How to be more successful on your summer vacation
Many people can only take a few weeks off per year for their vacation. They make an itinerary to the minute of daily plans to recreate in a foreign environment but put no thought into how they will catch fish when they arrive. After a few days of failure, they go to the bait shop to ask the bait store owner what to do. However, the owner hasn’t been on the water in weeks or months because he/she has been working 10-14 hour days tending to the bait shop. If you are lucky, you may run into a guide or local fishermen that will share information with you. That isn’t something to depend on as most locals and guides are tight lipped when it comes to sharing secrets. We have had bad experiences with people over bagging and crowding in on us when we have clients. Your preparation should take place months before your vacation.
Most people book a house or resort before even looking at fishing options. This may be ok if you have a boat to trailer to other lakes but most often the family has rented a houseboat or had a boat delivered to their pier. If you luck out and the lake you are on has a good bite then you are set. That occurs about 5% of the time. If this is a fishing vacation then determine a good lake or chain of lakes first. A chain of lakes would be best because it may contain lakes of various sizes and types. Small dark colored lakes warm up faster and are good bets in the spring, Big clear lakes turn on in the heat of summer as they take longer to warm. I always check creel census and stocking data from the DNR websites to determine which lakes to concentrate on in the new year.. Once I have narrowed it down to a few systems, I research the lake from fishing reports put out by reliable sources. This may come in the form of lake maps, fishing map books like the Fishing the North Country Series or Outdoor Connections are excellent. I own every lake map known to man. I also like to have an individual lake map like Fishing Hot Spots map when scouting the lake. I will highlight the areas that are shallow for spring fishing and highlight deep structure in a different color. I will check these spots when I am on the water. I am looking for weeds, weed type , density and their development. This will dictate which technique I will use. Lastly, I will look for fish. Usually the fish will move off to the side of the boat unless you are very stealthy.
Once I have decided on a lake I will troll the perimeter of the lake with my large motor. I may use a muskie crankbait or a smaller crankbait. With my Hummingbird locator on split screen for 2D down imaging and side imaging and my Lowrance on GPS mode, I will move around the lake dropping waypoints at points , inside turns, weed beds, cribs and / or trees in the water. It is only after this information is gathered that I make the decision to fish the lake or not. As with anything in life, you get what you put into it. The more effort you put forth, the better your chance of a successful fishing trip.