Fishing tips for DuPage County Forest Preserve Lakes: Become familiar with basic concepts and information o Fishing is a skill, that’s why it’s not called “catching.” Do a little research before you begin your fishing trip. Even professional anglers scout and try new tactics when they fish water bodies, old and new. Know your limitations o Almost everyone has fished at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t make us professional anglers. I have been fishing since I was 5 on a very regular basis, and am now a fisheries ecologist and I still get skunked sometimes! Fishing is a fun and exciting recreational opportunity for kids and adults, but it can also be a teaching and learning experience with respect to patience and humility. A bad day of fishing can teach you a lot about what not to do the next time you are out, and it is always better than a good day at work, unless of course you are a fisheries ecologist. Know your target species o It is important to know what type of fish you are trying to catch because tackle, bait, gear, tactics, approach and location are just some of the variables that play into catching a particular species. For example, big double blade spinner baits and 20-pound test line are not the best option for trying to catch bluegill. Instead, use tiny little hooks, like a No. 7. Once you have the species, learn about the species o Bass anglers have written books, papers, articles, etc. on how to be better at catching bass. This information includes basic life history, habitat information, spawning information, temperature preference, etc. This type of information is available for all of our freshwater game fish, and should be referenced to increase your chance of a successful fishing adventure. More information on game fish in Illinois can be found on the IDNR webpage http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/fishing/Pages/default.aspx as well as the IFish Illinois webpage http://www.ifishillinois.org/ Read the weather and time of day o Hot “bluebird” days at high noon are probably not the best conditions to fish. Fish are “poikilothermic,” meaning their body temperature varies significantly depending on the water temperature. If the water around the fish’s typical habitat is too warm, they will move to deeper, cooler water. So as the day gets hotter, fish will go deeper and further away from the banks. o Many fish also have peak feeding times at dawn and dusk. These are good times to fish. o Overcast days and right before a rain event also create favorable conditions for many fish and can be great times to try and catch a trophy. Don’t be afraid of change o If a particular bait or lure or approach (e.g., bobber fishing) isn’t working, change it up. Sometimes even the slightest variation in color of the exact same lure can trigger a bite and turn a boring day into an exciting fishing trip. o If you have tried everything and still can’t get a bite, change locations either on the lake or move to another lake entirely. We have more than 30 lakes! Have fun! o Fishing is a fantastic opportunity to get outside and introduce children to the outdoors. It is one of those activities that can change a person’s life forever and help fuel a passion for the outdoors — just ask a fisheries biologist!