How to Raise Fish for Food

By | Fishing | No Comments

Fish have long been a food staple around the world. Packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc and protein, many athletes and nutritionists consider fish a superfood and recommend eating fish regularly as part of a healthy diet. 

Typically, you probably think of buying fish at the store. It’s either wild-caught or farmed and then brought to your local market. What if you could grow your own fish for food? You can, and in doing so, you’ll save money and enjoy a cleaner meal. 

Create Your Fish Habitat

Fish need space to live, and if you’ve already got a pond in your yard, it makes a great start for your fish habitat. You may want to dredge it before adding your fish to remove any debris or algae and make the environment more hospitable for your finned friends. Also, be sure that you check with your local authorities to see if a permit is required to raise fish in your state.

Your pond should include some aquatic plants and algae, so you won’t need to use the algaecide you would in a swimming pool. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can ignore the quality of the water. You should invest in a limnology kit, which evaluates water quality, to ensure your fish have a suitable habitat to live in.

Add Some Fish

Central to the project of raising fish are the fish themselves. If you’re planning to farm fish for food, there are great options out there. Carp can survive under similar conditions as koi and will eat nearly anything. They can also be stocked cheaply.

In addition to these two options, tilapia and trout are two types of fish you might associate more with fine dining. Tilapia requires more close attention to temperature than koi and carp, preferring water between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. On the upside, tilapia grow to full size in about eight months, so you’ll enjoy some return on your investment quickly. Trout aren’t as delicate when it comes to temperature. They handle the cold well but can be picky eaters. 

Make sure you consistently add fertilizer and food for your fish to keep them growing and healthy. The aquatic ecosystem is sensitive, so you’ll even want to leave fish that die in the pond for some time to keep from upsetting the habitat. 

Harvest and Eat

When your fish reach adulthood, it’s time to enjoy the food you’ve grown. There are many great ways to cook fish — you can bake, fry or smoke it and add any number of seasonings. Pick up your favorite seafood cookbook and find something you can adapt to the type of fish you’ve raised. If your habitat is healthy, your home-grown fish will be fresher and tastier than anything you can pick up at the market. 

How to Catch More Fish This Summer

By | Fishing | No Comments

It’s summertime, and that means it’s time to head out into the wilderness with your fishing gear and catch as many fish as possible. Hot weather can make it challenging to reel in anything bigger than the palm of your hand. If you’re on a dry streak and haven’t been catching much lately, here’s what you can do to increase your haul.

Look for Cover

Fish are cold-blooded, so during the warm summer months, they tend to be lethargic and don’t seek bait like they do in colder weather. Shallow water will get uncomfortably warm, even for cold-blooded creatures, so those that continue to live in the shallows will look for shade and cover where the water is cooler.

They won’t come out of their shady spots easily, but if you can cast your line into these places, you’ve got a better chance of catching a big shallow-water fish. They’ll also retreat to these grass beds at night, so if you’re spending some time on the water once the sun goes down, fishing in vegetation is your best option.

Fish Deep in Hot Weather

Swimming in warm water might be nice for humans, but it can get uncomfortable for fish — especially big ones. Even if your preferred catch normally lives in shallow water, start fishing deeper once the temperature starts climbing. You might have better luck casting a weighted line in deep water, where the temperatures are lower and the fish are more comfortable.

Explore Vegetation Patches

In natural water features, vegetation acts as a home for fish. Once they’ve fed, they’ll return to water-rooted plants for the cover they provide. It also increases localized oxygen levels, making the area a comfortable home for the fish. Fishing in vegetation is a tricky skill to learn, but once you master it, it can be a fantastic way to follow the fish when the water temperature is climbing and they’re not inclined to bite.

Watch the Weather

You’ll want to pay close attention to the weather if you’re going out fishing, but not just so you don’t get caught in the rain. Storms change the ambient barometric pressure of the area, and fish are very sensitive to these changes. They often feed more right before a storm hits, making it the perfect time to get out on the water. This is especially true if you live in an area that’s prone to frequent afternoon thunderstorms.

