Category Archives: fishing basics



Three Ways to Catch the Neglected Rock Bass

from The Fishing Wire

The tiny spinnerbait hit the water with a delicate “plop” a scant foot from the shoreline as we floated silently down the Shenandoah River. The current swirled backwards in an eddy there, making it a prime hangout for the fish this river is famous for—the smallmouth bass. The instant I engaged the spinning reel handle, a sharp strike telegraphed up the thin graphite rod. Setting the hook with a solid sweeping motion, I felt steady resistance from a stubborn quarry on the end of the line… surely a tail-walking smallmouth.

But something was different. This fish felt strong, but somehow not as powerful and full of the leaps and runs I had come to expect from a pugnacious smallmouth bass. Welcome for sure, as any gamefish would be on a hot sunny day on a river. Just not what I was expecting.

As I worked the fish in, I realized why the fish felt different. A plump rock bass had nabbed the small spinnerbait I was using. Reaching down, I twisted the hook free and released the plump, brass-colored panfish back into the glass-clear water, none the worse for wear.

No, the humble rock bass won’t win many popularity contests among anglers. These fish are not sleek and powerful like a landlocked striper. They don’t jump like a belligerent largemouth bass or streak wildly through the currents like a silver-sided rainbow trout. And their fight definitely won’t match the antics of a sassy smallmouth.

But despite their lack of spectacular credentials as a gamefish, these stocky little panfish are strangely appealing. Maybe their dependability is what makes them so attractive as a quarry. Rock bass can almost always be counted on as a fill-in for those days when other gamefish develop a case of lockjaw. They have saved the day on many a smallmouth outing for me on waters such as the James, Potomac, and Rappahannock, not to mention my home water—the Shenandoah River.

But rather than just relegating rock bass to the role of fill-in or “day-saver” when other species are not cooperating, consider this proposition. Try focusing occasionally on this quarry for its own legitimate value as a gamefish. After all, the rock bass is a stubborn, if not spectacular, fighter when an angler uses light tackle.

Often called “goggle eye” or “red eye,” the species is also a handsome fish. Well… in a rugged sort of way! The fish’s Latin name, Ambloplites rupestris, gives a clue to the habitat the rock bass prefers. Rupetris means “of the rocks.” Stone and rubble-covered rivers as well as some rocky lakes are prime rock bass fishing grounds.

Rock bass don’t grow large. A five- to seven-inch fish is typical. Studies have shown it takes six years for a rock bass to reach eight inches. As for weight, a 12-ounce fish is absolutely a trophy. The world record rock bass was a tie between one fish caught in the York River in Ontario, and one taken in Lake Erie, Pennsylvania. Those fish weighed just 3 pounds. The Virginia state record is a 2 lb. 2oz. fish caught in 1986 by Larry Ball in Laurel Bed Lake.

Rock bass can be caught with just about any angling method imaginable. I’ve even caught them when downrigging for stripers with large diving plugs that were almost as big as the rock bass were. That’s certainly not the ideal way to take this diminutive fish, though. Ultralight spin tackle with four- to six-pound line and light fly rods in the four- to six-weight class are much better gear for this quarry.

In lakes, you can find rock bass in coves, around rubble and rock-strewn points, reefs, and any areas where hard bottom is found. In rivers, rock bass favor deep pools, eddies near shore, pockets behind boulders, ledges, and shaded shoreline spots where they often hover within inches of the bank. Besides stones, rock bass also hang around logs, deadfalls, and underwater stumps.


Top artificials for spin fishing include grubs with plastic twister tails, jigs, in-line spinners, soft-plastic jerkbaits, banana-shaped wobblers, thin-minnow plugs, and small spinnerbaits like the Beetlespin. Four-pound test line is perfect, but opt for six-pound if you might latch onto some black bass as well as the targeted quarry.
Three things are vital for success with rock bass. The first is that your lure falls close to the shoreline on days when fish are holding near the banks. The second important point is to retrieve slowly. Rock bass don’t like to chase down a fast-moving bait. The third rule for rock bass fishing is to keep the offering near the bottom when fish are holed up in deep water. Let your lure nick the lake or river floor occasionally for the most action.

