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Keep Your Fishing Costs Low

By Bob Jensen - September 1, 2005

This summer has been a weird one for many anglers. The weather early on was wet and chilly in many areas throughout the Midwest, then when it decided to warm up, it got really hot. The heat kept some anglers off the water.

Gas prices have been unpleasant this summer also, and although some analysts expect gas prices to moderate, we should probably anticipate that gas prices aren't going to reach that dollar a gallon level in the near future. Some anglers didn't fish as much this summer due to higher gas costs, but not going fishing is not the answer. We just need to plan our fishing trips better to keep the costs down.

First of all, make sure your trailer and vehicle tires are properly inflated for better gas mileage.

Also, make sure your boat motor and vehicle motors are properly tuned. A sick motor uses more gas than a healthy one.

Much of the time, a tarped boat will enable better gas mileage. Less wind resistance means more miles per gallon.

If you're in the market for a new outboard, be sure to consider a four stroke model. The Honda outboards that I have been running the past several years are extremely easy on gas.

These are small things that we can easily do, but over the course of a fishing season, they will cut costs of travel.

Another thing that will make a big difference in cost is distance traveled. Some anglers travel long distances to go fishing. Here in the Midwest, that just isn't necessary. We have some of the best fishing opportunities in the world in the Midwest, and no matter where you live in the Midwest, you don't need to travel twelve hours and several hundred miles to find a good place to go fishing. Most of us live within a couple of hours of very good fishing. Take advantage of that.

Some anglers think if you want truly good fishing in a wilderness setting, you need to go to Canada. Not true! I just returned from a trip to Wisconsin, to the Bay of Green Bay to be exact, fishing just north of Oconto. We caught six to ten pound walleyes consistently, as well as incidental catfish that were pushing twenty pounds. That's pretty darn good fishing, and it's a lot closer than you think.

On an earlier trip to Wisconsin this year, we were in the north central region. Talk about wilderness, this area has it. We saw groups of eagles, lots of deer, even a bobcat. And the walleye, musky, smallmouth, largemouth, and panfish action can be fantastic. This region is close to many Midwest anglers and travelers, but has a far-away feel. Visit their website, for more information on this close-to-home wilderness.

High gas prices are a drag for sure. But if we plan effectively, they really don't impact the cost of a fishing trip that much. Stay closer to home: You'll spend more time on the water and less on the road. And, I'll bet you enjoy your fishing even more when you discover all the great fishing spots you've been driving by.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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