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Planning your fishing vacation

It's the time of year when many anglers are trying to decide where they'd like to spend a few days fishing later in the year. Some people like to return to the same location year after year, others prefer to explore new areas. If you're one of the adventurous folks that wants to check out a new area, the following might be of help.

Before you begin your search, decide what's most important to you. Are you looking for a lake where you can catch numbers of fish with a good chance for a trophy? If so, you should consider a body of water that has a protected slot limit. Chances are you'll catch more and bigger fish in such a lake.

Is this a trip for hardcore anglers, or will there need to be some diversions from the fishing? Some areas are pretty much strictly fishing, others have attractions that appeal to folks that might not want to fish from sun-up to sundown.

Are you taking a boat? If so, will your boat be appropriate for the lake you'll be fishing. If you've got a smaller boat, you should probably consider a smaller lake or a body of water that has lots of islands. Lakes that aren't protected from the wind can get rough, and small boats and rough seas are a bad combination.

Will you do your own cooking, or do you want to eat out mostly? If you want to eat out, you'll need to find a lodge that prepares food, or you'll need to stay closer to a town and it's restaurants.

Now that you've thought about it a little bit, you should have a list of "wants" for your fishing trip location. Now it's time to start checking out locations.

Word-of-mouth can be good, but make sure the person you're speaking with is reliable and can be trusted.

The Internet can provide lots of information at the touch of a few keystrokes.

My favorite way to find a new location though, is at a sports show where you can talk to the people you'll be staying with. In a brief conversation you can usually determine if the folks who own the facility are sincerely interested in your desires. Inquire about the lodging, boat ramp location, can you leave your boat at the dock overnight, is bait available, etc. Ask for references, then check those references.

When you find a resort that fits your needs, make sure they have room for you at the time when you want to be there. If they do, put a deposit down. Then start researching how the fish are caught in that lake at the time when you'll be there. Do all these things and you're really increasing the odds of this being a fishing vacation full of good memories.

(For more fish-catching information, visit