Live Bait

Natural bait works extremely well on rock bass. Hellgrammites, earthworms, and two-inch long minnows are all excellent. Use them with a small bobber and split shot or two for weight. This is a great way to introduce a youngster to fishing. And chances are you’ll pick up some largemouths and smallmouths this way as well.

Fly Fishing

Using flies is another great way to catch rock bass. If fish are hovering near shore they’ll nab a small sponge rubber spider, deer hair bug, or cork popper cast close to the bank. Allow it to rest, then twitch the fly gently. Strikes will be soft and delicate, a lot like a bluegill nails a fly.

Use an eight- to nine-foot rod, four- to six-weight forward floating line and four-  to six-pound tippet. If fish aren’t cooperating on top, go with small sub-surface offerings such as the Hare’s Ear, Montana Stone, or Yuk Bug. Small streamers such as the Zonker, Matuka, Muddler, or Clouser Minnow in sizes 2-8 will also fool rock bass. Keep the rod tip low to the water and fish those minnow-imitating flies with short, sharp strips of line.

Don’t be surprised if a few smallmouths nab these offerings as well. Be ready, or they might just jerk the rod out of your hand!

It would be hard to think of a more fun-packed way to spend a warm, sunny afternoon than floating or wet-wading a shaded stream casting to willing rock bass mixed in with bonus smallmouths. And if your son or granddaughter are free or a neighborhood kid wants to come along, take them, too. This is a great fish to focus on when introducing youngsters to the sport of angling!

– By Gerald Almy


THEY CAN’T ALL BE BIG ONES so enjoy every one you catch, no matter how big

People go fishing for varied reasons. Some want to be outside; others want to spend time with family or friends. Anyone who goes fishing wants to catch a few, and some want to catch a really big fish. Some of those goals are easily accomplished, some are more difficult.

It’s easy to spend time outdoors when you’re fishing. Fishing is done outdoors. If your interest is spending time with family or friends, you just have to invite them to join you. Another easy task. If you’re not concerned about species or size, you can usually catch a few fish. But the big fish goal, that’s an entirely different deal. The reality is the chances of catching an enormously big fish of a certain species every time you go fishing are minimal. However, there are things that an angler can do to increase the odds of catching a gigantic fish of the targeted species more often.

First off, if your primary goal is to catch a lunker of a particular species, you need to go fishing where the lunkers live. Some bodies of water are home to lots of fish, others are known as big fish lakes. For instance, the biggest walleyes usually are found in lakes that have oily baitfish as a primary source of walleye food. Do some research to learn which bodies of water have a history of turning out big fish.

The next thing to do to catch a trophy is to use baits or techniques that will appeal to the larger fish. Much of the time, big baits catch big fish. A trophy can certainly be caught on a small bait, but for most of the open water fishing season, big fish want a big meal. If you want to catch a bunch of bass in the summer, find a deep weedline and tie on an eighth ounce jig head and thread on a four- or five-inch Ocho worm. You’re going to catch’em. Maybe not the biggest ones, but you’ll probably get bass-thumb, and every now and then, a lunker will eat your jig-worm. But if big ones are the goal, find the heaviest vegetation, tie on a Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig, attach a KVD Rodent plastic, and work it in and around that heavy cover. You won’t get as many bites as you would on the weedline with a jig-worm, but your big bass odds are going to go up.

Last thing: Remember that big is relative. A five-pound bass in some locales is a big one. In other places an eight pounder is needed to turn heads. And, in a few regions or bodies of water, it takes a ten pounder to get a bass-chaser’s attention.

Really the last thing: Fishing is supposed to be fun. If a lunker is your goal, go for it. But also remember that with some luck, that little fish that you just caught will one day be a big fish. Also remember that it’s just fun to catch fish. Many, many fishing guides and tournament anglers have had successful and profitable careers by catching lots of smallish to medium sized fish. If you are set on catching the biggest fish of a particular species, use big fish baits and techniques in big fish waters. But never forget, they can’t all be big ones. It’s fun to catch fish of any size any time, and fun is the best reason to go fishing.



