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Make a cast in a new place before summer ends

I'll hold fast and hard to what remains of summer. The days are more than a month into the shortening phase, the Fourth of July is a memory, and we're just a few weeks away from the Aug. 15 early goose opener. Kids are beginning to prepare for fa...

I'll hold fast and hard to what remains of summer.

The days are more than a month into the shortening phase, the Fourth of July is a memory, and we're just a few weeks away from the Aug. 15 early goose opener. Kids are beginning to prepare for fall sports practice.

OK, I'll stop pointing out the indicators that summer is on the short end of the stick and relate that there's still plenty of opportunity to enjoy fishing, boating and anything else that involves soaking up the sun outdoors. For the past few years through late July and early August, I've made a point to make a cast in a place, spot, lake or river I had not previously tried. It's almost like adding a dash of hunting into my fishing, by hunting for a new spot to wet a line and drown a few worms.

At times, I've stopped at a shorefishing spot that I've driven past for years or an out-of-the-way small pond as part of forcing myself outside the routine.

Not that there's anything wrong with faithfulness to particular water. By all means, if you've found a sweet spot that makes you want to return in short order, I'd hate to be the reason you broke the mold.

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But at the same time, even with just short of 300 managed fisheries in North Dakota, the thousands of miles of shoreline provide endless possibilities to expand your fishing horizons. Who knows, maybe you'll find a new spot or experience a day trip that may never be duplicated.

Wandering aimlessly is fine for me. Coming home out of worms and without a fish to fry? I've done that more often than not, and it'll never deter me from heading back out.

Anglers looking for a new spot to catch a fish have several tools at their disposal. Thanks to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Web site, www.gf.nd.gov , anglers can quickly access a roster of the state's fishing lakes, complete with species present, facilities available and directions from the nearest town.

In addition, many lakes are stocked with various fish species and the Web site has a record of previous stockings.

So, from Divide County to Richland and from Bowman County to Pembina, if a lake has fish, anglers can find out what type and how old they might be. If you feel like staying in a particular county, you can find out if other waters are nearby. Think of it like a building your own pizza. You can pick an area, fish species and type of water -- big, small, lake or river -- to try out fishing.

The Web site also has free contour maps of most waters available for printing. These contour maps are offered to anglers as a viable means to preview fishing waters and also scout out possible structure. They also feature board ramps, picnic areas, restroom facilities and fishing piers, which anglers of all walks of life can appreciate.

While some anglers prefer to seek out their own hot spots without using these conveniences, most appreciate these time-savers. Who wants to spend time walking the shoreline to find a bank fishing spot when a quick look at a contour map will point out a nice fishing pier on the other side of the lake?

Summer never seems long enough, and there's an endless list of people and places to visit. While everyone has old standbys that have earned a spot on your list of favorites, remember the next new favorite spot might just few a minutes or clicks of the mouse away.

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Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Department. Reach him at dleier@nd.gov . Read his blog daily at www.areavoices.com/dougleier .

Related Topics: FISHING
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