As sounds go, the melodic plink of fish line and lure hitting water is one of the most evocative, conjuring up lazy summer days. Fishing is not a sport for the harried or the hurried. To be on calm water surrounded by nature, solo or with friends or family, is to be held in suspended time, where nothing matters but the moment.

If that’s the kind of fishing you favor, that is.

“Fishing can be as high tech or low tech as you like,” says John Kubisiak, WDNR fisheries biologist. “It’s as easy or difficult as you make it.” Summer fishing is infinitely simpler than ice fishing — less gear, fewer layers of clothing and you can go barefoot. But ice fishing on a crystal clear winter day brings its own exhilaration.

There’s a hierarchy to the complexity of the sport. Pan fish (sunnies, blue gills, crappies, pumpkinseed and perch) call for simple tools and methods. Game fish (smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye) require more savvy and sophisticated gear.

Each type of fishing has its own restrictions, and most anglers 16 and over require a license. For seasons, bag limits and licensing, visit