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (May 30, 2023) – If offered a chance to go boating or fishing, most people will instantly say “yes!” Let the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 3-11, 2023), which includes two FREE Fishing Days, give you a reason to extend that invite, says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). 

“Boating and fishing are both great activities, and offer tremendous bonus benefits for everyone who participates,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of the WRD Fisheries Management Section. “When you are out on the water, boating and fishing helps you make stronger connections with family and friends; it provides an opportunity for stress relief; and it means you are actively supporting conservation efforts with the purchase of fishing equipment and boating fuel.”

National Fishing and Boating Week began in 1979 and was created to recognize the tradition of fishing, to broaden the spirit of togetherness and to share the values and knowledge of today’s anglers with tomorrow’s anglers. 

How to Celebrate: FREE FISHING DAYS: This is a GREAT time to introduce family members or friends to the sport of angling, Georgia offers two FREE fishing days – Sat., June 3 and Sat., June 10, 2023 – during this special week.  On these days, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass (WMAs/PFAs) to fish.

Where to Celebrate: There are so many great places to fish in Georgia, from trout streams in North Georgia, to large reservoirs, to lazy rivers in the south part of the state. You can always start at one of the 11 Public Fishing Areas ([] or at one of many Georgia State Parks ( that offer fishing opportunities for family and friends. There also will be multiple Kids Fishing Events during the week-long celebration (

Can’t Get Outdoors? You can still celebrate indoors. Let the kids go to the Angler Academy. At this website, developed by, you will find links to “fishy” crafts, games, informative videos and puzzles. Check it out at

“In the spirit of National Fishing and Boating Week, be sure to make it a mission to take someone new when you go, such as a child, a relative or a friend. You could be the person that inspires another person’s life-long love of the water,” says Robinson.  

For more information on National Fishing and Boating Week and all it has to offer, including free fishing days, nearest kids fishing event or places to fish, visit . 


Everybody should practice these tips on FISHING ETIQUETTE FOR EVERY TYPE OF ANGLER

Fishing Etiquette for Every Type of Angler

A great day fishing is as much about catching what you’re after as it is about the experience you had while away from home. But to keep your fishing trip memorable for only the best reasons, follow Nebraska Game and Parks’ rules of fishing etiquette.

Etiquette for every angler

Remember the Golden Rule

It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially in pursuit of a big catch, but always treat others how you’d wish to be treated. Staying considerate helps others stay considerate, too.


When in doubt, ask. Not sure whether someone is working a shoreline north to south? Or if he or she thinks you’re too close? A simple question — “Mind if we fish here?” — can help avoid conflict.

Share the water

Don’t hog one spot or stretch of water all day and don’t get too close to other anglers — either on shore or on the water. Public waters are meant for everyone to use, so be reasonable about sharing the space. At the same time, remember some people just want to swim, kayak, ski, or leisure boat, and have the same rights to the public waters as you.

Respect the fish

Not intending to eat the fish you catch? Work hard to ensure the fish stays alive by taking care of your catch. Limit time out of water, remove hooks quickly or while keeping it in water, and do your best to prevent damaging the fish’s protective slime coat.

Leave no trace

Did you pack it in? Then pack it out, too. Your spent line, broken lures, hooks, Styrofoam bait containers, snack wrappers and cans have no business being left on shore or in the water. It risks the lives of wildlife, is bad for the environment and ruins other’s experiences in nature. Instead, leave the place better than you found it.

Follow the law          

In addition to purchasing your fishing permit, know what type, how many and what size fish you can keep at water bodies across the state. Following the law helps sustain the state’s fisheries resources for the future. Find current rules in the 2023 Fishing Guide at

For the shore or pier angler

When fishing from shore or pier, it can get tight. Be aware of where you are, where your hook is and the direction of your cast. Never cast over or under someone else’s line. If you’re unsure of your skill, move away from the crowd so you can build your casting skills safely.

For the boat angler

While it can be tempting to troll where you see others having success, don’t. Give anglers ample room. Don’t cut them off or intersect their path when you see them working a shoreline or honey hole, either. Respect those who arrived before you to snag a productive spot.

