Spring is when anglers should open the playbook

It’s no secret I love spring fishing. There’s always a dilemma whether to hit those tried-and-true places or branch out and try someplace new. Fortunately, it’s not an either/or choice. Spring gives you options, and Southwest Idaho has lots of places near each other so you can hit several places in a weekend.

Because the reality is, wherever you go fishing, chances are good you’re also driving by some place that could also have good fishing. Heading up to Cascade for the weekend, or a day trip? Stop by the North Fork of the Payette and see if you can land a trout there.

Never fished the North Fork? That’s my point. Stop, pick a short stretch of water and take a few casts. If you don’t catch anything, you still have the reservoir waiting.

I make it a point to fish a few new places every year. Last spring, I tried Lake Walcott for the first time and caught a few respectable smallmouth bass, then hit one of my favorite spots in Hagerman on the way home and caught some trout. It’s not like Lake Walcott is a secret, hidden place. There’s a state park there, and most anglers know about it, but it surprised me how many people told me they had never fished there.

Mixing the tried-and-true with new waters is a pretty good strategy for exploring and staying in your comfort zone. Chances are good you’ve driven by some place and wondered how the fishing is there, but never taken the time to check it out.

Ditto for trying a new species. Maybe you’ve spent all your time trout fishing and ignored bass, bluegill or crappie fishing. Try something different, and you may like the results.

During spring, chances are good you will catch something, and even if you don’t, you will learn something. Learning a new body of water or a new species will make you look at your favorite spots differently, and probably carry a few new tricks to them.