We fishermen are creatures of habit. We all have our secret honey holes, our favorite lures, our tried-and-true tactics and our checklist of annual fishing trips.
And why shouldn’t we? Catching fish is the name of the game, and if your methods aren’t broke, then why fix them?
That said, my favorite aspect of fishing is the element of uncertainty. You never know what might tug on the end of that line. The biggest bass of my life was an 8-pounder caught on a tiny lake where I’d only ever caught 12-inchers.
I’ve caught red-phase kokanee salmon Downtown in the Boise River and dinner-plate sized crappie while fishing with plastic bass lizards. And over the years, Idaho anglers have hooked everything from snapping turtles and bullfrogs to weather loaches and Amazonian pacu.
As much as we love racking up big catch numbers at our favorite spots, it’s that uncertainty that creates excitement and keeps us coming back.
So the challenge this week: Try something new this season. Target a species you’ve never caught before. Make a trip to a new lake or stream. Tag along with that friend who’s always posting awesome catches on Facebook.
A few years back, my wife and I went kokanee trolling for the first time. It has quickly become a favorite summer tradition. This year, I tried my hand at chinook fishing. The intensity of sight-fishing a 31-inch salmon out of the clear, shallow water of the South Fork of the Salmon River is something I never will forget — and I’ll definitely be back next year!
In Idaho, we are lucky to have so many great sport fish available. From monstrous Snake River sturgeon and crocodile-sized tiger muskie to jumbo Lake Cascade perch and mysterious arctic grayling, chances are something swims in Idaho waters that is unfamiliar to you. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. And who knows? By this time next year, you might have a new favorite spot to add to your list.