Maximizing Fishing Time

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Matt_Geiman

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I'm an avid fisherman with a family and three little ones so my time to fish is pretty limited. With that said, I am very fortunate live in an area where I have a lot fishing close to home. In fact it's overwhelming if you include warm water fishing in the mix. Am I limiting my self too much if I focus strictly on trout fishing my local streams, ignoring warm water fishing and for most part the big destination streams? I live in Carlisle, and have about 10 good trout streams within 30 min away, plus a few that I'm willing to drive an hour to fish. One guideline that I've used to maximize time is to limit my drive to 1/6th of the total time I have to go fishing. In other words If I have 3 hours to go fishing, my fishing spot needs to be within 30 min away. If I have 2 hours, I’ll stay within 20 minutes away. Curious, if you think this is good approach, or if this sounds a little too crazy. If you ask my wife I certainty am a little crazy when it comes to fishing!
 
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redietz

redietz

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No, I don't think it's crazy at all.

My approach was always to make sure I spent more time fishing than driving, so if a spot was a 30 minute drive away (each way) I had to make sure that I had more than 2 hours free. Back when I lived in CA, it was about a 5 hour to fish the Sierras, so I would leave in the middle of the night to make sure I got in at least 10 hours of fishing before dark.

Now that I'm retired my back often won't allow me to fish more than a couple of hours max, so it really doesn't what the fishing to drive ratio is. A couple of weeks back, I drove an hour and half each way to fish up your way for about 50 minutes. It was still worth it.
 
afishinado

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No, I don't think it's crazy at all.

My approach was always to make sure I spent more time fishing than driving, so if a spot was a 30 minute drive away (each way) I had to make sure that I had more than 2 hours free. Back when I lived in CA, it was about a 5 hour to fish the Sierras, so I would leave in the middle of the night to make sure I got in at least 10 hours of fishing before dark.

Now that I'm retired my back often won't allow me to fish more than a couple of hours max, so it really doesn't what the fishing to drive ratio is. A couple of weeks back, I drove an hour and half each way to fish up your way for about 50 minutes. It was still worth it.
Same as redietz, fishing time has to exceed travel time roundtrip for me to fish head out to fish a certain stream, river or lake. I'll add in launch and takeout time to drive time if I'm kayak fishing.
 
Nymph-wristed

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I agree that you are not crazy at all and fortunate about where you live so that you can take advantage. I am just outside Philly, but I fish about 100 days per year on average, and maybe half of those trips are within an hour of home, and another 25% of those are within 2. I guess my math is similar to what rdietz shared. I have no problem driving an hour to fish for four, and driving two to fish maybe 6 hours. It only becomes a grind in the summer when those predawn drives begin to suck, and in the winter when 5 PM comes around really quickly. Oh, and when the surf bite lasts an hour and the beach is 90 minutes away, but bad math is only one of many problems with surf fishing :D
 
jifigz

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If I wasn't close to great fishing I'd probably take up different hobbies, or at least use different fishing styles. I hate driving more than 15 minutes..I will, of course, but I'm pretty spoiled. There is always fishing close by of some sort though if you're in PA, maybe just not the type you wanna do
 
wildtrout2

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Living in the Philly suburbs, all of the wild streams I fish are no less that a bit over an hour away. Most being two or more hours away, so I try to get as much stream time as possible. On a few occasions, I've actually driven 12 hours (round trip) to fish for just 6 or 7 hours, all in the same day.

Oh, and those are always predawn drives, which I love! Little to no traffic to deal with, except for the occasional trucker. To me, the road trips are a big part of my fishing experiences. I can't get enough of Pennsylvania's beauty! I'll do it for as long as the Lord allows.
 
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Nymph-wristed

Nymph-wristed

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Living in the Philly suburbs, all of the wild streams I fish are no less that a bit over an hour away. Most being two or more hours away, so I try to get as much stream time as possible. On a few occasions, I've actually driven 12 hours (round trip) to fish for just 6 or 7 hours, all in the same day.

Oh, and those are always predawn drives, which I love! Little to no traffic to deal with, except for the occasional trucker. To me, the road trips are a big part of my fishing experiences. I can't get enough of Pennsylvania's beauty! I'll do it for as long as the Lord allows.
I def do the State College run a few times a year in one day, even in winter when there may be 4-5 hours of productive fishing, but 6 hours to fish 6 to drive home 6 is bad math even for me! I respect it, however....
 
