Some Other Things to Enjoy While Fishing

Andrew A. Cox


This is an unusual article to find in an angling publication.  This topic deals with the other sights and sounds that may be encountered with the angling experience.  These involve plants and at times animals that you may see during a day’s fishing.  Late March, April, May, and June are ideal months to see flora that may be growing around your favorite fishing waters.

I enjoy fishing area lakes as well as streams and rivers found in the headwaters of these lakes.  Many times during these months, I find myself distracted from fishing by the flowering plants and trees found along these water’s surrounding banks. I have to admit that I have missed strikes and lost fish due to my distractions in viewing surrounding plants and trees.

Many of these plants and trees are native species, some being rare and endangered found only within these watery locations.  Though I have some knowledge of plant and tree names, each year I see species that I am not familiar.  I will take pictures of flowering plants with my cell telephone so that I can consult internet sources or published books to locate the name of a particular plant species.

During the early spring months, the angler can find Piedmont azaleas growing along the shorelines of area waters in both Georgia and Alabama.  These shrubs usually have pink blooms during this time of year; sometimes the angler may see the rarer red Piedmont azalea.  These are beautiful shrubs often overhanging the water in their growth pattern.  Later in the spring season, the angler can view Oakleaf Hydrangeas, a native shrub species with unique shaped leaves and a white bloom.  These are often found in woodlands surrounding the headwaters of area lakes. Various vines with attractive flowers are also found along our waterways during this time of year.  Honeysuckle and Confederate Jasmine vines can be spectacular in their display of colors.  In North Georgia waters, flowering Rhododendron can be viewed.  A variety of flowering wild flowers can also be viewed along the banks of our waterways.

Though I am most struck with native plants and trees, fishing the developed shorelines of lakes can also be spectacular.  During this season, many lakeside homes have outstanding plantings of azaleas, forsythia, flowering almond, and various flowering plants.  I was once fishing Lake Harding on the Georgia/Alabama border and noticed a lakeside home with a waterfront shoreline filled with Ginger Lilies.  Luckily, I was able to locate and return to this home via land and asked the landowner for a small piece of this flowering plant for my own garden.  This small piece from Lake Harding has now expanded in my garden, filled with white blooms each year.  I have also taken cuttings from blooming roses found in lakeside landscapes while fishing a particular shoreline or cove.

Animals also can be seen in this angling setting.  I have viewed multiple animals and their interesting antics in the natural setting over my years of angling.  These include deer, wild hogs, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, as well as many bird species.  In some waters, alligators can be viewed.

Though trying to catch fish is my primary focus in spending time on our lakes, streams, and rivers, viewing nature’s bounty of plants and animals is an added bonus to being outdoors.  Taking in the interplay of nature’s work between the water and surrounding lands makes the angler appreciative of nature’s work and our environment.

Author’s Note: Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers.  He is a member of the Georgia Outdoor Writer’s Association.  Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at