Find open water. Regardless of where you live and how cold it gets, there is usually open water close by. Spillways, dams, and fast water runoffs generally provide open water for most of the winter and can provide excellent fishing opportunities during more mild days.
Inventory your gear. Sitting on the couch and watching football is an excellent time to look through your tackle boxes and see what you have plenty of and what needs to be added before next season.
Shop the clearance section. This has always been my favorite time of year to buy my tackle. It is very common for gear to go on clearance this time of year, making it a great time to get deals on your favorite tackle and accessories.
Touch up your lures. Everyone should do this once a year. Going through your lures and either wiping them off or touching them up with light paint or a permanent marker will make your lures more presentable and can make them last longer.
Tie flies. This is the most common way that fly anglers spend the winter. Making sure your fly box is full and has a variety of patterns is an excellent way to spend colder months.
Find some new recipes. You filled your freezer for three seasons and now it is time to do some experimenting. Trying some new recipes will make eating fish more enjoyable and you will probably want to eat fish more frequently.
Plan your next fishing trip. This is a great time of year to do some research and find out where you will take your next fishing trip. Winter is also a good time to get discounts on trips for booking early.
Study lake and stream maps. Technology has provided an entirely new world to fishing. Whether it is Google Earth or Navionics, the methods of discovering new fishing landscapes are very easy to use and resourceful. When you are snowed in this winter do some browsing to find your next “secret spot.”
Check your line. This is commonly forgotten until the next season. Spooling reels and making sure line is still good are always good chores during winter. Also remember to always keep your line and reels in an area where the weather does not fluctuate much, as this will shorten the life of the line.
Watch videos and read articles. This is without a doubt the best way to make yourself a more advanced angler. Whether you’re studying the FishUSA Angler Resource page or watching YouTube videos on new techniques this will broaden your knowledge immensely.
Oak Creek, WI
Captain Tim Hyvonen is a licensed charter captain and the owner/operator of WIFinlander Guide Service based on Lake Michigan.