Probably the oldest symbol of fishing is the barefoot little boy walking along with a cane pole and a can of worms. Many modern anglers are beginning to find that enjoyment again. No they are not barefoot, but they are hiking and fishing.
The large tracts of land in public areas contain small ponds and streams with fish populations available to hiking anglers. State parks and national forests are another area where such opportunities exist.
Early summer is a good time to hike in the woods. The days are warm and the nights cool. The insects can be a problem. Fishing can be good all year around.
Often there are a number of marked trails in the woods as well as miles of gravel and blacktop roads. Some of the marked trails lead to or near fishing areas. More detailed descriptions of trials and fishing areas are usually available locally from highway departments as well as local fish and game officials. Local county highway departments often have maps available for a few dollars.
Most trials in national forests are easy to moderate in difficulty. Hiking is not a strenuous activity if one takes a few precautions and is in moderately good physical shape. Most trails will pass through valleys and level terrain with hills and ridge tops. This is not to say that there is not rough terrain to be seen, on that the trails are not rough.
Due in part to fiscal considerations, some trails could be better marked. That would be a good project for a conservation or church group to consider.
Still with a map and common sense, the hiker/angler can find some excellent wilderness fishing.
Assuming that the angler has by this point selected a place to hike and fish, it is time to consider the gear they plan to use. One of the first considerations is the feet. Hiking boots are a good idea, and there are a number of very fine ones on the market at moderate prices. They should be well broken‑in before hiking. This can be done by wearing them for everyday wear. A number of short hikes around the neighborhood will help break them in as well as increase your own stamina.
Other clothing should include cotton or acrylic stockings and loose clothing. Long pants and sleeves are recommended to prevent insect bites and scratches from the vegetation. A wide-brimmed hat is preferred by many.
Insect repellent is recommended during those months when the mosquitoes and ticks are a problem. A pocket sized first aid kit or at least a couple of Band-Aids are a good idea.
As for fishing tackle, I recommend the lighter the better. A small backpacking rod and reel is a very good idea. There are a number of them on the market. Most are spinning rod and reel set‑ups of the ultra light type. They do not take up much room in a day pack and are made for just such a purpose.
Usually, a line of two‑ to six‑pound test is desired. Heavier line does not work well for casting from these rods. Small plastic tackle boxes (4X6 inches) are ideal for holding terminal tackle. They have small compartment to hold jigs and small crankbaits as well as floats, hooks and sinkers. Live bait is a bit of a problem to carry while hiking, so one would be better off with plastic lures.
One rig that seems to work well wherever one travels is a white curlytail jig. A few leadhead jigs and a bunch of white curlytails will last a hiker a long time. Fish the jig in a slow presentation. If it is retrieved so slowly that the curlytail barely has motion to it, the results can be good.
Some water or soda, and snacks round out the equipment needed to enjoy fishing and hiking in the woods.
Hiking and fishing have both traveled a long way since the days of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. But, one can still enjoy this pastime wherever they live.