Popular opinion restricts road trips to warmer months. From May to September, packing a vehicle and pointing it toward a general direction—say the sunrise, or perhaps sunset—constitutes not just acceptable behavior, but an expected, ingrained cultural ritual.
Pure joy; absolute freedom; a limitless horizon unsullied by the constraints of time, reality, failed knots, and blown casts—setting out on a road trip, especially a fishing road trip, serves up one of life’s most intoxicating emotional cocktails. Why confine that experience to the summer months?
Okay, sure, some seasonal considerations warrant scrutiny: Deep February excursions in the far north can be miserable, not to mention potentially hazardous, and many fisheries have seasonal closures. Winter options are more limited, though fishy jaunts remain possible. You could rally to Nevada and fish Pyramid Lake.
Campgrounds that, two months ago, swelled with overstuffed motorhomes, sprawling packs of feral children, and insta-fluencers looking to capitalize on the perfect backdrops of nature, are now relatively quiet. You don’t have to fall asleep to the harmonizing hum of generators, or worry about skipping out before dawn to avoid the wrath of the golf-cart bound campground host who’s pissed at you for crashing in the day-use area when all the designated spots were full. Not that we’ve ever done that.
Roads are also far less crowded this time of year, and gas prices at least nominally lower. Best of all—the drop in angling pressure. You can use deciduous trees as a crowd barometer for most rivers, streams, and lakes. As the leaves thin, so do the people harassing the fish. We have no problem with legal and ethical fish harassment, by the way, we just prefer to be the only ones doing so at any given time. When the maple branches cling to a few fingered stragglers at the put-in, you can expect an equally bare parking lot.
So, here’s our suggestion: Let’s liberate road trips. The glampers and van lifers of the world can have the summer road trip. We’re more than happy to claim fall as our season of nomadic seeking. We’re not after the perfect summer photo, the best county fair, or forced quality time with the family—at least not right now. We just want the unencumbered freedom of a well-packed truck headed out for a fishing trip. Okay, the dog can come too.