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Now – with the Christmas celebrations behind and a new year ahead – is the time to start planning some fishing trips for 2013. One of the first things to do is get together a list of lakes to try and fish this coming year. It is a good idea to start doing homework early for places to stay, best times to fish and estimating the cost. Most people do not have unlimited vacation days, so it is worthwhile to look for places one can travel to for long weekends, conserving as many vacations days as possible.

An easy choice for this fisherman is Kentucky Lake/Barclay Lake on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. These two lakes are joined together by a channel and both are really terrific fisheries. The early spring fishing for slab crappies is almost legendary with catches of 100 fish a day being common. Because of the size of the lakes in this area, it is worthwhile to find a guide for at least one day to get an idea of the areas to fish and those to avoid – important when time is short.

Another location for early in the year is Lake Erie, for the opening of walleye season, which occurs after the ice is off the western basin. This is hard to plan because there are no dates associated with the open season; one has to check the fishing reports from Lake Erie as to when the water opens for fishing. This is another place where a guide is an excellent idea unless one has fished it before.

Going to the Outdoor and Sportsman’s show this winter can also be a help with planning. At the shows fishermen can talk to representatives from various resorts at each lake, checking on lodging, docking fees and guide services and – of course – the costs. The Chicago Boat, RV and Fishing Show is a good local choice, and some may want to head for Indianapolis in mid-February for the Indianapolis Outdoor and Sports Show, one of the best in the Midwest region and well worth the three-hour drive.

Well, down to the drawing board and the Internet; the planning begins. Until next time … keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.