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Talkin' Fishin' column: Be sure to try these tricks during the season

The arrival of another fishing season brings optimism and excitement. Lots of anglers spend the winter months reading fishing articles, watching fishing shows on television, and attending fishing seminars. At the beginning of the fishing season they have all sorts of new ideas and pieces of fishing equipment that they want to try out. Here are some ideas for new things you might want to try this year.

Suggestion #1 is to go fishing more this year. When you go fishing, you often learn something new without even trying. You don't need to travel long distances to go fishing. Wherever you live in the Midwest, there is probably a lake, pond, or river close to where you live. Some folks might have to travel half an hour, others might only have to drive five minutes to get to a fishing spot. Regardless, when you get a couple of hours, go fishing. The more you go, the more you learn.

Learn to catch different species of fish this year. Some folks decide that they're a "walleye fisherman", or, in some areas of the world, they're a "trout angler". While it's true that when you go fishing it works best to target a particular specie of fish on that particular trip, it's also true that the anglers who chase only one specie of fish miss out on a lot of great fishing action. When the walleyes are in the recovery mode after the spawn, they can be tough to catch. However, the panfish might be on a big-time bite. Why not give them a try? Catching fish is a fun deal. Go after what's biting and you'll enjoy your fishing even more.

This year, give soft baits a chance to show you what they can do. Soft baits like Gulp! and Power Bait have long been recognized as effective bass-catchers, and in the past couple of years these soft baits have become more and more recognized as walleye-catchers. When the walleyes are in vegetation or timber, soft bait stays on the hook better than live bait, and when the walleyes are on a good bite, soft bait will enable you to catch more fish per bait.

There aren't a lot of color options when you're using live bait: Soft bait comes in a variety of colors, actions, and sizes. Soft bait enables an angler to show the fish more options, which increases that angler's odds for getting bit, and that's a good thing.

If you're one of those anglers that likes to move fast in search of biting fish, try anchoring on a spot this year and really working it over.

If you're one of those anglers that likes to drop anchor and sit on a spot, try putting the trolling motor down and covering water.

Do some different things in your fishing this year. If you do that, you're going to learn more ways to catch fish, and that will enable you to catch more fish more often.

(For more fish-catching information, visit