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Talkin' Fishin' - Go fishing more this year

DETROIT LAKES - Talk in the news lately suggests that gas prices might be higher this summer, and that has some anglers concerned about their time on the water in upcoming months. I have two suggestions. First, don't let speculation about things that we can't control affect your lifestyle.

Secondly, even if gas prices do go up, you don't need to cut back on your fishing. Here are some ideas for more fishing this year.

I know that there are predictions of higher gas prices this year, and I know that might curb those longer trips, but no matter where you live in the Midwest, there is a lake, river, or pond within a short drive of where you live. Most of us live within just a few minutes of a potential fishing hole. Maybe you'll only catch a few fish, maybe three or four smallmouth bass from that small river near your house or a couple of largemouth from the pond a couple of miles out of town, but that's two or three or four fish that you wouldn't have caught if you had stayed home. If you like to go fishing, staying home is not an option. Find a fishing place close to home and spend time there.

In your search for close to home fishing opportunities, you'll probably find some ponds or streams that are full of bluegills or bullheads(ponds) or chubs, suckers, and smallmouth bass(streams). Or maybe you'll discover a lake that has carp. If you have a youngster in the family, these sorts of places are wonderful for a couple hour trip. Adults might not get too excited about a trip such as this, but to a kid who hasn't done much fishing, this sort of adventure whets their appetite to go fishing again, and it's important that those of us who enjoy fishing expose others to the sport. And, I guarantee, if you're with a kid who is getting excited about this fishing, you're going to be excited also.

It's important that these fishing trips with novice anglers are kept fairly short. It's also important that they're fun: In fact, fun is the most important part. Make them learning experiences also. Point out that bluegills have a small mouth, so small baits are better. Make sure the youngster sees that bullheads have small eyes but large whiskers so they can feed better in stained water than fish that rely on sight to find their food.

Some backyard casting practice is good for the youngster and the pro alike. The youngster needs to learn casting basics so they don't get discouraged when they're actually fishing, and the more experienced angler needs to keep in practice so he can put his lure where he wants it most of the time.

Some anglers have told me they're thinking about cutting back on their fishing this year due to the possibility of higher gas prices. Even if those higher prices become reality, fishing is still the best value out there. If we give up or cut back on the sport that has become a lifestyle for many of us, the folks who want to change our lifestyles win, and we can't let that happen. Fishing is too important to too many of us. Find some places close to home to go fishing, and go more often this year. That way, we win, and that's a good thing.

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