For the bow fisher

When your adrenaline is coursing at spotting a big one, it can be easy to overshoot — and end up hitting a dock or a boat. Always look beyond what you’re aiming to hit. When in doubt, don’t shoot and wait for the next safe opportunity. Being aware of your surroundings and practicing caution is extremely important when archery fishing.

BROSDAHL ON SPRINGTIME PANFISH – Catch More Good Eating Panfish In the Springtime


Brosdahl on Springtime Panfish

Brian “Bro” Brosdahl shares strategies for hunting early-season open-water bluegills, crappies, and perch 

from St Croix Rods

Like big, saucer-shaped panfish? If so, you’re kith and kin to Max, Minnesota’s most-famous resident, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl. The prolific fishing guide with a penchant for all things panfish has been on the leading edge of bluegill, crappie, and perch-fishing techniques and innovations for well over two decades now. 

While Bro pursues panfish year-‘round, he gets particularly giddy come ice out. “Wintertime sticks around for a long time in Northern Minnesota,” the St. Croix pro says. “While you’ve always got something going on beneath the ice, most northern anglers I know are eager to make the switch to open-water fishing as soon as the ice goes out.” And for good reason. Bro says the months of April, May, and June bring some of the best panfishing conditions and opportunities of the entire year.

“Of course you’ve got the unique aspects of the spawn – perch and crappies first and then the ‘gills – but those details aside, the common denominator for springtime panfishing is shallow water,” Bro advises. “It’s the first water to warm, so it’s where the weeds get growing and where concentrations of bait begin to get active. As a result, it’s where the panfish want to be, too.” 

Bro says he spends ample time covering warming, shallow-water flats by casting micro jigs early in the season. “I’m looking for any weed growth,” he says. “The fish I’m hunting are often scattered in less than six feet of water. I’m usually searching with a Northland Thumper Jig or a Fire-Fly Jig tipped with a wax worm or a small crappie minnow.” Bro says he rigs with eight-pound Sunline green braid with a four-pound fluoro leader. His rod of choice is a 7’ light power, extra-fast action St. Croix spinning rod. 

“Anglers familiar with St. Croix’s Panfish Series and Legend Elite Panfish Series rods know how good the 70LXF models are at bombing light jigs on light line, but they may not yet be familiar with the 70LXF model in the new Avid Series Panfish lineup (ASPS70LXF),” Bro posits. “This take on the most-versatile length, power, and action panfish rod ever made features a lighter and stronger new SCIII+ carbon blank, plus an all-new Seaguide Delta TYG guide train… they’re slightly triangular in shape, which seems stranger than the Thursday-night karaoke crowd at the bar down the street from my house… until you cast them. I’m casting the light jigs I use 20% to 25% farther on these new TYG-equipped Avid Panfish rods, which is a huge benefit when you’re searching spooky fish in shallow, clear water that’s largely devoid of weeds.”

Bro says fish pushing shallow into warmer water are generally just following bottom contours wherever the conditions suit them. That’s why he uses the sonar tools at his disposal to find them. “You can pull up on a springtime panfish flat and easily spook fish if you don’t know where they’re at,” he says. I’ll use my Talon shallow-water anchor instead of my trolling motor to minimize the disruption.” 

To expedite the search, Bro employs a one-two punch of Humminbird 360 and Mega Live sonar. “I’ll scan with the 360 to locate the communities, then investigate each school more closely with Mega Live see if the fish have any size,” he says. “The Mega Live is attached to Ultrex trolling motor, so it’s a drop-it-and-go deal. It helps me to home in on the bigger individuals avoid the small ones.” Bro says 360 also greatly helps in understanding the shape of the weedlines, plus any cribs or brush piles he encounters. “I keep the grid visible on my screen so I know how far to cast, which is very important with any kind of  forward viewing,” he says.  “It’s fun to watch the fish react to the bait when the water warms. They get very aggressive and competitive which is great news for the angler. I’ve noticed the fish following the lure usually misses out and isn’t the one that ends up hitting the jig. It’s also a great tool for keeping your jig or hooked panfish away from pike.” 

