Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Are you ready to hit the water?

As a fisheries biologist and an eager fisherman, I love the changing seasons. I’m already anxiously awaiting the bass spawn on Lake Powell in May and early season kokanee/rainbow fishing on Flaming Gorge. And it’s not just me — the whole family gets excited. My kids are ready to get the boat out and hit the water.

My daughter, Kaytlin, caught this early-season kokanee at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Before we can jump into spring fishing and boating, though, there are some routine tasks that help me better prepare for the months ahead.

Right now, I’m stowing my ice-fishing gear and prepping the open-water gear. I pull most of my reels off the short rods, and then I re-line and mount them on the 6- to 8-foot long rods. I change my fishing line at least once a year, typically during the spring. It increases my casting distance and reduces the potential for break-offs.

My ice-tackle boxes get stacked on the shelf, and my open-water boxes get dusted off and inventoried. I try to replace all the lures I used or lost last year. (I recently found my inventory was low for my favorite early-spring bassin’ grubs, so I’ll need to make a trip to the store soon.)

If you’re a boat owner, it’s a given: you’re going to spend some time on maintenance. I usually do the annual maintenance tasks (listed in my owner’s manual) during the fall, but some of that rolled over into this spring. I annually change my lower-unit fluids, fuel filters and spark plugs. I also clean the carburetors, lube the prop shaft and zirque fittings, and charge the batteries. This spring, I replaced my impellor, which is essential to the outboard’s cooling efficiency. It wasn’t an easy task — took about two hours and some bruised knuckles — but I was glad to get it done.

Taking some time to check equipment now can mean fewer problems on the water and more time spent fishing. Hope we see you out there!

My friend, Eric Axlund, lives in Page, Arizona and loves to fish at Lake Powell. Here's a shot of him with an early-season smallmouth bass.