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Keeping a Seasonal Calendar
written by Tom Claycomb

Life can get so hectic that we sometimes forget the outdoor season that's upon us. Take time to write out a calendar so you aren't left out.
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If you're smart, you ought to keep a calendar of your yearly events. Outdoor events are seasonal. Crappie spawn close to the same time every year. Elk start bugling somewhere around a two to three week time period every year, and so it goes. Mark on your calendar what happens when or you may be late.

A lot of fishing isn't too terribly tough if you're in the right spot at the right time. (Somewhat a simplified statement.) I have a spot that I love hitting during the spring stonefly hatch. It's awesome. I'll net up to 19-inch fish and have broken off 24-inch rainbows, but between turkey and bear hunting, I'm usually late getting there.

Keeping a Calendar

Take time to write out a list of season times, that way you won't miss out.

Since wildlife doesn't operate on an exact schedule, you need to be there a week ahead of time checking them out. That way you're there during that magical time period, which makes it all worth it. So that's why I recommend planning your year.

You have to plan every minute or the year escapes and you will wonder where it went.

Don't you know that it would have been awesome to have seen salmon coming up our rivers like the Indians did? So thick that you could walk across their backs. Or to have seen the passenger pigeons so thick that they darkened out the sun. These things came seasonally and were a big part of the food chain. We may not be able to see these sights to the extent that they did but we still have seasonal migrations and movements. The sooner you pay attention to these trends, the sooner you will be successful in hunting and fishing.

It has been said that there is a time and a season for everything. This is especially true and relevant in the world of hunting and fishing. You cannot just wake up and decide that you want to catch a salmon or go pick mushrooms. You must do things in their season.

So one thing is for sure, if an event is in season, you must be there at that specific time. If you weren't there, they started and finished without you. Wherever you live, you must learn the seasons for your locale. Idaho is blessed with so much to do that it is borderline if you can justify wasting time holding a job. If you are not getting outdoors as we speak, you are either brain dead or need jump-started.

Let's discuss what motivates different species of animals/fish. When the water temps rise to a magic number, walleye move in and start spawning. Prior to that, they're laying out deep in a holding pattern waiting. The temp rises and they come in and spawn. Crappie come in at a certain temp and spawn in droves. This is the time that most people catch 99 percent of their crappie. When it starts cooling down in September, the elk will start bugling. 

So if you don't stay on top of things and keep a journal or a log you're likely to miss an important outdoor event.

Here are a few things I'd be putting on the calendar:

January

  1. If you want to run up to Wyoming antelope hunting, you better put in for a tag now or you can wait and just get some leftover doe tags later.
  2. Varmint Hunting. Nothing's more fun than to call in a coyote, especially if two or three come in at once.
  3. Cougar hunting
  4. Ice fishing. You can still eat fresh fish.

Februaury

  1. Continue varmint hunting
  2. Ice Fishing
  3. Snowmobiling

March

Do the honey-do-list for the year. Tell her it's now or never!

April

  1. Turkey hunting
  2. Crappie will be spawning now. They're an easy fish to catch and great eating.
  3. Morel mushroom hunting. They're popping out in Nebraska and Iowa and will be next month in the mountain states.
  4. Bear Hunting

May

  • Walleye fishing. There's no better eating fish than a walleye.
  • Take the kids out plinking to get them interested in hunting.
  • Bear hunting
  • Mushroom hunting

June

  1. Stonefly fishing should be good by now.
  2. Catfishing
  3. Pick huckleberries

July

  1. The mountains are starting to thaw. Grab your fly rod and backpack and hit the hills.
  2. Flyfishing in general will be good by now.
  3. It's hot on the plains. It's time to head to the mountains on a camping trip to cool off.
  4. Start backpacking into the high country on flyfishing trips.

August

  1. By now the rivers will be fishable in the high country. The snow melt has slowed down and there are some good holes.
  2. You better hurry and get your camping fix in. School's around the corner.
  3. Be hitting the backpacking hard.

September

  1. Oh no, what if you forgot to put in for your blackpowder special draw earlier in the year? That's what I mean, you need to start planning in January and put in for all of your draws. Don't forget to put in for the special draws, whether it be elk, deer, bear, bighorn or moose earlier in the year. You need to put in for draw hunts because usually those units hold trophy game and more game in general.
  2. Dove hunting. If you live up north many times if a cold snap hits they're gone. You have to hit them fast.
  3. Bow hunts. This is a special time of the year with the elk bugling.
  4. If you put in for an early fall bear hunt in Colorado, you're up!
  5. While everyone is thinking hunting, you can pull a fast one on them and go fly fishing in the high country. The rivers have shrunk and fish are congregated in the holes.
  6. Antelope hunting
  7. Go up and look at the aspens changing their colors. It's awesome.
  8. Grouse hunting.
  9. Hit the high mountain lakes.

October

Ok, we're getting into the time of year that Colorado is known for from coast to coast – big game hunting. Colorado is known as the best elk state in the country. Idaho, Wyoming and Montana have been overrun by wolves so if you want an elk, you better hit Colorado fast before they get established there as well.

November

  1. Big game season continues.
  2. Whoa, what about waterfowl hunting. Did we about miss that?

December

  1. Well, the year is winding down. Need to get all the guns cleaned before you store them and the same goes for your toys. You need to winterize your boat and put gas stabilizer in your fourwheeler, chainsaw and lawn mower. Ethanol that they put in gas plugs up all the jets if left in your toys over the winter.
  2. Go out as a family and cut your own Christmas tree. Afterwards, build a fire and heat up some hot chocolate.
  3. And now the highlight of the year, Christmas is now here.

You see what I mean though? It's easy to let a season slip up on you, so for these reasons I recommend listing out what you want to do on a calendar. It's not to restrict you, it's just so you can maximize your outdoor activities. My wife thinks that I'm too busy. I think she needs more caffeine!
 

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