Once Bro finds the size and concentrations of fish he’s after, he’ll go to a shorter 6’4” Avid Panfish rod (ASPS64LF) with a tiny jig presented beneath a slip bobber. “I’ll use six-pound mono with a four-pound fluoro leader and a Northland Lite Bite slip bobber,” Bro reports. “If you get hung up, you want your leader to break instead of your main line so you can get back in the game that much faster. I like the Lite Bite bobbers because they are slightly weighted with a brass grommet so you don’t need any other weight on your leader. That really reduces tangles and other frustrations when casting this rig,“ he says.

Before there’s any significant weed growth in the shallows, Bro often follows beaver activity to panfish nirvana. “I often do better on beaver chew – the loose branches floating around – than on the dams themselves,” he says. “I’m looking hard at anything significant enough to provide some cover. Of course, the deeper runways leading to the dams hold fish and the dams do, too. They’re just a bit trickier to fish because the fish are often tucked up all the way into the dam.” 

Once green weeds start to sprout on the shallow flats, Bro says the crappies, bluegills and perch spread out a bit and become a bit less spooky, especially when there’s some wave action. “ Once the water warms up a bit the fish move closer to the surface,” Bro says. “Lakes with patches of rushes or cane in three-to-six feet of water become hot. That’s when I become a crane operator,” says Bro, referring to the use of the 9’ model in St. Croix’s Avid Panfish, Panfish, and Legend Elite Panfish series. “I can pitch and even drop vertically into the openings in the rushes,” he says. “Even though they may still be rotten from the winter, they’re still strong enough to break your line. A long rod allows me to drop into the voids and pluck and pull ‘gills, crappies, and perch straight up so I can fight them on the surface to avoid tangles and break-offs.” Bro says Fire-Fly feather jigs in pink/white, greens, black/yellow bring him consistent results when “craning”, adding that small plastics work great, too, as do ice fishing lures like a Bro Mudbug tipped with waxies. 

Bro says once the weeds really start growing, they represent the best options for finding mature, springtime panfish. “Invasive milfoil grows really quickly in the springtime, and once it’s up the fish never really leave it,” he says. “It can be difficult to fish, but it’s easiest when it’s only up about three to four feet off the bottom. I like a shorter rod like the 5’6” Legend Elite Panfish of the 6’ Avid Panfish when jigging in the weeds. I’m often fishing vertically right in the sonar cone so I can watch what’s happening. The fish aren’t scared down there in that thick stuff, but subtle presentations still rule. I’m just moving my rod tip with micro-movements.” 

Wherever you’re located, the coming weeks and months represent prime panfishing. Follow Bro’s advice, try some of his favored panfish techniques, and make sure you’re geared up with rods that give you the upper hand on the water. All-new Avid Series Panfish rods consist of nine technique-minded spinning models in angler-preferred lengths, powers and actions to support today’s evolving panfish presentations that demand fast, accurate, sensitive, and forgiving tips, as well as a firm backbone. Pitch and swim, dipping, jigging and swimming microplastics, under spins, bobber rigging, micro-crankbaits, dock shooting and more; all are supported by Avid Series Panfish via advanced St. Croix design, vertical manufacturing, and precise and prideful handcraftsmanship on US soil. Models range from 6’ to 9’ in length with ultralight to medium-light powers and fast to extra-fast actions. Prices start at $200 with a 15-year warranty.

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor Review

I bought a Minn Kota Ulterra self stow trolling motor a few years ago and hated it and all the problems I had with it. So I bought a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor that is manual stow and deploy. It is bad on my back but it has been reliable and I have had no problems with it until recently.

At an Oconee tournament, the steel pull cable broke when trying to deploy the motor. A grove had been worn in the cast aluminum block the cable passes through and had cut the cable

groove in my Minn Kota Ultrex that cut my pull cable

I replaced the cable but it stuck some in the groove and would get cut again so i contacted |Minn Kota. here is part of their response: Hello Ronnie,

this is normal wear from the stow/deploy cable. There is not a way to make this stronger and if it is getting bothersome to the operation of the feature, it can be changed out with part number 2992333 which can be ordered online.

So they know this is a problem, say it can’t be fixed and offered to sell me a replacement block that is the same as the one damaged.

