View Full Version : fishing along the trail

02-18-2007, 00:47
does/did anyone hike with fishing gear? i don't mind takign a few zero days to fish. but is it worth the weight? maybe have the gear sent up at points? which points? I have been known to go to some pretty extordinary lengths to fish.......

but I am also carrying some camera gear so I already have extra weight.
ugh. does everyone have to make these tough calls?


02-18-2007, 01:04
I keep bringing up the BMT, but if you should shift over to the BMT at Fontana you will be hiking alongside of or crossing several very good trout streams. Dunno what it's like north of there. The few fishermen I've met along that section of trail looked extraordinarily pleased with themselves.

02-18-2007, 04:15
I know of a number of people in 2000 who were fishing as they hiked. Not while they hiked, mind you. But when they stopped for a period of time. Managed to pull a fair amount of protein out of various water sources. Not enough to count on, but enough to add a certain something to the regular liptony menu.

here's a question -- do you get a license for every state you pass through, or do you just do it on the sny?

Cuppa Joe
02-18-2007, 09:32
Two people I hiked with in '05 both purchased fishing licenses when they hit Virginia and they had a blast fishing their way up the trail. I always thought that it was a pretty cool way to hike ... walk till you find a good stream and cast out the line .. way to go Capt. Patagonia and Freeze Dried :)

02-18-2007, 11:48
Thanks for posting these questions. Always good to hear fresh voices.

That said, they are pretty hard to answer.

If you do a few weekend or week-long backpacks, most of your gear questions answer themselves quickly.

If not, then go ahead and bring whatever you want, as much as you want. It won't kill you, and the first three-four days will give you an idea if you are carrying too much. At the 30-mile mark, you will be at Mountain Crossings, right on the trail. They will ship home anything you don't need - you don't have to leave the trail or scrounge boxes or anything. They will also sell you anything you left behind that you now wish you had.

Bottom line is that no one can tell you if anything is worth the weight to carry it. It depends on what would make your trip more fun for you. I would never in a million years carry fishing gear, but I don't like to fish at home, why would I do it on my hike. On the other hand, I love using a GPS. Most folks would never bring one hiking, saying it isn't worth the weight.

One caveat: you will find people who will tell you not to bring fishing gear, or heavy camera gear, or whatever because either you don't need it or it will ruin your experience. What they mean is that they don't enjoy it and therefore cannot conceive of anyone deriving enjoyment from fishing, GPSing, carrying gourmet cooking gear, electronics, whatever. Ignore them. And ignore me if my advice doesn't fit you.

The only phrase you need to remember is: HYOH, Hike Your Own Hike. If a piece of gear will make your trip more enjoyable, by all means take it along. If and when it stops becoming enjoyable, send it home.

02-18-2007, 11:53
I can't speak for all of the AT, but I can tell you that if you're an avid fisherman you'll kick yourself in the teeth if you don't have tackle in Maine's 100 mile wilderness. Plan for a few extra days through there just fishin' - and bring a fry pan.

Desert Lobster
02-18-2007, 11:53
Waste of time trying to get your rod wet along The Trail.

02-18-2007, 13:11
even if you are not going to stay here.

02-18-2007, 13:42
Hello Jett, I also carry a camera about everywhere I go (because I like to take pictures and keep a record of what Ive seen), but, in my attempts to take fishing gear... I always end up frustrated because it seems you will always need something (ie. different size line, sinker or hook and then the different regulations for inside nat. parks and state regs)...that you dont have. If you come along a good fishing spot, there will be a hostel or bait shop close that can gear you up proper with what you need and your experience will benefit. I would strongly advise against doing it on the "sny".
Dont know about the rest of states up north...but rangers just seem to appear outta no where in TN and NC and they will fine you, seize your gear and ruin your day.

02-18-2007, 15:28
thanks everyone.
jester - i am strictly catch and release, no eating of the fishies for me. and yes, you would need a liscne for each state. mostly they can be bought online and most states offer 3,5,10 or 30 day liscneces.

frosty - great advice. you are right, it is in the end up to me. I do know that with my hike I am giving iup most of my spring fishing and april in shenandoah is KEY trout time. so I might end up with it. test hikes fully loaded and stripped down are in progress.

4eyed - maine is one is one of the places I am lookng forward to fishing.

desert - i woudl probably take side trips or hang out for a day or two. not fish right on the trail

laura - nice page. looks like fun. will probably stop in.

Mantiss - i am a responisble sportsman and ALWAYS have the the right lisence and since I am catch and release i never have problems with slot sizes or limits. thanks for the warning, I have seen rangers actually materilize out of thin air standing on the water asking for my liscne. In VA once i had one call out to me in a canoe and use bino's to read the date on the liscne I held up!