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dryflyguy

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To the OP:

You're fortunate to live close to streams that stay cold enough to fish all summer.
If trout are what you really like to seek - do it!

I'm a trout snob too.
But have to drive at least an hour for headwater fishing.
And about 2 hours for cold tailwater fishing.

But yeah, the time spent driving to a stream needs to be weighed against how long you can actually fish
Especially with the price of gas now.

Being retired, making the trip more worthwhile has certainly become easier for me though!
 
McSneek

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I'm an avid fisherman with a family and three little ones so my time to fish is pretty limited. With that said, I am very fortunate live in an area where I have a lot fishing close to home. In fact it's overwhelming if you include warm water fishing in the mix. Am I limiting my self too much if I focus strictly on trout fishing my local streams, ignoring warm water fishing and for most part the big destination streams? I live in Carlisle, and have about 10 good trout streams within 30 min away, plus a few that I'm willing to drive an hour to fish. One guideline that I've used to maximize time is to limit my drive to 1/6th of the total time I have to go fishing. In other words If I have 3 hours to go fishing, my fishing spot needs to be within 30 min away. If I have 2 hours, I’ll stay within 20 minutes away. Curious, if you think this is good approach, or if this sounds a little too crazy. If you ask my wife I certainty am a little crazy when it comes to fishing!
I live in Lancaster County and will drive to Carlisle to fish a certain warm water stream in the summer months. If I lived in Carlisle I would be somewhere on that stream all the time.
 
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poopdeck

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I think maximizing your family time with your three little ones trumps everything especially fishing. I’ve fished my entire life. When I had kids and it turned out they didn’t care for fishing I all but stopped fishing myself to spend every minute I could doing what one or both or everybody else wanted to do. as they got older my fishing time increased And it was largely five minutes from my house in a WW creek/river. Trout don’t thrill me so fishing WW wasn’t a loss. both of my kids are widely successful and have been out of the house for years. I can fish anytime I want now, and I do. Personally, I can’t understand the want to go fishing over Spending every minute possible with or for the family. The old adage that the days are long but the years are short apply to this stage of your life. Just remember you are in the good old days of your life right now so be sure you are doing the things that will become fond memories. Nobody, including you, is going to care about the 20” brown trout you caught 25 years ago but your kids will make you proud every day of your life.
 
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troutbert

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I don't think about fishing/drive time ratios. Thinking about ratios sounds like work.

But regarding the larger question, learning the fishing spots close to home, whether they be trout streams or warmwater places, fishing and enjoying them, is a very good approach.

Also, learning, the public land places nearby where you can go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors, see birds, wildlife, vegetation, pick rasberries, etc. is good.

With limited time, it's much easier to do a walk outdoors than to go fishing. Even if you have just one hour, or even less, you can just park the vehicle, go for a walk, then leave. With fishing, there is more logistics involved. And these walks may also be something your family would enjoy.
 
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jgish92

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Living in the Philly suburbs, all of the wild streams I fish are no less that a bit over an hour away. Most being two or more hours away, so I try to get as much stream time as possible. On a few occasions, I've actually driven 12 hours (round trip) to fish for just 6 or 7 hours, all in the same day.

Oh, and those are always predawn drives, which I love! Little to no traffic to deal with, except for the occasional trucker. To me, the road trips are a big part of my fishing experiences. I can't get enough of Pennsylvania's beauty! I'll do it for as long as the Lord allows.
Concur with this. I live in Philly suburbs and on weeknights after work I'll hit the local stocked streams. On weekends I'll make the early morning run north, west, or northwest for better water. Love the sunrise drive with a cup of coffee and a podcast. It's a feature, not a bug.
 
Fishnmusicn

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I'm in the Philly suburbs as well. I don't have to drive too far to get into some decent fishing for trout or smallmouth bass. I do have to learn however, to shorten the time that I fish having a bad back. I'll still go 6 or 7 hours sometimes and it's just too much. Breaking old habits is tough, and thinking you can fish as long as you can when you were younger is a mistake. I'm learning to cut the time segments down, and bringing just what I need rather than too much will help. Just walking in nature was mentioned. I bought a good bridge camera with a long zoom last year and I've been taking photos of birds, and it's just as rewarding as fishing with more immediate results most of the time. In a way I'm transitioning over but fishing will still have it's place. The bird thing is much easier physically and a lot less in the way of preparation.
 
