One of Idaho's Greatest Hobbies - Fishing

It's no secret that Idaho has some great places to camp, hike, ski, and snowboard. There is, however, a hobby that rarely receives much spotlight even though it can be relaxing as well as exhilarating. Fishing can be done using many techniques and although there are many who have spent much of their lives learning and practicing how to fish, the unique experiences that come to anglers are not reliant on the amount of time spent casting.

On of the great things about living in Idaho is that there is never a shortage of places to reel in the big ones. To get started, it's important to have the proper gear and licensing, plus it is important to know the rules of the location, such as whether or not it is a catch and release pond or whether the fish living in the area are able to be taken home at all. Some areas request that anglers toss back fish if they are below or above a certain size, and likewise there are some breeds that are never allowed to be brought out of water. One example is the sturgeon. It is also important to make sure that the equipment being used abides by the rules for catching. Still using the sturgeon as an example, barbless hooks are required for sturgeon fishing. Another great tip is to know how many of each type of fish may be caught and kept. This, like may other factors, varies based on location, so it's crucial to research and check out the rules before packing up, driving out, and casting.

For the inexperienced angler, any type of fishing may seem daunting. It's a completely new hobby and there are a lot of tips and tricks that may not be picked up unless taught by an experienced fisherman. There are several ways to remedy this. First, of course, would be to ask a friend who is a fishing fiend. Not only does this open up an opportunity to spend time with a friend, but it also allows for a great chance to pick the brain of an expert. Second, is to check out tutorials on the internet via YouTube, Cabela's, or even the Idaho Fish and Game website. While this may not be the easiest way, it's free and can be done from the comfort and safety of home. Third on the list would be to check out local classes. There are several groups and shops around the Boise area that offer courses. This last option could also be a great place to meet others who are just starting out or who may be in want of a new fishing buddy. A few businesses that offer classes are DreamCast Idaho, Boise Anglers, and the Northwest School of Fly Fishing.

Experienced anglers have shared a few tips that will help to keep fishing fun for everyone. Common courtesy is at the top of the list. It may seem simple, but being aware of surroundings and others fishing can help to alleviate tensions between anglers. Likewise, talking to people who are fishing in close proximity can help in a few ways. One way is that others may have been out longer or earlier in the day or week. This means they could have hints and tips for to how to get the fish to keep biting, and whether or not the spot has had many fish. The other way that communicating can help is that it makes it easier to ensure that space is being shared equally and allows the other anglers to bring up concerns or request that you find a different spot. Fishing is a sport that requires respect between people, so it's important to think about how actions may affect others.

It's often assumed that the warmer months are prime for fishing. This may be true about certain types of fishing, but it can alienate an entire portion of the year. Many people find that some of the most enjoyable fishing experiences happen in the more brisk months in the form of ice fishing. Having the proper gear for ice fishing can be a matter of safety, as is staying bundled up and cozy, so make sure to do a bit of research if this sounds like a great, new activity to try. One extra perk is that a cooler isn't required to keep caught fish cold before heading home. There are guidelines available on the website for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game that would be a great place to start for anyone interested in taking to the ice. During the warmer months, there are local areas that keep fish stocked so that community members who may not have time to take a fishing trip can still cast an enjoy fishing. This is often the case with neighborhood ponds, though it's important to fish only in areas that are open to the public. Other places that many urban fishers like to fish include public parks and rivers that run through the area. In Boise, creeks and rivers can be great places to put in some time with the fishing pole.

Because of the wide variety of fishing options, from casting to baiting, from open water to riverside, and even from day to night fishing, there is always something new to try. For anyone who isn't fully convinced that fishing is a fun activity, we suggest pairing it with another outing- whether hiking is more appealing or camping sounds like more of an entertaining use of time, it doesn't take much to pack up a rod and some bait before heading out. It can make great memories, and who knows? You may become hooked!