Fishing during a hiking trip provides a unique and amazing opportunity to see some of the wildest places in the country. It also provides a fun way to relax and exercise while enhancing your fishing skills. Also, it’s an affordable way of executing a fishing trip. And if you manage to catch some large fish, they can supplement your backpacking meals. Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy more fishing success during your hike.
Research the Spots
Before you embark on your fishing trip, you first need to conduct thorough research and familiarize yourself with the conditions you are likely to encounter. You need to determine the size and species of fish that you are likely to encounter during the trip as well as the mode of transport that you will use. Also, it’s important to determine in advance whether you will be fishing on rivers, big lakes or small lakes. There are differences in the approach.
It’s also helpful to know whether you will be fishing from a kayak, wading, fishing from the shore and the size of the fishing kayak that you will be using. Make sure you also take note of some important landmarks in the area before you head into the woods. This information will come in handy when it’s time to choose your fishing rods, lines, reels, flies and other accessories. It will also help you to find your way home, even when it’s dark.
As much as this might appear like basic stuff, failing to gather this information beforehand, combined with sloppy preparation can make your expedition to be frustrating and disappointing. Furthermore, this information is readily available on different platforms such as fishing forums. Google Earth and topographical maps are also a great source of information when you are conducting background research.
Carry the Right Equipment
If you are planning to fish during your hike, then it’s important to carry the right gear. For fishing, you should bring a fishing rod, wading boots, waders or neoprene socks, indicators, flies, tippet, and leaders. You also need to bring snacks, food, and refreshments. Proper nutrition is key when it comes to hiking and backpacking. Also, you should secure a fishing license where applicable. For clothing, you should carry a fully waterproof rain jacket, fleece jacket or wind-blocking attire, quick-drying, long-sleeved fishing t-shirts, as well as pants and shorts. For footwear, it will depend on the hiking and fishing conditions that you expect. You can either carry waterproof boots, water shoes, boat shoes or sandals.
Other accessories that you should carry include insect repellent, sunscreen lotion, and personal medical supplies. You might also want to carry a camera, flashlight, and compact binoculars. If you will be going for your expedition during the cold weather, then you should also bring extra layers of clothes. Even if you don’t have plans of spending the night there, it’s always wise to carry some additional equipment such as a stove, sleeping bag, food, knife, and water. This additional gear will come in handy during a storm or any other emergency. Even better, you might identify some great fishing spots and decide to spend more days than you had planned.
One of the biggest advantages of backcountry fishing is that you can fish on almost any lake, without worrying about trespassing on private property or competing with other angles for prime fishing spots. Therefore, it’s possible to cover expansive areas of a lake after an entire day of fishing. However, it’s easy to get sucked into one spot, even when you are not catching fish. If the water is clear, you will see fish moving or swimming around in the water. And you might be tempted to spend more time on one spot, hoping to catch the fish that are jumping around. As much as this is a fishing trip, you also want to enjoy the great outdoors. If things have slowed down in one spot, then it’s advisable to move to another location. Your luck is probably waiting for on the other side of the lake.
If you are still finding it hard to land any sizeable catch, then you should check out the lake’s inlets and outlets. Fish tend to concentrate in these areas, and then feed on insects as they flow by with the water. When you drift a fly down the channel, the fish in that area might mistake it for an insect, leading to a catch. Streams near the lake also present great opportunities. Since they are narrow, they will squeeze plenty of fish into a narrow space. When you drift a fly into such spots, the fish will compete for the food and thus increasing chances of hooking several of them. Inlets and outlets are also great fishing spots especially after winter when the ice in the rest of the lake is yet to come off completely.
Bring a Kayak
When it comes to backcountry fishing, you can go further into the lake as much as you want, as long as the weather allows it. If you are only fishing at the edge of the lake, then you are restricting yourself to a small percentage of the fish. Furthermore, you might only end up catching the small, tiny fish. However, hauling an ordinary kayak over long distances might prove to be a challenge. Furthermore, purchasing a conventional fishing kayak can be expensive, especially if you are on a tight budget. And this is where an inflatable fishing kayak comes in. Inflatable fishing kayaks are an affordable and convenient alternative to traditional kayaks. Filling it with air will only take less than 5 minutes. They make it easy to venture further into the water and access some great fishing spots.
Fish that are hiding under fallen logs, thick brush, low-hanging twigs, and other obstacles will no longer be a problem. Furthermore, they come equipped with fishing rod holders, mounts, padded seats, and other accessories, guaranteed to make your fishing trip enjoyable and successful. Apart from accessing more remote and deeper parts of the lake, a fishing kayak will also save you time and effort when it’s time to go back to the shore. Once you’ve finished using the kayak, you simply deflate it, fold it, toss it in your backpack and proceed with your hike.
Use a Fish Finder
For many years, anglers have had to rely on wit, observation, and experience to find fish. But thanks to fish finders, locating fish is now easier and faster. Whether you will be fishing on a canoe, kayak or a small boat, a fish finder is an important piece of equipment to have during your trip. If you are still unsure whether you need a fish finder or not, here are some key benefits of carrying a fish finder during your backcountry fishing expedition:
- Eliminates Guesswork: While some people prefer waiting patiently for the fish to swallow the bait, others want to make fast catches and move on to the next spot. If you belong to the latter group, then you need a fish finder if you don’t have one already. With a fish finder, it will be easy to see where the fish have converged in the water. And when you are fishing in an area where there is a large quantity of fish, there is a high chance of getting a bite. Fishfinders also provide additional information such as temperature of the water. And as you might probably know, different species of fish prefer different water temperatures. If you are always returning home empty-handed after a fishing trip, a fish finder can increase your success rate and ensure your efforts are rewarded accordingly.
- Collision Avoidance: Some modern fish finders are furnished with collision avoidance features, designed to detect obstacles in your kayak’s way and warn you in advance. Even devices that are not equipped with collision avoidance technology will still provide you with adequate information about your surroundings, helping you to make the right decisions. If you want to avoid underwater hazards such as rocks or logs, fish finders will help you navigate your fishing boat to safety.
- Course Charting: Most of the fish finders that you will find on the market today are equipped with course charting software. It’s more like a navigation aid that will help you to move your boat around the water with ease. Apart from navigation, fish finders also come with GPS, making it easy to capture and save great fishing spots. And when you come back in future, you can head directly to the spots you’ve saved, and start fishing right away.
- Great for Beginners: Fishing is a skill that takes time and plenty of practice to master. And if you are a beginner, you might find it quite hard to catch any fish, even the small ones. But with a fish finder, you will significantly increase the chances of catching one or two. While some people might argue that using a fish finder is like cheating, they will boost your angling confidence while helping you to master other skills such as landing a fish.
Without a doubt, a fish finder will help you to catch more fish while making your trip more enjoyable. When it’s time to purchase a fish finder, make sure you go for a device that aligns with your skills and experience.
Whether you are just hitting the trail for a single day or you are planning a weeklong trip, fishing will add more fun and adventure to your hike. And with proper preparation and planning, you have every reason to look forward to a memorable and thrilling backpacking trip.