Take a Boat

You can catch plenty of fish by the shore, but sometimes the ones you really want are going to be in deeper water. There are plenty of ways to get to the good spots. You could take a simple kayak and paddle, which is fine if you’re catching fish in the 12 to 24 inch range. Anything bigger and you’re going to need a bigger boat. Of course, you could always go extreme and get a yacht with a 1600hp engine, but then you might end up just cursing around and not actually fishing. Not that that’s always a bad thing!

Stay Hydrated and Have Fun

This last tip might not help you catch more fish, but it’s important if you’re going to be out on the water during the hot summer months. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. No one wants to get dehydrated while they’re trying to catch a few fish for dinner.

Other than that, all you need to do is be patient, pick the right locations to cast your line and have fun. The fish will bite eventually — you just might have to follow them around a bit before they do.

Tips for Buying Your First Boat

By | Fishing | No Comments

Summer is almost over, which means it’s the perfect time to consider buying the boat you’ve had your eyes on all season. Whether you’re tired of borrowing your buddy’s boat or just want to stop spending money every weekend on a rental, here are a few tips and tricks to help you through the process of buying your first boat.

First, Establish Your Budget

Before you start looking for a new boat, you need to establish a budget. Good boats aren’t cheap and cheap boats aren’t good, so figure out how much you’re willing to spend and how flexible your budget is. This will make it easier to keep yourself from spending too much money or mortgaging your house just to pay for your boat.

Figure out your budget first. Everything else will fall into place.

Next, Figure Out the Details

The next step is to figure out what kind of boat you actually want. Ask yourself a few questions, like:

What am I using the boat for? Are you planning on using it to go fishing on the weekends or to explore local waterways? Do you need something that can handle longer voyages out to sea? Do you need something with speed that can tow tubers or water-skiers, or are you content with something a little bit slower? Or are you looking for something with all-around performance?

Will I be spending long amounts of time on your boat? If you’re heading out for a day trip, you might not need somewhere to sleep. If you’re going to be on your boat for days or weeks at a time, you’ll need areas to sleep, shower and store your food.

Am I going fishing? If you plan to eat your catch, you’ll need a boat that is equipped to keep your fish cold or even frozen until you can get back to shore and put them in your freezer.

How big of a boat do I actually need? It’s tempting to go with the biggest option, but larger or more powerful boats may require additional licensing and insurance.

Do I want an inboard or an outboard engine? If you’re going to leave your boat at the dock, an outboard motor is a good option, because it can be lifted out of the water. If you’re planning to store your boat at dry dock or only use it in fresh water, inboard motors are fine.

Each of these questions holds a piece of the puzzle that will help you figure out which make and model of boat will be right for you.

Talk to an Expert

Once you’ve got a general idea of the type of boat you’re looking for and the budget you have available, your next step is to talk to an expert. They’ll be able to take the puzzle pieces you’ve pulled together and help you find the perfect boat to suit all your needs. They may even be able to help you figure out the answers to questions you haven’t even thought to ask yet.

Once you have a plan in place, searching for your ideal boat should be an enjoyable experience. Now you can start looking forward to those sunny days on the water next summer.

10 Great Fishing Poles for Beginners

By | Fishing | No Comments

Fishing is a fantastic and relaxing hobby, but if you haven’t gone fishing since you were a kid, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to picking up a new rod and reel. There are so many options on the market that it can be intimidating. To make your shopping trip a little bit easier, we’ve pulled together a list of 10 great fishing poles, in no particular order, for beginners or people just returning to the sport:

  1. KastKing Combo Spinning Rod and Reel

KastKing is one of our favorite rod and reel brands. This fantastic rod and reel set comes with a collapsible steel travel rod and a spinning reel designed for high power ratios. It’s an excellent middle-of-the-road rod and reel, which makes it perfect for beginners — and it’s also very affordable!

