Best part of a new season of open water fishing are the fresh bank of stories people share. Everyone, or just about everyone, seems to be catching something….suckers to big sturgeon, panfish to walleyes.
In advance of Wisconsin’s general season opener on Mother’s Day weekend, in between rainstorms and brief cold fronts panfishers got rolling on many smaller lakes where bays warmed up quickly and bluegills and crappies made their early spawning move. Waves of panfish will continue to school in and out of the warm 56-65 degree shallows as long as cold rains and frigid evenings interrupt the warming trend.
As for walleyes, they are mostly spawned out now, some finishing 10 days or more ago. In rivers, anglers are catching walleyes that have dropped back from spawning grounds to areas where there’s plenty of slower water and food to eat. That could be around wood or rocks and behind eddy lines. In lakes, that’s just off the 2-5 foot gravelly spawning depths in 12-18 feet of water.
Early spawning northern pike are on the prowl and muskies are about done spawning on many lakes. From various reports, smallmouth bass were banging plastic type jig baits tossed next to rocks and wood creating pockets of slower water on rivers. Some largemouth bass were showing up in bedding areas on faster warming lakes. If the rains subside and waters continue to warm and stabilize, fishing should pick up.
Trout fishers had very good conditions on many streams, although depending on where you stood, some streams might have been a bit high.
As the season progresses, make sure to check the fishing regulations which can change for various species on certain lakes with special size and bag limits.
On travels around the region we’ve been seeing plenty of Canada geese goslings, indicating a good hatch. Plus, we’ve encountered small to fairly large herds of deer working greening grass and farm fields with standing and picked grain crops. Turkey hunters are having good success in Wisconsin, but the early harvest was down almost 30 percent in Minnesota. Watch out for turtles soon to begin crossing roadways as they seek spots to bury their eggs. Early risers these days are treated to a comforting melody of songbirds. Is our SPRING being compressed into a week or two heading into SUMMER? Nature is keeping us guessing!
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This post was written by bkurtenbach on May 9, 2011