NMDG&F: Getting Into Angling, Exploring And Being A Part Of The Great Outdoors

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In this time of change, the Department would like to encourage anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the upcoming fishing season. In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures. Each week we will feature some different flies, lures, activities or cooking recipes that can be done at home. 

In this week’s report, we will discuss how easy it is to become an angler, and the joy, and responsibility, that comes with it.

For the past 15 years or so, introducing new anglers to the art and sport of angling has been a major part of my life. There is something magical about the moment someone is filled with joy while experiencing excitement of, and appreciation for, the great outdoors. A kid catching their first fish captures the quintessential embodiment of that feeling. And, it happens to adults, too. If you have seen it, you know what I mean. If you have not, it is such a neat experience.


Since taking on the author responsibilities for the Department’s weekly fishing report, I have been fortunate to meet so many different people from all walks of life. Naturally, our crossing paths derive from our shared interest in fishing. It has been fun to share tactics, strategies and techniques with many skilled anglers. It has been equally fun to meet people who are just entering angling endeavors and who want to prepare themselves for the journey into uncharted territory. It is new to them and just like any new hobby or sport, it can be sort of overwhelming.

Today, we lay out a plan for new anglers to keep it simple, have fun, catch fish and enjoy nature. Well, hopefully catch fish. As John Buchan said, “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

We hope we catch fish, but we always have fun. That’s how I see it.


Now, let’s discuss how to setup any beginner to have fun and have a high probability of catching fish. Do not over think it.

1. Buy a rod with a fishing reel you can operate. A push button cast reel can be underrated. It’s the easiest reel to use and is especially great for kids. A spin cast reel is good for pretty much any angler, and although the reel is slightly harder to learn to use compared to the push cast reel, it is much more capable.

Click here for a casting video for push button casting reel.

Click here for a casting video for spin cast reel.

2.Use worms if you are a beginner. Pretty much any fish eats worms. Maybe try different sized worms— ½ worm, ¼ worm, full worm etc., but almost every fish will eat worms.

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3. If you are going for big-mouthed fish such as bass, use a one-inch long hook. If you are going for smaller fish or fish with smaller/softer mouths such as trout/bluegill use smaller hooks, maybe use a ¼ to ½ inch long worm.

4. Bring bobbers and weights. If one does not work, try the other. If you are fishing a stream or river, you will often need neither a bobber nor weight; the weight of the baited hook with worm is enough.

Remember that fish live off what their environment provides. Sometimes the best bait is the bait you can catch near where you are fishing. You can have a whole separate adventure searching for bait. Look under rocks and logs for worms and crickets. Look in grassy areas for grasshoppers. Catching natural bait is often the best bait for catching fish because that is what the fish are used to. And the bait is fun to catch, especially for kids.

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