You don’t have to go to the same place every time you go fishing. When you find a good spot to fish, it’s nice to know you can go back there and catch fish. But if your honey hole dries up, or if someone else finds it, you’re going to need another place to go.
The drought we’ve been dealing with for the last few years has already made a number of people I know go in search of new areas. We’ve had some good moisture these last few weeks, and it looks like we might finally be coming out of the drought. You might not lose your honey hole to a lack of water, but you might have to compete with other anglers for elbow room.
Don’t wait until you have to find a new place to fish. Spend some time this spring looking for good alternates. You may not find a better place, but if you put some effort into it, you might be able to find several that are almost as good.
Before you step outside, grab a pile of maps. Take a good look at several topos. If you like to fish cricks and beaver ponds, look for little blue lines that meander through widely-spaced contour lines. If you would rather fish bigger waterways, look for places where tributaries feed into rivers.
Find your favorite honey hole on a map, and look for other spots that might be similar. That’s not always going to mean a place you’ve never been to will be just like your go-to fishing hole, but it’s a good place to start. There are things that don’t show up on a map that make a hole a good fishing hole, like submerged logs, riffles and other features. But there are other things, like inlets where smaller streams feed bigger ones, that you can find on maps.
Once you have a few likely places, go check ‘em out. Spend the spring exploring new areas. Take your maps with you when you go. Circle the good places and cross off the crummy ones.
You might not find anything better than your usual spot. You may spend several weekends checking out new waters and realize you had the best spot picked out from the start. But then again, maybe you will find a better place. And at the very least, you’ll see some new country.