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A new year for fishing

January 1, 2019
Six white bass caught by the author in the first three minutes of fishing a small inlet to Utah Lake the day after Christmas.

Today (of all days) is one to reflect on the past year and plan for the future. Although I like making a few resolutions here and there, the most important aspect of New Year’s Day (besides the bowl games) is to make solid plans to fish.

Allow me to explain.

As I have discovered reading your emails and speaking to many of you face-to-face, you don’t really “get” or “take” the opportunity to fish as much as you would prefer. Certain of my columns may tickle a specific memory of fishing trips past, or maybe even remind you how much you enjoy getting out in nature and feeling the tug of a fish on the end of your line. But for a myriad of reasons those feelings don’t translate into actual fishing trips.

Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Most people, including members of my own family, don’t fish as often as they would like. The day after Christmas (for example) I decided to give a couple of the inlets to Utah Lake a try for white bass. In the early winter, most creeks, streams, and rivers flowing into the lake attract white bass by the thousands. They ambush their prey (small minnows, crawdads, and insects) by hiding behind moss beds, wood structure, rocks or even drops offs in the mud made by current.

My first thoughts were to call my two sons who live close by to see if they (and several of my grandchildren) would like to join me in my little quest for some scrappy and eager white bass. When I reached my son, Mark, he explained that he and his family were on their way to Las Vegas for a couple of days. Undaunted (although disappointed) I called my oldest son, Don Jr. to see if he and at least his 7-year-old son would like to get in on the action. “I’m sorry, Dad,” he said, “I really can’t go fishing today.”

So, I grabbed my gear, loaded my little truck and went fishing without them. And, of course, the white bass practically jumped on my lures (tiny white and green tube jigs), and I literally caught and released over 100 white bass in a little over an hour of some of the easiest fishing I had done in 2018.

By the way, if I were you, I would give any of the inlets to Utah Lake a try (even today) using white, black, chartreuse or light green Gitzits on 1/8-ounce jig heads for some of the best white bass action of the year. You will feel like you’re cheating by fishing an ice-free stream when the rest of the fishing world are drilling holes and trying to stay warm.

The previous example is the exact reason I plan ahead for fishing in the coming year. There is nothing I like more than to see my children and their children catch fish. And knowing that they really do love to fish, it pains me to realize that their lives don’t mesh with mine and more times than not, I find myself struggling to find a fishing companion.

Today, I will take a calendar and look at each month, write down the specific trips already planned, and then try to plan several weekends for family fishing which I will then share with the entire group. We will end up with some fluid plans on paper that can be tweaked or changed depending on schedules and time off, but we will be a lot closer to several great trips in 2019 before life catches up with us.

The Boulder Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Flaming Gorge, Lake Powell, Strawberry, Starvation and Sand Hollow will all make that list, and even if we are only able to actually go to half of those venues, 2019 will be a wonderful family fishing success.

New Year’s Day is a great time to resolve to fish more, and actually writing down times and dates, and then sharing your tentative schedule with those with whom you plan to fish, will put you on the right path to a great new year of fantastic fishing.

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