It’s still pretty subtle, but you can feel it in the air on certain afternoons.
I’m hesitant to say it too loud, for fear Punxsutawney Phil might hear me and pull the covers back over his head.
But there’s no doubt about it, fellow anglers: Spring. Is. Coming.
It’s not quite here yet, as evidenced by the stubborn sheets of ice still clinging to life on many Treasure Valley lakes and ponds. But it is on the way, and with it will come some of the best fishing opportunities of the season.
Right now, conditions are pretty tough in the Valley. The Boise River is raging. The ice isn’t thick enough to fish on (unless you head north to Cascade and Horsethief), but it’s lingering long enough to hamper bank and boat access.
So that means we just stay home, watch TV and wait for spring to come, right? Wrong. This is prime time to prepare so that when spring has finally sprung, we are ready to rock and roll.
Remember that cranky motor that started to give you problems last fall, but then you winterized the boat and forgot about it? Take it to the shop. Don’t let it be the reason you don’t go fishing on the first 70-degree day of the year.
What about those leaky waders and float tubes? We can’t have those spoiling our good times, either, can we? Patch them up.
And don’t forget about your tackle box. How are things looking in there? Odds are you lost more than a few lures to snags or (hard swallow) the big one that got away last season. But you don’t want to realize your favorite crankbait is missing the first time you go to tie it on. So run to the tackle shop and reload. While you’re there, be sure to grab your 2017 license.
Getting ready for fishing season goes beyond prepping your gear because spring brings many things with it — and most of them aren’t nearly as cool as fishing.
Case in point: yard work. You forgot about yard work, didn’t you? But when the last of that pesky snow melts away, those chores will be lurking in the backyard, waiting to ruin your good times.
But all is not lost. There are no rules that say you have to start the yard work when it gets nice out. It’s going to suck whether you do it now or in May, so why not do it now, when fishing conditions aren’t great. Put on a jacket and build that garden box, prune those trees and wash those windows like there’s no tomorrow. Or better yet, like there is a tomorrow and it’s going to be 72 and sunny.
Warmer weather is coming. The only question is how ready will we be to spring into action when it arrives?
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.