by Greg Breining
Fishing is a mystery. You never know what size or kind of fish will bite on your line.
Fishing is educational. It teaches you about a whole world of fascinating creatures that live underwater.
Fishing is a way to explore new lakes and streams.
Finally, it's fun - a good thing to do with friends, family, or by yourself. Here's how to get started.
Fish gather in certain places for several reasons: to lay eggs, to find food, or to hide so they don't become food for other fish. If you want to catch fish, you must look in these spots to find them.
Some Types of Fish:
Using live bait is one of the easiest ways to catch a lot of fish. Some of the best baits are the night crawlers and smaller worms you can find in the garden. Keep them with a little dirt in a plastic tub with a snap lid. Almost any kind of fish will bite a worm.
Other good baits are leeches and minnows. Grasshoppers and kernels of corn are good baits for sunfish.
When fishing bait, drop it in a spot along weeds or near logs or rocks. Let the bait sit. When a fish pulls the bobber underwater, pull back to set the hook. Then reel in the fish.
Almost any kind of rod and reel can be used to fish bait. A cane pole is cheap and easy to use. Spin-casting tackle lets you cast far from shore or a boat. Spinning tackle casts better, but is trickier to use. Bait-casting tackle is best for big baits and fish.
There's something special about fooling a fish with a piece of metal or wood that doesn't look much like food.
Fishing with artificial lures is not only fun, it works. You don't have to bother with finding bait. Lures aren't as messy as bait. You don't have to rebait your hook each time you catch a fish. And you can fish more spots, because you can reel a lure fast, while bait has to sit in one spot.
You can catch many kinds of fish with lures you see in the photo. Use the tiniest lures you can cast for small fish, such as bluegills, crappies, and trout. Use bigger lures for walleyes, bass, and northern pike.
Rivers offer great fishing and plenty to explore. But stream fishing is different from lake fishing. Learn to recognize the hot spots.
Fish jigs and crankbaits in deep runs, eddies, and pools. Try spinners and minnow lures in shallower water.
One of the best stream lures: Put a piece of worm on a jig. Fish it near the bottom.
Greg Breining, who wrote this story, works for the DNR's Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine.
A complete copy of the article can be found in the May - June 1994 issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, available at Minnesota public libraries.