Believe it or not, it's the perfect time to start the best fishing season of your life.
Sure, we've just entered 2013, there's snow on the ground and Chautauqua Lake isn't quite frozen yet, but with plenty of time on your hands, why not put some effort in preparing for the upcoming season? By doing a little research and maybe even scouting some prospective new lakes to fish, you can enjoy your best year yet.
The Internet is a great place to start "fishing" for information. There are hundreds of fishing web sites to gather information from, including B.A.S.S., FLW Outdoors, Walleye Web and Walleye Central. If you're targeting a certain species of fish, obviously, you would narrow your research.
There's also countless amounts of information on our own beautiful Chautauqua Lake, along with other nearby waterways such as Bear Lake and Cassadaga Lake.
In my personal opinion, local knowledge is very valuable. If you're out shopping, a visit to the local bait store can be a worthwhile trip.
The information gained from a half-hour spent talking to folks at places such as the Happy Hooker Bait Shop in Ashville can easily be written down and used when you're out on the water. In addition, while visiting a bait shop, you never know what you'll find there... maybe that new crank bait will be on the shelf just waiting for you to pick it up!
Many of these stores have clearance sales from January through March that I always take advantage of. Those sales allow me to purchase a lot of great fishing items that I normally can't afford the rest of the year.
There are also a number of sportsman road shows going on in our region between January and March from Cleveland to Harrisburg. They offer special prices and deals from a variety of fishing vendors.
If you're a bass fisherman like me, check out our local bass club, The Chautauqua Lake Bassmasters and become a member of this wonderful organization.
The club holds meetings and offers outings and other area tournaments on Chautauqua Lake. Becoming a member of the club will be a great asset for you and it's an honor to be associated with men and women who probably have the best local knowledge of our lake. They've spent a lot of time and have invested countless hours in fishing our own wonderful natural resource.
Last August, an organization called Major League Fishing visited Chautauqua Lake. A number of pro fisherman competed, but the tournament was a bit low key and short of a few news broadcasts, went unnoticed.
On Jan. 3, however, the Major League Fishing General Tire Summit Cup was shown on the Outdoor Channel and the championship round will be broadcast on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. on NBC. That means Chautauqua Lake will have national coverage and literally millions will be able to see what a beautiful natural wonder we have here in Western New York and what a great fishery we have access to.
An investment of time and energy now means you'll have a better fishing season when the warm weather arrives this spring and hopefully you'll catch that lunker of a lifetime!