Fishing trips don’t have to be planned

Fishing trips don’t always have to be scheduled. All you need’s a little time, a place to go and the right equipment.

Are you driving right now? Pull off the highway and do a little fishing.

I never go anywhere without fishing gear. I’ve always got a fly rod and a spinning rod in the vehicle, complete with reels and tackle. I know I’m not alone. Most of the other anglers I know don’t let their gear get too far out of reach.

But what good is having all that tackle with you if you don’t put it to use? If you don’t pull over and make a cast from time to time, all it’s doing is taking up space in your tool box.

But there are a few other important items you’ll want to keep handy while you’re out on the road. The most important things are a current license and a conservation stamp. The third is a Wyoming gazetteer. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at most sporting goods stores, book stores or truck stops.

It’s a book of maps of the entire state, and it shows what land is privately owned, as well as state and federal sections. If you see a spot from the road that looks like it might be a good spot, you can look it up in the gazetteer to see if it’s OK to fish there.

But just because a piece of land is private doesn’t always mean it’s closed to fishing. That’s where the other piece of literature comes in handy. In addition to the gazetteer, I also always have a walk-in fishing atlas with me. It shows all the areas landowners have opened to the public for fishing.

If you do fish a walk-in area, please be respectful of the landowner and the land. Park where you’re supposed to, and don’t drive where you shouldn’t. Pick up your trash, including old fishing line, and leave gates as you found them. Make sure we don’t lose the access these landowners have graciously given to us.

Make sure all your gear is handy when you get out on the road. And put it to good use.

Break up your trip with a stop or two to do a little fishing. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going from Pinedale to Big Piney or all the way from Cheyenne to Cody.

Any road trip could be improved with a stop or two to pull a cutthroat, brookie or rainbow out of the water.