Tag Archives: lake

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.


Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.


Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

Learn How to Swim

Bald Eagle State Park beach by the lake

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Swimming is an aerobic workout, but unlike other types of physical exercise, it works the body without harsh impact on the joints. There are pools, lakes and even the ocean where you can go swimming while being in a state park. Check out these steps to learn how to swim before summer is over!

Step 1: Let Go of Fear

Swimming in pool with lifeguard

Image: www.pritish-sehzpaul.blogspot.com

You might be afraid of drowning, which is a natural feeling, so don’t try swimming alone. Always go swimming with another person who knows how to swim such as a lifeguard on duty.

Step 2: Get Used to Floating

Woman holding on to pool wall, kicking

Image: www.feelforthewater.com

Start out in the shallow end. While in the water, hold on to the side of the pool or dock, allowing your legs to float behind you. Practice floating on your stomach and back like this until you become accustomed to floating in the water. When you feel you are ready, let go of what ever you are holding onto. To remain stable, put out your arms at a right angle so that your body is in a “T” shape. Remaining in the shallow end allows you to stand up if you feel unsafe. In time, you will get used to water being around your ears, nose and mouth. As you progress, move towards the deeper end to attempt floating from there.

Step 3: Practice Exhaling Underwater

Take a deep breath and put your face underwater. Slowly exhale out of your nose until you’re out of breath and then come back up. If you are uncomfortable exhaling through your nose, you can hold it closed or wear a nose plug and exhale through your mouth while swimming.

Step 4: Swim with a Kickboard

Swimming with kick board in pool

Image: background-pictures.vidzshare.net

Use a flotation device in this step. It’s better not to use arm support or anything around your waist because it may interfere with your swimming. Hold the kickboard or noodle in front of you with straight arms. Push off from the wall and scissor kick with your legs straight out behind you. Rotate your head to the side to breathe.

Step 5: Laps Using Arms

Continue doing step 4, but now lift one arm off the kickboard, pulling down through the water and lifting, and then returning your arm to its starting position. Switch arms and repeat. Rest and repeat.

Step 6: Letting Go of Kickboard

One person swimming laps

Image: www.active.com

If you are ready and confident enough, push the flotation device out in front of you and start swimming towards it. Begin your freestyle stroke, scissor kicking, straight arms in front of you and side breathing. Practice this for a few times. The more practice you have, the better you will be able to swim.


  • If you are swimming in the ocean and get caught in a riptide, swim sideways, parallel to the shore. Swim with the longest stroke, allowing plenty of room to breathe. Keep swimming until you are out of the riptide and call out for help if you can.
  • It is important to know how to get out of a river current. Aim to swim diagonally toward the shoreline that goes with the current.
  • Try to eat an hour before you go swimming.
  • Use a floating device or life jacket if you are nervous about the water.
  • Swimming goggles can be useful if you want to swim underwater.
People swimming in lake with trees in background

Image: www.openwaterpacific.org

To find a state park with a pool or a swimming area close to home, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app and use the “Nearest Me” feature.

Suggested Gear List:

  • Sunscreen
  • Swimwear
  • Life Jacket

Check out Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and so much more!

Top Reasons to Experience Boating

19th Century boating

Image: 1812now.blogspot.com

Boating has been around for many years. Whether it is kayaking, canoeing, or being on a speedboat, it is something that you must experience to cool off from this summer heat. Here are a few reasons why you should experience boating.

Stress Reducer

Boat moving in water

Image: www.debberanproperties.com

School, work or errands can be stressful, but when you are out in the open water, it consumes all your attention. Stress can eventually take a toll on your body and it is important to stay healthy. The fresh air and Vitamin D will make you a happy boater!


Boating and water skiing

Image: www.pinedaleonline.com

If you are feeling that you have no time to work out because you’re busy with your daily life, then boating is just the thing for you. Boating provides great exercise. Once you are on a boat, there are other activities you can do, such as swimming, fishing or waterskiing. You are also doing aerobics while canoeing, paddling or even kayaking. Boating releases natural endorphins, which are great for your health.

Bonding Time

Kids Jumping off boat into water

Image: www.citylifemagazine.ca

Recreational boating can bring your family together, away from the television and video games. Boating creates an atmosphere where you can create wonderful memories. It will also teach your family how to work in teams while docking and cruising.

Easy to Learn

Park Ranger Boating

Image: www.independentmail.com

Learning how to boat takes time and practice, but with the right motivation, anything is possible. There are many things you have to learn about boating including how to tie different types of rope knots. There are many park rangers at state parks that are willing to help and with your Pocket Ranger® app, you will be a boating expert in no time.

Water Access

Boat Ramp in state park

Image: www.lake-lewisville.org

Water Access is closer than you think. There are many state parks that have places to dock and that provide boat rentals of your choice. With a short drive, you can enjoy your mini vacation. With the “Nearest Me” feature in your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can easily search for boat ramps that are close to home.

The View

Boating scenery with boat

Image: www.seaturtlespacecoast.org

No matter which state park you choose to go boating at, there will always be a spectacular view. If you choose a route with all water, trees or mountains, you will be fascinated. You will also have the opportunity to see other boaters, water skiers and even jet skiers. Boating is a great way to meet new people and introduce you and your family to other great water sports. You may also have the chance to see wildlife.

Pontoon Boat Fun

Image: www.newportpontoonssales.com

Many state parks offer boating, but to find one closest to you, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app. Our app offers GPS maps and boating descriptions to help you decide which type of boating fits you best. And remember to check out the Rules and Regulations for boating in your state park.  

Suggested Gear List: 

  • Kayak
  • Life Vests
  • Sunscreen

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more!

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