Thanks again for the advice everyone. I am probably going to be teh one on the trail with too many 'luxuries' need the mp3, need the camera, need the fishing rod. too old to go ultra light and super cheap.


02-19-2007, 12:03
I definetly plan to fish on the trial. I think the weight of the gear is worth the meals. Nothing like a nice frish fry! I am not looking forward to the new lisence in every state thing though...

02-20-2007, 00:44
orion, at age 14, you won't need a lisence in many states, not unitl you are 16. and remeber many of the streams in the national parks are catch and relase only. designated wild trout streams.


02-20-2007, 08:25
There are not a lot of opportunities in the mountainous areas. I know there's trout fishing in Damascus, VA. The SNP has some Brook Trout streams but you have to hike some miles to find them. You can fish for Small mouth bass around Harpers Ferry, but dear God whatever you do don't eat a fish out of the Potomac or Shenandoah rivers. PCBs.

02-20-2007, 20:12
orion, at age 14, you won't need a lisence in many states, not unitl you are 16. and remeber many of the streams in the national parks are catch and relase only. designated wild trout streams.


I will be at least 18 when I hike the trail. Do you think any 14 year old can find the time to do a thru hike? Summer brake is only 3 months.. :D

walkin' wally
02-20-2007, 20:27
There are some ponds that you would walk right by in the 100 mile wilderness that are very good fishing. It may take a little time to find the fish but I think it would be worth it. A few have canoes stashed nearby. I can think of some ponds you won't see but are very near the trail and worth trying. Especially in the Rainbow/Pemadumcook area.

Clearwater ponds are better in the early morning or evening after sunset.

Generally in Maine, the harder it is to get into a pond the better the fishing.

If you are into brook and stream fishing the are plenty of opportunities too.


02-20-2007, 22:12
dont carry the extra weight, you will find places that people fish. Just look in the trees and find some line/hook. Tie it to your trekking pole and kick back with some high life. I managed to pull a good size trout out of wataga lake, it was at least 18 or 19 inches. Mule and I caught some more just passed damascus, we had the best luck under the sign that said we needed a permit.

02-20-2007, 22:13
oh... it would probably be worth the weight for a sweet spongebob rod I saw at wallmart

02-20-2007, 22:33
18 or 19 inches?? that might be the turkey talkin....

02-20-2007, 22:35
no way dude you were there, that thing was a monster, probably weighed 4 pounds

02-20-2007, 22:40
almost needed the bang stick

02-21-2007, 14:07
Make sure you are in compliance with the streams regulations. I know in PA there are different stream classifications such as approved trout waters where you can take trout from all year except for the month of March and into the first Saturday on April. Then there are catch and release, delayed harvest, etc etc.... But I'm sure if you are an avid fisherman you probably already know this.

02-21-2007, 18:51
I also like to fish, so when I did my thru I took along some line and a couple of hooks. Most of the time I was to tired, at the end of the day, to fish. I did a couple of times in VA and didn't again until Maine. Camped at West Carry Pond, fished and caught three nice native brook trout. Cooked them for supper.:)

02-21-2007, 20:35
Boiling Springs is a great place to fish.There is an outfiter there that may rent you what you want.I wrap about 50' of line around a soda bottle,tied at the neck,lose end taped to the bottle.In a small bottle or 35mm film can put a few split shot,flys,hooks and 1or2 small spinners.Just tie on whatever,unwrap a few feet and toss it out pointing the bottle bottom where you want it to go;then wrap it back on real slow,or let it set.

02-21-2007, 23:17
thanks everyone. i will probably go with my 4 wt fly set up if i can find a light enough rod holder.


02-22-2007, 00:56
They do more than take your gear in sc. They fine you.... Also someone was kinda bashing the fourteen year old. Some states have a law were a child must be acompanied by an adult who has a fishing license. Also in my state if your camping and have a rod without a license they will fine you even if you wasn't fishing. I plan to run a few lines and take my chances for the extra protien. The fishing line can be used for other things as well. I've never hiked the trail but Ive been camping a lot and I'll usualy Drop a few lines overnight in a few spots and check them in the morning. Usualy will get a little somthing to fry up for breakfest. Also I have no problems swimming to recover a hook....

02-22-2007, 11:07
Boiling Springs is a great place to fish. .

It may be a great place to fish, along with a lot of other places along the trail, but you had better have a fishing licence. The places I fished I was quite isolated where no one was around to inforce the fact that I was fishing without one.
While on a hike I wouldn't want to face a court date and a possiable find for fishing without a license.:-?