With schools and summer camps canceled and parents working from home or not working, people go fishing.
Here are the basics of the simplest type of fishing in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
If you can say, “I don’t know anything about fishing,” that’s for you.
WHAT YOU WILL DO
You will throw or drop a worm on a hook in the water. When a fish bites, you will give the rod a sharp, firm blow and roll the fish up. Then you’ll take a photo, pick it up, and send it back.
It’s so much more fun than this description.
GET A ROD AND A REEL
If you can’t borrow a rod and reel, you’ll be spending money.
Our outdoor stores are the most likely to have knowledgeable staff, but general department stores usually carry this stuff.
Go for a “rod and reel combo” that comes with a fishing line already attached and a small box of “gear” – hooks and floats, maybe a few other things. These may be rare now, so call ahead, but they can be found for $ 15 to $ 50. You can always spend more.
Special Features: If you’re shopping for a toddler, opt for these fun, Disney or Marvel themed shorts. If you are a little older, opt for a 4 to 5 ½ foot rod and push button, or a “spin-cast” reel. You press and hold the button as you begin to cast and release the button – but not the rod – to let the line flow freely. Simple enough.
If you’re a little more ambitious or have older kids, buy a “spinning” reel combo and rod up to 6 ½ feet long (but probably shorter). These are superior but more expensive and a bit more complicated.
Anything red and wriggling is fine. Dig them up in your yard, gather them in a driveway or sidewalk after a rain, or buy them from a bait shop or gas station. Store them in a closed container in the refrigerator in dirt or damp leaves when not in use.
And yes, you can also just use a line of stitching to tie a hook to a stick and find a piece of bread or any bug to use as bait.
In Minnesota, almost everybody from 16 to 89 years old needs a permit. They cost $ 25 for an adult resident and $ 5 for 16 and 17 year olds. You can buy licenses online. Children under 16 don’t need anything. If you’re a parent who is just helping a child under the age of 16 cast and land a fish, you don’t need that either.
Only one line is allowed per person in Minnesota; two are licensed in Wisconsin.
EQUIPMENT AND SKILLS?
A nail clipper, small scissors, or a pocket knife are helpful in cutting the line when tying or mending knots. Needle-nose pliers or forceps can be useful for grabbing a hook to unhook fish, but you will be fine without one. A rag is really useful for wiping off fish and worm slime if you don’t smell fish and worms. Don’t worry, you’re not carrying any bad germs either.
If you can tie a square knot, that should be enough for what we’re doing to tie a hook to the line. If you are good with knots, Enhanced Melee Knots or Trilene are proven.
WHERE TO FISH?
Wherever there is water, there could be fish.
Public parks often have riparian areas with enough room to pitch, although things are now getting bad in the shallows.
In the metro, there is an excellent guide to public fishing docks thanks to a program from the Department of Natural Resources called Fishing in the neighborhood (Fin). MNR’s Eastern Metropolitan Area Fisheries Office also has a “Where to fish” guide to lakes and streams with fishing, including shore access.
YOUR GOAL: PANFOISH
Sunfish, perch and sunfish (pronounced CROP-eez). It is your prey.
They are known as panfish because the single fillets can fit in a pan. They have no teeth, usually live fairly close to shore, and usually easily bite a worm on a hook.
Mostly pumpkinseed, which includes bluegill, pumpkin seed, and green pumpkinseed.
IF YOU CAPTURE ONE
There are rarely minimum sizes and you can usually keep a bunch of them if that’s your thing, but for those purposes you will reject them.
You will catch them, fanning the thorny thorns along the dorsal fin, push the hook back through the part of the mouth where it went and drop it into the water, the sooner the better, although they are robust enough.
If you can’t get one, cut the line and release the fish. There’s a good chance he’ll survive. If you accidentally kill one, don’t worry. These fish are abundant and are good food for other animals, such as raptors and raccoons.
ASK FOR HELP
Stuck on something? Ask a friend – you do know people who fish – or another fisherman.
Other than that, the fishing is 100% screen-less.