I checked online and found this aftermarket part that seems to solve the problem for about $25. They were very prompt, i received the sleeve in two days!

It was fairly easy to install and i posted on the Minn Kota Owners web page to try to be helpful, several folk there said they had the same problem, but the keyboard warriors told me I did it wrong, even after I posted a link to the installation video on the designer manufacturer’s website showing I did it like they instructed.

Bottom line, I am disgusted with Minn Kota. They know about a problem with their $2500 plus motors that looks like it can be solved with a $25 aftermarket part, but they will not add this to their design. They probably could buy a stainless steel sleeve and put it on when the motor is built for much less than $20.

What Is FISHING THE LATE ICE and Why Should I Know About It


from The Fishing Wire

Fishing The Late Ice

The days are getting longer and warmer. Longer days and warmer temps at this time of year mean that some really good ice fishing is not far away. Here are some ideas for finishing the ice fishing season successfully.

Even through the ice and snow, fish seem to be able to sense a change in the seasons. Mother Nature tells the fish that it’s time to start thinking about spawning, so, under the cover of ice, they start to head in the direction of where they will spawn. They don’t just take off and go there, they take their time and leisurely head for their spawning areas. As they travel, they eat a little more than they have been. Walleyes, northern pike, perch, crappies, bluegills, pretty much all fish that live in the Midwest will be getting hungrier and easier to catch right now. You don’t want to completely abandon the offshore structures and deep weedlines that you’ve been fishing the past few weeks, but you need to remember that the fish will soon start to leave those spots. When the action starts to slow on those locations, you need to start moving to keep up with the fish. Pay attention to your sonar. If you’re seeing fewer fish marks than you have on recent trips, it’s time to think about heading to the areas that the fish are headed to.

There will still be an early-in-the-day and a late-in-the-day bite, but on a lot of bodies of water, the bite has the potential to be pretty good all day. Not on all lakes, but some lakes.

This time of year you need to keep moving until you find the fish. Try different depths, and different structures, just keep moving until you find fish activity. When you find them, sit on them until they move, then you move too. That’s the key to ice-fishing year-round, but perhaps more under late ice. Keep in mind that the fish are headed toward the areas where they’ll be spawning in a few weeks. You should be headed to those areas as well.

Remember that the fish have seen lots of baits by now. If you’ve got something on the end of your line that’s been working, keep using it until the fish tell you they want something else. Then go to a different color or a different size or impart a different action on the lure. If you’ve got a bait that hasn’t worked all year, give it a try. Maybe the fish will decide that it looks rather good to them now. There’s a new bait called a Jointed Pinhead Pro that the fish haven’t seen much of and should be very productive under this year’s late ice. Use the smallest size for bluegills, larger for perch and crappies, and even larger for walleyes.

The late-season ice fishing can be outstanding, but like most things, don’t try to get too much of a good thing. If you’re not sure about the ice being safe, don’t go out. If no one else is out there, you shouldn’t be either. Keep an eye on current conditions. If it starts to get warm during the day, you should head for shore. Venturing onto the ice when it’s not safe can be very exciting in a way that you don’t want to be excited. Be safe, move until you find the fish, and experiment with lures and how you present those lures, and the last few weeks of ice fishing could be memorable and exciting for you in a very good way.

– Bob Jensen of


Tips for Kid-Friendly Winter Fishing

from The Fishing Wire

Looking for a way to beat the winter blues and teach a young person important life skills? Try ice fishing. It offers a great opportunity to learn about fish, lakes, and ice safety. It’s a lesson in patience (sometimes). If you’re successful, you’ll even get some clean, healthy meals out of it!

Keep them warm.

Bring layers and an extra change of clothes. Depending on the temperature, the area around your ice hole will tend to have a little water around it. If kids are kneeling on the ice or handling a lot of fish they’re potentially going to get wet.

Once you get cold, it’s hard to warm back up unless you have a shelter with a heater. If you plan to stay out for a longer day, a shack and heater might be a good investment for you. There are many types of shelters available at sporting goods stores or you can DIY. For an extra special treat, bring hot chocolate or warm soup in an insulated container and pull it out half way through the excursion.