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Matt_Geiman

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I think maximizing your family time with your three little ones trumps everything especially fishing. I’ve fished my entire life. When I had kids and it turned out they didn’t care for fishing I all but stopped fishing myself to spend every minute I could doing what one or both or everybody else wanted to do. as they got older my fishing time increased And it was largely five minutes from my house in a WW creek/river. Trout don’t thrill me so fishing WW wasn’t a loss. both of my kids are widely successful and have been out of the house for years. I can fish anytime I want now, and I do. Personally, I can’t understand the want to go fishing over Spending every minute possible with or for the family. The old adage that the days are long but the years are short apply to this stage of your life. Just remember you are in the good old days of your life right now so be sure you are doing the things that will become fond memories. Nobody, including you, is going to care about the 20” brown trout you caught 25 years ago but your kids will make you proud every day of your life.
Sage advise that cannot be overstated. Thank you.
 
DomR

DomR

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I'm an avid fisherman with a family and three little ones so my time to fish is pretty limited. With that said, I am very fortunate live in an area where I have a lot fishing close to home. In fact it's overwhelming if you include warm water fishing in the mix. Am I limiting my self too much if I focus strictly on trout fishing my local streams, ignoring warm water fishing and for most part the big destination streams? I live in Carlisle, and have about 10 good trout streams within 30 min away, plus a few that I'm willing to drive an hour to fish. One guideline that I've used to maximize time is to limit my drive to 1/6th of the total time I have to go fishing. In other words If I have 3 hours to go fishing, my fishing spot needs to be within 30 min away. If I have 2 hours, I’ll stay within 20 minutes away. Curious, if you think this is good approach, or if this sounds a little too crazy. If you ask my wife I certainty am a little crazy when it comes to fishing!
I hear you. I ran by the same sort of rules of thumb from the time my kids were born until recently when they moved off to college. Gets even worse if they play sports through the seasons as mine did, add in coaching as well! Wouldn't have traded it for any amount of spectacular fishing either.

Thank goodness I was in an area where it's less than a hour to the Poconos and within 10-15 minutes for me to get to some of NJ's middling to better streams (even some wild brown streams). Otherwise I'd have moved closer to where that situation existed, oh wait, I did :)
 
Bamboozle

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It may sound like sacrilege to some but there is always a couple of Tenkara rods and an UL spinning rod in the back of my SUV.

With either I can be fishing in a minute or two and for that reason, I’ll go fishing for as little as 30 minutes if the opportunity presents itself.

In my life, a willingness to fish for less time means more time for fishing…
 
Jay_H

Jay_H

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I think maximizing your family time with your three little ones trumps everything especially fishing. I’ve fished my entire life. When I had kids and it turned out they didn’t care for fishing I all but stopped fishing myself to spend every minute I could doing what one or both or everybody else wanted to do. as they got older my fishing time increased And it was largely five minutes from my house in a WW creek/river. Trout don’t thrill me so fishing WW wasn’t a loss. both of my kids are widely successful and have been out of the house for years. I can fish anytime I want now, and I do. Personally, I can’t understand the want to go fishing over Spending every minute possible with or for the family. The old adage that the days are long but the years are short apply to this stage of your life. Just remember you are in the good old days of your life right now so be sure you are doing the things that will become fond memories. Nobody, including you, is going to care about the 20” brown trout you caught 25 years ago but your kids will make you proud every day of your life.
I agree wholeheartedly with the above. You will never get the time back with your kids (especially when they are young and still think Dad is cool). Also I do think it’s important to carve out a small amount of time to get some of your time in doing the things you love (be it fishing or anything else).
 
Prospector

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I'm assuming every family’s routine leaves some windows to sneak away. Just plan carefully and be disciplined and leave when the clock strikes. We usually didn’t have much going on Saturday mornings (I didn’t not have a soccer player).

Leave home before daylight, be on the water at first light and leave so you can be home about the time everyone rolls out of bed or maybe 1/2 hour later.

We had fall activities (basketball) on Saturday mornings. Luckily I have a 1 acre woodlot as part of my property, not ideal for archery but I’d sit in a tree for 30-60 minutes and watch sub legal bucks walk by. One Saturday I got a legal one before basketball. I have fond memories of that buck and the others I saw in those days when the “other obligations” were more important in my life. As others have said prioritize the kids first and you won’t regret anything.
 
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