. Let’s say there’s a cold front coming; I’m going to look for locations that offer ample opportunity for fish to feed. Those could be ambush points where multiple streams merge, riffles and runs, it will vary from species to species.”

“Once I find the prime areas I’m looking for, I’ll pin those locations based off of the topo map or orthoimagery with My Places. Typically all my pins are roughly a 1/4 mile from parking locations.”

Get off the Grid

It’s no secret that many of our favorite fishing spots are devoid of cell service. And while that was an issue in the past, the days of heading out with fragile paper maps are over. onWater’s Offline Maps allow you to view Points of Interest, Parcel Data, My Places, and more regardless of cell reception, letting you fish those secluded waters with ease of mind.  

Offline maps are priceless to me when I’m out fishing by myself and have spotty cell service, especially if I’m new to the area I’m fishing,” said Lesley. 

Toren also spoke to the importance of offline maps:

“Offline maps are super important for being able to navigate the places you researched, and make your fishing for the day logistically run smoother and more efficiently. In fishing, efficiency is the name of the game.” 

onWater team members Toren Shirk and Lesley Agostinelli have fished more than their fair share of opening days.

Opening day marks the beginning of yet another season, one in which anything can happen. Whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, there are a number of ways to increase your chances of success. You just have to know where to begin.