Bring snacks.

Your body burns more calories in response to cold. The best time for your favorite snack is when there is a lull in the action.

Give them a job.

Keeping the holes clear of ice is an important job. It keeps your line from freezing to the side of the hole or getting clumped up with ice. It also lets your bobber move correctly when you have a bite. Especially if you have drilled a lot of holes, the scooper is a great way to keep kids busy and active. Just make sure they know to hold on tight so they’re not sending your scooper to the bottom of the lake.

Catch fish.

It’s the most exciting part. Get to know your local lakes and what fish species are available in each. Our friends over at Alaska Department of Fish and Game have a website to help you figure out what they’ve stocked and when here in Anchorage where there is heavy fishing pressure.

You’ll also want to get familiar with the behavior of fish. Are you looking for fish that are roving around mid-water column like a stocked Chinook or Coho Salmon? Or are you trying to outsmart the hardy Alaska Blackfish that prefers the bottom? Or the ambush specialist, the Northern Pike? Perhaps the burbot? Learn about fish behavior (what they eat, when they’re active) to improve your odds of catching.

For stocked salmon, baits that work well include cured eggs, popcorn shrimp, or a little piece of herring if you really want to impress them. Test out different depths by setting your bobber with a string bobber stop.

If you haven’t tried ice fishing before, one way to learn more about it is during organized kids fishing events. Our friends over at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game hosts a number of winter events in Anchorage and surrounding areas (usually in February) including one at Jewel Lake. Hundreds of holes are drilled and gear is available for youth and families that need it.

Cooking your catch

If you’ve caught some stocked Coho or Chinook (usually small like this), the easiest way to prepare them is taking off the head and then removing the guts by making a small incision from the anal fin to the area where the head is removed. Simply pull the guts out and use the back of your fingernail or small spoon to remove the kidney (the dark stuff along the spine that you can see once all the guts are removed).

In Alaska we are shared stewards of world renowned natural resources and our nation’s last true wild places. Our hope is that each generation has the opportunity to live with, live from, discover and enjoy the wildness of this awe-inspiring land and the people who love and depend on it. We honor, thank, and celebrate the whole community — individuals, Tribes, the State of Alaska, sister agencies, fish enthusiasts, scientists, and others — who have elevated our understanding and love, as people and professionals, of all the fish.

– Katrina Liebich, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Alaska

Fishing Industry focuses on females – and Florida

The fishing industry contributed 49.8 billion dollars to the US economy in 2018 (most recent report available). That spending contributed $63.5 billion to the National GDP and total economic impact, including all multiplier effects was nearly $126 billion in 2018 according to this report

Female anglers spend billions of dollars each year, creating tens of billions in economic impacts.

Female fishing participation on rise

Florida data for fishing:
Florida ranks number one for numbers of anglers. One out of every four trips in the U.S. occurs in Florida and 60 percent of recreational fish caught in the U.S. are caught in Florida.

The highest region for female participation is the South Atlantic. Its share has the strongest three-year annual growth rate overall.

Female Participation over Time
While female fishing participation fell slightly in 2021 from its 2020 all-time high, in 2021 there were 2.8 million more female anglers than five years prior, and 3.8 million more than in 2011.

Female activities outside of fishing
In addition to fishing, nearly half of all female participants walked to stay fit. The next most popular activities were camping, hiking, bowling and bicycling.

This information is provided by Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing (LLGF), according to statistics from RBFF, NMFS and other sources. The goal of LLGF is to activate, recruit and retain new anglers through educational programming and communications, aligning with the mission of the American Sport Fishing Association’s R3 endeavor.

Featured on national network television and more, the series is supported by major partners including Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, Take Me Fishing, Vamos a Pescar, Mercury, Magic Tilt trailers, Shearwater Boats, Power-Pole, Penn, TACO Metals, Lowrance, Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Fish Florida. Largest Annual Sponsors are Freedom Boat Club, ICOM America, CCA Florida STAR, Bob’s Machine Shop, AFTCO, Costa, Smith Optics, Frogg Toggs, Hubbards Marina, Star Brite and Future Angler Foundation. Other sponsors and donors are listed on the website.

