Some of you hard-core anglers have probably already found it, but in case you have not, here is the 2014 Fishing Forecast!
If you want to see it in a .pdf version, here that is, 2014 Fishing Forecast .pdf, 2014 Fishing Forecast.
You may be familiar with the annual fishing forecast that we produce, but in case you are not, let me explain it a little bit, let me go behind the cover. Every year we have fisheries biologists sample fish populations in waterbodies across the state. Some of the largest waters are sampled every year, while other fisheries may be sampled once every few years. If you want to know some of the details about how that sampling is done, be sure to check out “Survey Says”. That sampling gives us the information we need to manage fish populations and while we are at it, the data is a very good predictor of the fishing that can be expected in the coming year.
Each year our fisheries biologists around the state do the hard work, the field work, and then send me summaries of the data they collected. I take that data and produce the spreadsheets and ultimately graphs you see in the annual fishing forecast. Then I take a little crystal ball and look inside those numbers to highlight where some of the best fishing should be for a variety of species in Nebraska in the coming year. I look inside the numbers because waters where we sample the most bluegills for example, may not be the waters that produce the most good-sized bluegills that anglers want to catch. Or another thing I look for inside the fish population data would be waters where anglers can expect to catch big fish versus waters where they can expect to catch lots of fish. It all depends on what you want to catch, what angling experience you are seeking. But, if you have an idea of what you are after and spend some time studying the annual fishing forecast, you will see there will be some great opportunities.
If you do not see your favorite fishing spot listed in the annual fishing forecast, it does NOT mean the fishing will be no good there in the coming year. Our biologists cannot sample every body of water every year and the waters included in the forecast are only the waters that were sampled last year, most of them last fall. There will be lots of good fishing on waters that are not listed in the annual fishing forecast, some of those are not included in any of the sampling graphs but are mentioned in the text.
Fish populations are dynamic, always changing. We have waters in the state that are consistently great fisheries year after year, but even on those waters the fishing forecast will reflect some “ups and downs” from year to year. I believe that information is very useful because it helps anglers plan their fishing strategies from year to year and it also gives them a realistic idea of what to expect. The annual fishing forecast will also highlight waters that should be HOT in the coming year. However, I have to mention that I cannot make the fish bite. The annual fishing forecast very much will show you what you can expect from which waters, but you will still have to figure out how to catch them. Yes, there have been times when population sampling indicated an excellent population of fish, but anglers struggled trying to figure out how to catch them. That is very humbling, but it does happen.
You better believe I study the data closely! Not only is it my job, but I am looking close planning where I will be fishing in the coming year! Besides what you can see and read in the 2014 Fishing Forecast, let me tell you that reservoirs beginning with the letter “M” are going to be really good places to fish for walleyes this year (in fact I have already been fishing some of them, wink).
Study the charts, feel free to ask any questions you might have, GO FISH, and look around–you might see me out there too!