Tag Archives: location

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.

How to Plan the Perfect Picnic

Happy Earth Day! Go out and celebrate with a spring picnic. If planning isn’t your favorite thing to do, then we’ve got you covered! Once you follow this guide on planning the perfect picnic, everyone is sure to have a blast.


Picnic tables on green grass by a lake

Image: www.picnic-basket.com

Using your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can find state parks that offer picnicking spots for you. Just go to Explore > By Activity > Picnicking. Or you can simply search by using the Nearest Me map feature and selecting only the picnicking icon from the menu.

Date & Weather

Blue sky with the sun shining above green grass and trees

Image: www.landscapehdwalls.com

It is important that you choose a date where all of your guests are able to attend. While you are choosing a day, remember to check the weather to make sure that there won’t be any rain clouds in sight.


Aloha themed picnic decorations

Image: blog.smartyhadaparty.com

To make a picnic exciting and unique, the host should make it a theme picnic. Guests can come dressed to match the theme or they can bring recipes! Themes can vary from Hawaiian, 80’s themed, fiesta, sports, Mardi Gras, etc.

What to Pack

Picnic basket with a cooler with drinking items

Image: www.popsugar.com

  • A picnic basket for tableware and nonperishable items.
  • 2 coolers – Use one for cold beverages and the other one for perishable foods such as meats and salads.
  • Food that will be barbequed to feed all of your guests, unless each guest is bringing a dish.
  • Plastic bags – To keep your trash in.
  • Folding chairs
  • Blankets or sheets to spread out if you like to sit on the grass.


Cold food should be kept at 40 degrees or colder so it won’t spoil. Your cooler should be 25% ice and 75% food. Ice should be on the bottom and at the sides. Place the heaviest, perishable foods over the ice at the bottom of the cooler; then layer lighter items on top. Remember that a full cooler will stay colder longer and that larger pieces of ice melt slowly. Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees or more.

If you are taking salads with you, remember to place serving containers in a larger pan with ice under them, to keep them cold and fresh.

BBQ Tips

Family barbecuing in the park

Image: urbanmilwaukeedial.com

If you are planning on barbecuing at the park, make sure that the park you are visiting has BBQ grills available, unless you are permitted to bring your own grill.

Before leaving home, wrap raw meat in plastic containers or in re-sealable plastic bags. You can also freeze meats before packing, especially if you are traveling a long distance. It is advised to not partially cook foods at home to speed up the cooking process, which can cause bacteria to grow on food.

Fun Stuff

Family playing football in the park


To keep the fun going, bring along board games, softballs, a football or a frisbee. You can also check for playgrounds, basketball courts and ATV trails during your state park location research.

You and your guests can also go on a hike to tour the state park you are visiting, and watch the sunset if you are planning to stay the entire day.

Suggested Gear:

  • Sun Screen
  • Shades
  • Hat
  • Bug Repellent

Check out these accessories at our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store and search for much more items that can be used during your outdoor adventure.

How to go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in a state park can be a ton of fun but it can also be a dangerous activity if you are not careful or if you do not know how to go horseback riding. Here is a simple guide to follow to learn how to ride a horse.

Step 1: Location

Three horses in riding stable who want to go horseback riding

Image: cedarcreekcabinrentals.com

The first thing that you need to do is find a good riding stable. Some riding stables have an experienced riding instructor to help you. Download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app to find a state park that offers horseback riding and equestrian trails.

Step 2: Prepare Your Horse

Grooming brown horse

Image: www.reinsofthenight.com

Before you go horseback riding, it is important to groom your horse if it is dirty and to prevent your horse from feeling too warm. The next step is to tack your horse by putting on the saddle, the girth and then the bridle. You will have to know how to tie rope knots. An instructor will be there at your chosen location to help you with these steps, so don’t panic.

Step 3: Mount Your Horse

Woman mounting a horse

Image: www.caaequestrian.com

Always mount your horse on the left side. Hold the reins in your left hand and turn the stirrup (a pair of devices attached to each side of a horse’s saddle for the rider’s foot), towards you with your right hand. Put your left foot into the stirrup, hold the saddle and bounce gently on the stirrup. Then swing your right leg over the horse and sit down gently on the saddle.

Step 4: Find Your Balance

Horseback riding with instructor

Horseback Riding at Lake George State Park [Image Credit: Lisa Narine]

Once you are on the horse, the instructor will lead you until you are comfortable to ride on your own. If you feel unbalanced, hold onto your horse’s mane until you are steady. You will feel a rocking motion as you ride and the seat should naturally move with the motion. Your arms need to move with the motion of your horse while keeping your elbows light. Keep your back straight and look forward. One-third of your boot should be in the stirrup, keeping your heels pointing down.

Step 5: Using Aids to Control Your Horse

Woman holding horse reins, sitting on horse

Lake George State Park Stable [Image Credit: Lisa Narine]

Aids are considered to be your hands, legs and your seat. To make your horse move forward, squeeze your calves gently against the horse’s sides. If the horse doesn’t move, put more energy into it. Some horses also respond to clucks.

To make your horse halt, sit deep into the saddle and apply pressure with the reins. You can also say “whoa.”

To turn your horse, pull the left or right rein out to the side and apply pressure with your outside leg. If you don’t add pressure with your leg, your horse will not listen and it will continue moving forward.

Step 6: Trotting

English: Andalusian horse trotting with rider ...

English: Andalusian horse trotting with rider Deutsch: Andalusier im Trab mit Reiterin (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

If you are comfortable with the steps listed above, you can now learn how to trot with your horse! You have the option to either sit the trot or post the trot.

When you sit the trot, sit deep into the saddle and keep contact with your legs. Remember to keep your elbows relaxed. To post the trot, raise up in your stirrups every other step. Point your heel down and keep contact with the horse’s mouth. Make sure your hands stay still and don’t follow movements of the body because this is uncomfortable for the horse.

Horses trot diagonally, so when moving to the left, you should rise when your horse’s right shoulder is forward. When you are moving to the right, raise when your horse’s left shoulder is forward.

Step 7: Learn How to Canter

English: Andalusian horse cantering with rider...

English: Andalusian horse cantering with rider Deutsch: Andalusier im Galopp mit Reiterin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have become well experienced with horseback riding, you can now learn how to canter, which is a rocking motion. To canter, move your outside leg slightly back and squeeze. When you sit the canter, your seat will roll with the canter while you remain in the position you are riding. Remember not to tense up and keep a steady contact with the horse’s mouth. You can also canter while in “half-seat.” To sit half-seat, incline your shoulders and rotate your pelvis forward.

Remember to be cautious and always wear protective gear when you go horseback riding!

brown and white horse running in grass

Image: venomxbaby.deviantart.com

Suggested Gear:

  • Helmet
  • Elbow/Knee Pads
  • Long Pants

For your safety, check out our Pocket Ranger® gear store for these items and much more.

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