For the 2022 Special Report on Fishing from RBFF visit

Fishing Industry statistics from 2021 or most recent available according to the Special Report on Fishing:
54.4 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing

Women now account for 37 percent of anglers in the U.S.
3.7 million were first-time participants, of that number, 43 percent were women
Nearly 41 million Americans ages 6 and over freshwater fished
13.8 million fished in saltwater
19.4 million female anglers fished
2.8 million more female anglers than five years prior, and 3.8 million more than in 2011.
1.6 million female participants were first-timers
7.9 million children ages 6 to 12 fished
5 million adolescents ages 13 to 17 fished
4.7 million Hispanics ages 6 and over fished
17 percent of the American population went fishing
More Americans fish then play golf and tennis combined in 2016, no new data available
Income brackets, females participating in fishing:

25% Income of over $100,000
24% income 25K to $50K
19% $50K to 75K
Fishing and the economy:
Fishing contributed 49.8 billion dollars to the US economy in 2018 (most recent report available). That spending contributed $63.5 billion to the National GDP and total economic impact, including all multiplier effects was nearly $126 billion in 2018 according to this report

Female anglers spend billions of dollars each year, creating tens of billions in economic impact dollars.

Story and images provided by Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing

About Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing
The Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing Foundation (LLGF) is a national charitable 501C3 organization dedicated to attracting women and families to fishing and encouraging conservation and responsible angling. LLGF promotes networking among women anglers and emphasizes mentorships. Founded in 1997 by Betty Bauman, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, LLGF has over 9,000 graduates and is the largest organization in the world whose objective is to introduce women and families to fishing. In addition to fishing education and hands-on practice, most events offer a fishing experience depending on venue, from charter boats to land-based fishing. The mission is supported by sponsors and donors. Both Bauman and the University series – dubbed “The No-Yelling School of Fishing” – are known nationally in the fishing and marine industries. The organization has earned rave reviews from media including Inside Edition, The Early Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS, Good Morning America, Outdoor Life Network, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more.

ABOUT Future Angler Foundation

The Future Angler Foundation (FAF) is an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation formed in April of 2012. The FAF’s mission is to “Create New Anglers and Boaters” through its support of angler education and boating safety programs hosted by passionate, knowledgeable volunteers throughout the U.S. and through its “Getting Families Fishing” initiative, a series of free source digital educational programs developed to engage young anglers and boaters as they educate them about angling in an exciting, informative, and effective manner. More information about the FAF can be found online at

Bryozoans Look Like Jelly Blobs In the Water

“Jelly Blobs”  is a term often used for a type of single cell animals called Bryozoans. They are one of several strange critters you may encounter in lakes and rivers. Several varieties live in freshwater and attach in colonies to twigs, limbs, ropes and dock posts in the water. They look like brown blobs of jelly.  If you look at them closely they have small star-like structures that are different groups of the animals, called zooids

      Bryozoans Description  – Round or oval-shapped blobs of jelly-like material attached to things in the water.  Color is shades of mottled browns.  They feel solid but slimy to the touch.

          Bryozoans Size  – The balls can be as big as two feet across and contain 2,000,000 individual zooids. Most are smaller, with a one-foot across blob fairly big in most waters.

          Bryozoans Distribution  – Different kinds of jelly blobs are found in almost all freshwater worldwide. 

          What Bryozoans Eat – Normally, diatoms, green algae, bacteria, rotifers, protozoa, tiny crustaceans or nematodes are in their diet.   

          Bryozoan Reproduction  – Asexual reproduction is the norm, through budding to form new animals, but sexual reproduction does take place.

          Bryozoans Attraction to Light – none

          Bryozoans Life Cycle  – A single zooid can attach to something in the water and reproduce by budding, building a colony that looks like the blob you see. Some die off in the winter, with just a few individuals surviving to start a new colony in the spring.

          Bryozoans Problems  – These blobs may look and feel bad, but they actually indicate good water quality.

          Jelly Blobs or Bryozoans are common and do not cause problems.  They indicate good water quality.  These tiny animals that are similar to corals should not bother you unless they are on your dock ladders and ropes.