  1. Ugly Stik Shakespeare

Don’t let the name fool you — these rods are a great option for beginners. You can pick up an Ugly Stik rod for less than $50, and it will serve you well for years. It is designed to be used with a line rather than reel, but you can easily clip a reel to it as well. These rods are made of a single piece of stainless steel to give you plenty of durability while not compromising sensitivity.

  1. Berkley Lightning Rod

These lightweight carbon-fiber rods are inexpensive and ideal for beginners and experts alike. These rods are among the most sensitive beginners’ rods on the market and can be picked up for less than $40. Pair them with your favorite reel or use them on their own — either way, they’re a great rod for a great price.

  1. Troutboy Black Warrior

If you don’t have a lot of space but want a good affordable beginner fishing rod, the Black Warrior by Troutboy is a great option. These collapsible carbon fiber rods cost around $20 and are equipped with stainless steel guides and a comfortable padded grip. It also comes with a six-month warranty, so you’re covered for your first few fishing trips in case the rod fails.

  1. Plusinno Rod and Reel Combos

Another fantastic beginner rod and collapsing reel combo, this carbon fiber set can get you fishing in no time. It comes complete with a carrier case and some starter fishing lures that will have you catching small and large fish in no time. The carbon fiber rod is incredibly responsive and corrosion-resistant, so you can use it for fresh and salt water.

  1. South Bend Worm Gear Rod and Reel Combo

This is a rod designed for smaller fish, so don’t take this one deep-sea fishing. It’s a good option for smaller, four to five-pound fish. The rod itself is hollow, and the worm-gear reel works smoothly. For kids or beginners, this is one of the best options out there.

  1. Shimano Solora 2-Piece Spinning Rod

Another small, lightweight rod, the Solora is a great option for fishing beginners. It won’t catch large fish, but you can easily equip it with line up to 14-pound test safely and catch those smaller trout and bass. This is an aero glass rod with aluminum oxide guides, so it won’t stand up to as much punishment as some of the other ones, but it’s a great low-cost option for beginners.

  1. Daiwa Mini System Spinning Rod and Reel Combo

You don’t always need a full-sized rod and reel to land a few fish. The Daiwa Mini System pairs a spinning mini rod — 4.5 feet long — with a gyro spin reel for less than $50. If you’re looking for something small to start you out, this is one of your best options.

  1. Okuma Inshore Travel Rod

This rod uses multiple materials in its construction — it has a graphite core with a carbon fiber outer wrap to give you a strong rod that has great flexibility and sensitivity. It is one of the more expensive rods on our list, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The line guides have zirconium inserts to keep your line moving smoothly whether you’re casting or reeling in your catch.

  1. Crystal River C/CTFK1 Fishing Rod/Reel Combo

If you just want a cheap starter kit, this can be a great option. It won’t hold up nearly as well as some of the carbon fiber or graphite options because both the rod and the reel are made of plastic, but if you’re looking to get into the sport without breaking the bank, this is a great starter option.

These are just based on our own experience — the exact rod and reel you’ll need will depend on where you’re fishing, your budget and the kind of fish you’re looking to catch.

How to Catch More Panfish This Summer

By | Fishing | No Comments

Nothing is quite like camping on the edge of a river or lake and catching your meals. But if you don’t have any luck with your fishing, you might find yourself going hungry or subsisting meals with granola bars and trail mix.

If you’re heading out for a fishing or camping trip this summer, what can you do to ensure you catch enough panfish to keep you from going hungry? Here are four tips.

  1. Don’t Skimp on the Gear

Don’t try to go fishing for your dinner without the right equipment — you’ll just end up going to bed on an empty stomach. Talk to an expert on catching panfish at your local sporting goods store or grab a beer with a buddy who always manages to land their catch to find out their recommendations for the best rod and reel combos for landing panfish.

