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Fishing not Catching

In the past few weeks I have been so bold as to proclaim the fish are biting, everywhere.  I have heard tons of good reports and seen so many photos from so many waters, so many species.  Do not ask if the fish are biting just GO FISH!  Have also said that May and June are consistently the best months for open-water fishing every year.  We are right in the middle of that now.

However, one of the things I have done in my career as a pointy-headed fisheries biologist is conduct on-the-water angler interviews.  “Creel surveys” we often call them.  In my opinion, every fisheries professional should spend at least one season doing a creel survey.  You have to learn to interact with anglers and there is no better way to do that than by doing a creel survey.  Man, what you will learn!

One of the things I learned doing creel surveys is there are all types of anglers.  They come in an infinite variety of shapes, sizes, desires and motivations.

They also come in a variety of skill levels. . . .

You will learn that there literally are anglers who could not catch fish in a five gallon bucket.

At the same time, on the same body of water, you will learn that there are anglers who could catch fish out of a pot hole in the middle of the highway.

And there are a whole spectrum of anglers in between.


Just this morning I talked to an angler who had been fishing a waterbody where I have had several reports of great fishing recently.  Of course he was calling me because he could not catch a fish and he was not happy about it.  What in the world he was doing wrong?  I have no idea?  No bait?  No hooks?

He wanted me to tell him some water to go to where I could GUARANTEE that he would catch fish!  I stopped him right there.  Learned a long time ago that you cannot guarantee anyone will catch fish.  The only thing I will guarantee is that you cannot catch anything sitting at home on the couch.

I can also guarantee that guys will come up with a lot of excuses!


Could not be the angler!  Don’t look in the mirror!

I am afraid that some will never realize that no one always catches fish.  No one knows it all.  Every day on the water is a learning experience.

And yes, it is humbling.


It does pay to have a positive attitude, and to never quit!


Have a great weekend!  Hope you get to spend some time on the water. . . and that you kill the skunk!

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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