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Go Fishing! NOW!

By this time I imagine most of you probably have seen our new “Go Fishing” commercial.  Just in case you have not . . . .


This is a promotion we are doing this “spring” in order to try to recruit more folks, especially families, to go fishing.  To go along with the commercial and other media promotions that we are doing, we have created a web page specifically with information that beginning anglers should find useful, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/gofishing/ .

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, let me offer a few more comments about taking the family, getting the kids and other beginners, and getting them out fishing.


Although you would never know it by looking at my tackle box and rod tube, I am a big fan of the K.I.S.S. principle–“Keep It Simple, Stupid” (before I offend anyone who thinks I am calling them “stupid”, the K.I.S.S. principle is a reminder to myself).  There are some tips on basic fishing gear on our Go Fishing webpage.  Yes, if you get “hooked” on fishing you might someday have multiple rods and reels, huge tackle boxes and a garage full of fishing equipment.  But, to begin, a good ole fashioned “push button” spincast rod & reel works just fine and can be used to catch a variety of fish in a variety of situations.  If you need more specifics on the gear, this old blog post is found on the Go Fishing webpage and provides a few more details, http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2012/05/kids-system/ .  I will tell you that if all you ever use is the rod & reel and tackle suggested in that blog post you will catch a lot of fish, a lot of different species of fish, and they will not all be small fish either!  Please do not think you have to invest a lot of money into gear to get started–K.I.S.S.!

I do not care how old you are, or how "advanced" you are as an angler, watching a bobber go under never gets old!

Now if you want to step it up a notch, if you want to apply the K.I.S.S. principle while expanding your fishing horizons, let me suggest another great resource.  Here is some basic, simple, information on fishing for a variety of species, http://www.nefga.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?95-The-Roger-Flanders-Beginners-Corner .  Thank you Nebraska Fish and Game Association, http://www.nefga.org/forum/forum.php !

If you want to expand your tackle selection just a little bit while still following the K.I.S.S. principle, one of my co-workers and fishing buddies reminded me that tube jigs are another simple bait/presentation that can be fished in a variety of situations to catch a variety of fish.

Thanks for the reminder, and photo, Steve!

Tube jigs come in an infinite variety of colors.  Pick up a selection of your favorites and some 1/16 oz. and lighter jig-heads to go with them and you will be all set.  If I may suggest another tip, especially when the weather changes and the fish get a little harder to catch, you might try fishing those tube jigs underneath a float or “bobber”, http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2013/02/bobbers-kids/ .


Fishing is supposed to be fun!  If you have young kids, do not force them to sit on the bank and fish.  If they want to play in the water, catch frogs, explore, let ’em, in fact, join ’em!  They may not want to fish for more than a few minutes, even if they are catching fish.  That is fine.  The most important thing is to get them outside, spend time with them, expose them to fishing and have a good time.  Be flexible.  Take along lots of snacks.  Oh, one other thing, when taking the youngsters, do not plan to fish yourself, plan just to help them fish.  Devote your entire attention to helping them cast, watch the bobber, hook fish and then reel them in.  Trust me, you all will enjoy it a lot more if you do not fish yourself, just plan on helping the kids.  As they grow they will become more independent and you can do some fishing yourself.  Of course by that time they will be out-fishing you!

That reminds me of another good point–the first fishing trips with young, beginning anglers do NOT necessarily have to be very long.  If you only have a half-hour or two to slip out and do some fishing, that is fine.  You do not necessarily have to plan a day-long fishing trip and in fact with young kids you may not want to force them to fish all day.  I will always tell you the best time to go fishing is whenever you have time, and sometimes you just have to steal a half hour or so here and there, whenever you can.

Beginning anglers and especially the kids usually do not care that they are catching big fish.  They just want to catch some fish, have some action, and I believe catching at least some fish will go a long way to getting them “hooked”.  Nebraska has a lot of waters that contain panfish like bluegills, and there will be one of those waters close to almost every one.  It does not matter if it is the biggest or best fishing spot in the state, all you need is someplace close and someplace that has some panfish to catch.  If the local pond is full of small bluegills, that will do.  I have another little “tip” for you, if you look in the back of the 2013-2014 Fishing Guide, http://www.outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/fishguide/pdf/FishGuide.pdf you will see a listing of all the public waters in the state.  Look close at that list and you will see “FFL” printed just ahead of the names of some of those water bodies.  That “FFL” means “Family Friendly Lake”, places that have easy and readily accessible bank-fishing, and will be safe and comfortable places to take the kids fishing.  All of those “FFL” lakes will have plenty of “kid-friendly”, “beginner-friendly” fish to catch too!

See, I told you it was fun!


I will always tell you that the months of May and into June are two of the best months to fish in Nebraska.  In spite of our relatively cold spring and schizophrenic weather, it is time–NOW!  Clear your schedule, make time, pick a body of water, pick a fish, “Do not pass “Go”, Do not collect $200″, get a hook in the water!  In the past few days I have heard reports of good fishing for a variety of species from a variety of waters all across the state.  I will never guarantee that the fish will bite, but I will tell you that your chances of catching something right now are excellent; this is one of the best times of the year.  I know this much, you cannot catch anything sitting at home on the couch!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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