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  1. #1

    Default Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    No matter how much equipment we have, and I am the first to admit to being a sucker for FF gear, what really matters in the end is how much time we get to spend on the water engaging in our sport.

    A little background. When in my early 20ís, now 68, I had to decide on a career. Since I liked to fish more than make money I gravitated toward teaching, and became a college professor. The best thing about this profession is June, July and August, plus numerous other holidays and time off opportunities. In short, I chose a career where I had a lot of time but not a lot of money. I would do it again. I fished probably 90 days a year, maybe more some years as a grew older, and acquired tenure. Speed up to 2019. I am now retired and fish on average 150-170 days per year.

    I fish both warm and cold water species to get me out on the water more. I have a primary home near 3 lakes within waking distance (warm water), I am 2 hours to trout water in the primary home. I also have a cabin in N. Wisconsin where I spend essentially May through October. Within a 20 mile radius I have over 150 different lakes to fish, about 5 trout lakes, and 2 trout streams. The Michigan UP, kind of the Yellowstone of the Midwest, has prolific trout streams and is only one hour away.

    This model fits me, and it allows me to have a lot of time on the water. I am lucky to have an understanding wife, and feel really lucky to have a career that enabled me to fish a lot. How do you make time on the water?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I too am a retired educator. However, I do not spend near as many days fishing now or when i was working. I live in the city but there are several good steelhead streams from 20 min. to an hour away. I only fish them in the winter and due to the weather, traffic, and my aching back I fish them less now than when i was working. But i still get out a few times a year, and i will also occasionally sit on a Columbia River beach sipping whisky with a buddy while plunking for a (unicorn) Spring Chinnok. I also keep meaning to sight fish for carp, or smallmouth bass locally in the spring and summer but so far that remains a fantasy. My closest trout fishing is 2 hours away over the mountain. I have a nice shared vacation home on the river there. This affords me at 8 weeks a year of fishing for both wild trout and summer run steelhead. I also have access to a few ranch stocked trout ponds in the area. My main trout fishing Is a 3 week fishing and camping trip with S&S in Idaho and Montana in June/July. When I return i fish summer steelhead through the fall. I prefer fishing from the cabin or camping and fishing. I will do a day trip if the oneway drive is less than an hour. Otherwise, I prefer a whisky after fishing. No more long day trips for me. I do want to start taking a plane ride a year to explore unseen areas like Alaska, BC, and some warm saltwater fishing. We have the money now, but after leading a frugal lifestyle as an educator, It's hard to imagine spending that kind of our money on myself. I don't count the days, but the number is well under 100 for the year. I dont care to fish more as I have many other interests to keep me busy, including some fishing related ones which are done on a daily basis.
    Last edited by dillon; 02-10-2019 at 04:49 PM.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Southern NH

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I spend 1-2 months per year in Florida. While I'm there it would be an odd day when I didn't spend at least part of it fishing.
    The rest of the year I'm in NH. From there I fish NH, Maine and Massachusetts.
    From April thru December I probably average 2-3 days a week fishing.
    January thru March are pretty slow around New England. That's part of the reason I'm in FL for a good part of that time.

    Oh, I'm retired by the way.
    Today is the first day of the rest of your life.


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  6. #4

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I just thought I would mention to be on the right side of the track that the title, Time on the Water, was not mine, but belongs to a book written by Bill Gardner in the early 1980’s. It is a good read about a guy who quits his job in California, and moves full time to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin to fish for muskie for one year, with the hope of catching a 30 pounder. At that time in Boulder Junction, such a fish would qualify him to display his fish and march in the annual muskie day parade. Gardner’s story is intriguing but he failed to catch the 30 pounder during that year. He eventually did make such a catch, which further raised his esteem for the mighty muskie. SR

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    Get out of bed. Eat. Grab rod and vest. Go fish. Fish until a voice in my head says...Go home. Go home. Repeat with little thought about it.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I'm a quality vs quantity person...that is to say I value quality of the fishing experience way, way over number of hours spent on the water. Hence, time on the water is not nearly as important as quality of the fishing experience to me. I seek out the very best quality fishing spots in the World and absolutely treasure the experience of being there.

    I have several fishing ponds I've built on my property that I enjoy and can fish them any day of the week for any length of time...and I often do that racking up hours and hours on the water... but I'm always looking and thinking about that special quality experience that is the highest the World has to offer. That's what motivates my fishing at this stage of my life.

    When it all comes to an end, I hope to be able to say I have fished the greatest places this world has to offer and caught the greatest fish possible.
    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I live across the street from the beach in Central Florida. I try to get at least 2-3 early mornings a week in the surf before getting a shower and heading to the office. Learning to fish the surf has been an adventure to say the least.

    Hope to get closer proximity to trout streams one day, although today's "trout-bum" thread is making that look pretty difficult For now, my trout fishing is limited to a few trips a year, but it also gives me something to plan and look forward to year round.

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  13. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Brazoria County, SE Texas
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I’ve got some control over my schedule so there’s opportunities to fish at least a little on most days, weather permitting. It helps that I’m living on a lake so that if I get the itch to fish I can do just that by walking out the back door.

    For myself, the saltwater scene and fish have always held a greater appeal than anything I’ve experienced in freshwater and I’m fortunate to live within 30 minutes of an expanse of public estuary and the Gulf of Mexico. There’s no closed or fallow season really here, but the fish move around some and wax and wane so there’s a variety of species, situations and settings that I find stimulating. I can see going on like this for as long as I am able or I stop finding anything out there that’s interesting or rewarding, something that seems to be an impossiblilty.
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  14. #9

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I was a college professor. I had a tenure offer, kept it on my desk for one month, then turned it in unsigned to the Department Head and said "I'm going to teach people something they want to learn." Then I moved to Wyoming and became a guide. 200+ days a year with trout rivers and spring creeks all around me. Other than the brutal winters it's pretty spectacular. When I need a change of pace I go to OR or WA and stalk steelhead.
    There are no flying fish in Montana or Wyoming.

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Rky. Mtn. West

    Default Re: Time on the Water: How much and how do you manage it?

    I live in the most affordable "trout town" in the west. I have great fishing in every direction around me between one hour and one day's drive. I can be anywhere in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming in 10 hours, and most are half that or less. (Utah and Colorado too, but I don't fish either except for one close river.) My closest river has 15,000 trout per mile 45 minutes away, with fish rising daily, year-round. I can catch a 30-pound char anytime I want, right out my door on the lake, 15 minutes away.

    For time, I only choose to work about 130 days a year. I run a charter boat, so I get to "go fishing" on those days too, and love most of 'em. I work for myself, so the pay is decent and the business has its advantages. That leaves 235 days to do what I want! I can choose my 130 work days, I just have to do it a year in advance. My professional fishing and my personal fishing are completely separate and different. Like night and day. I don't go to work on my days off. I go fish at whatever pace I want to, how I want to, where I want to, and when. Haven't found a better gig, its been working for over 35 years.

    So, I manage it by setting my schedule in advance, living where the cost of living is damn near nothing, and in a place where I can drive to anywhere I want to be in a day. I can also get on an airplane and head to the tropics a few times a year too, again, because I live where its almost free. And surrounded by trout waters! I fish for personal pleasure about 130 days a year, so its a 50-50 split between work and play, with another 100 to do whatever I need or want to do. "Get things done," the business side of the business, wife, health, tie bugs, build rods, etc.

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