Love to Fish? Fishing Trip Tips & Checklist

Statistics may surprise you: Out of the 46 million Americans who fish, over a third of them are women based on a news report by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Not just one demographic – fishing is fun for the whole family!

First fishing trip or fish regularly? Here are some useful tips and tidbits for going on your next fishing trip, including local places where you can buy your bait, obtain a fishing license, and find fish.

Understand freshwater versus saltwater fishing, scout out the habitat, find the best bait, cast with confidence, conquer the challenges of fishing in the wind, and get prepared with a checklist of what to bring.


Freshwater, as opposed to saltwater, fishing involves water that has 0.05% salinity.

The species of fish are entirely different. Salmon are often found in freshwater when they are born, spend years at sea, and come back to spawn in the same freshwater place they were born.

Bodies of freshwater, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers typically have a creel (harvest) limit, which allows you to remove only a certain amount of fish per day.

Understand the depths of the body of water by referring to a topographical map. The map may also show you locations of sunken man-made fish cribs where fish can hide.


Take into consideration the weather and specific water temperatures the fish prefer. Learn to think like a fish. What kind of bait, temperatures, and hangout spots do they prefer?

Generally, the hotter it is outside, the deeper you should fish. Often, fish will seek out cooler water and delve deeper when the temperature outside rises. Baitfish and the giant fish that eat them tend to hang out in these areas. They also stick close to safe havens, like sunken tree structures, branches, weeds, and plant beds to avoid falling prey. Larger fish like bass, pike, and walleye like to hunt for other fish in these places.


When it comes to food fish find appetizing, the best bait is typically fresh, live bait. Minnows, worms, wax worms, crayfish, grasshoppers, and crickets are popular. Artificial bait should mimic real bait as closely as possible. Do your research about what fish you’re trying to attract and what bait they’re looking for. For example, crickets are especially appealing to bream fish, while raw chicken livers or hot dog pieces are more appetizing to catfish.


Work on casting a spinning rod and bait caster with precision and accuracy. You may not be a pro yet, but conduct your casting with confidence, as you stay calm, cool, and collected. Practice your cast before you embark on your fishing trip.

Timing matters! Be as responsive as possible. Be alert to the jerk as you hold your fishing rod with a little tension.


When the wind is strong, the baitfish may become pushed closer to the shore, leading you to the bigger fish you’re seeking.


Make sure your hands are clean and scent free. Wash them well, removing any odors that fish may detect on your bait or lures.


Try fishing from a kayak. Scared of scaring the fish away with a loud boat engine? Arm yourself with a paddle instead to get around and sneak up on those suckers.


Here is a list of some local places in Winston-Salem to fish: Salem Lake, Village Point Lake, Tanglewood Park, Yadkin River, and Kernersville Lake.


First things first: Get a fishing license and stay current on the local fishing laws and state rules and regulations. Next, gather a rod, reel, bait, tackle box, needle nose pliers, net, ice chest, knife, scissors, anti-bacterial soap, first aid kit (be prepared and stay safe), sunscreen, hat, water bottle, snacks, and life jacket.

Get your gear together, plan out your trip, practice your cast, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself as you attempt to catch your next meal. Happy fishing!




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