Sure, you can always wade into the shallows and try to catch your dinner the old-fashioned way, but that’s not nearly as much fun as landing enough fish to feed your entire campsite.

Okay — it is fun, but it isn’t nearly as efficient.

  1. Pick the Right Spot

Casting randomly out of a nearby body of water might be a great way to relax, but it isn’t going to help you fish for your dinner. You need to pick the best spot for each type of fish you’re looking to catch. Crappies like to loiter around bridge pilings, bluegill nest in the first 4 feet of water during a full moon, and others might be taking shelter in weed beds or under fallen trees that are dipping into the water.

Just picking the right spot can make your fishing endeavors more successful — put your hook where the fish is, instead of trying to wait until the fish come to you.

  1. Do Your Research

Do a little research before you plan your trip and try to plan your trip around fishing seasons and fish spawning seasons. Bluegill panfish, for example, spawn between April and July, and there are always more than you could ever catch in the waters where they nest.

Planning your trip around the times when there will be tons of fish in the water is the best way to improve your chances of catching enough panfish to keep you from going hungry.

4. Bring the Best Bait

Picking the right place to cast your line is important, but it isn’t the only thing you need to consider. You also need to choose the right bait.

Bluegill prefer a plastic grub lure, while others might prefer sponge rubber spiders or live minnows. Plus, if you run out of minnows, you can throw fish guts or even crushed eggshells into the water to entice these little fish to the surface so you can scoop them into your bait bucket and continue fishing.


Fishing for your dinner is an experience like no other. It can make you feel closer to the land while keeping your trip costs down — no need to stock up on non-perishables if you can fish for your next meal. Just be smart about your fishing locations, gear and bait, and you might find yourself catching more fish than you need!

How to Fish in Lake Champlain

By | Fishing | No Comments

It’s summertime, and that means it’s time to start planning those warm-weather fishing trips. If you’re not sure where to cast your line, why not try Lake Champlain? This 490-square mile lake sits on the border of the United States and Canada in New York and Vermont, and has received recognition as one of the top bass fishing spots in the country. If you want to land some bass this summer, where should you start?

Gear Up

You’re not going to catch anything without some decent equipment. If you don’t already have some tried and true bass-catching fishing rods and reels, the best advice we can give you is to stop by one of the many bait and tackle shops dotting the shores of the lake. They’ll offer the best advice and equipment for catching the smallmouth and largemouth bass and trout that call the lake home. During the spring and fall, you can even find landlocked salmon.

Rent or Bring a Boat

You can catch plenty of fish from the shoreline, but if you really want to bring home the bass-flavored bacon, your best bet is to get your hands on a boat and head out into the water. If you have your own boat, make sure you bring it along – there are plenty of boat ramps to help you get your boat in the water.

If you don’t have a boat already, don’t worry – plenty of places will rent you a dingy for the day so you can catch a bounty of fish during your trip. Make sure you read up on the boating laws on Lake Champlain before you get behind the wheel to ensure you enjoy your trip safely.

Pick Your Spot

Now we come down to the most important part of fishing on Lake Champlain – picking the best spot to land your catch. There are plenty of good places on the lake, but it’s important to keep one thing in mind – you probably won’t be the only one on the lake, so the popular places might be very crowded, making it harder to catch fish.

The main part of the lake is beautiful if you want to spend some time on the water, but at its deepest point it’s more than 400-feet deep, which isn’t good for trout or bass fishing.

This is another time when talking to the locals is a good idea – people who live and work around the lake will know the best places to fish, even places that won’t show up on the map.

Fishing on Lake Champlin is a great way to spend your summer, as long as you come prepared. Talk to the locals, get some advice from the nearby bait and tackle shops, don’t forget your boat and you’ll catch more bass and trout than you know what to do with. Make sure you prepare for anything, and you’ll have plenty of fun while fishing on Lake Champlain.