So as we venture out in the early parts of the spring, a common question is, what should I be using for bait? If you read last weeks blog, you'll remember that there are some areas that may begin producing a higher level of forage opportunities than others. Those areas however, do not reflect the overall activity level of the lake as far as forage is concerned. Let's look at a few facts that may help in your choices of baits at this time. First, keep in mind that most crawfish don't leave there hidey holes until water temps reach about 45 degrees. OK, yes, I have seen craw activity at lower temps, but I did say MOST! Also keep in mind that most surviving bait fish are now at least 6 to 7 months old. This may be why crankbaits, jerkbaits, and dropshot minnow baits work so well now. I have also seen multi species days on swimbaits this time of year. Swimbaits for walleye? Yup, sculpin, perch, rainbow, even simple baitfish pattern baits fished at the right depth can produce big eye's right now. Bass and big rainbow often have a hard time refusing a swimbait also. With the wide aray of profiles and wieghting options available, baitfish style soft baits are an under utilized option. Don't forget that in many lakes, trout and/or kokanee are often released now and that is akin to unlocking the slaughter house for hungry preditors. What about Crawfish? Well never say never, but, the most common Signal craw is most active at 45 degrees plus, and generally don't spawn till the temps approach 50 degrees. The invasive Red Rusty often dont spawn until late August or September. Again, I have seen craw activity at much lower temps, but the odds of a pattern based on craw baits is a low percentage until things warm up a bit. So why do fish hit craw baits at all this time of year? Maybe it's just reflex, maybe it's because we fish craw baits slowly enough to make it an easy target, or maybe a high protein craw is just to valuable to pass up. Trust me, I don't have that answer locked down.
As for fishing, last weekend saw a lot of boats on the water. Banks gave up good numbers of eye's, with a few double digit fish released. Most came on bouncers and spinners with blade baits a close second. The NW Bass guys here practicing don't often share much, but the crank, jerk, rattle bait patterns are producing fair number of fish into the 3 lb plus range. I'm guessing about 20lbs to win this event, we will see if I'm close. Rainbow are still shallow (10ft) and many are deep into the spawn. No shallow movement on crappie yet, but that does not surprise.
Roosevelt Walleye are in the rivers or staged nearby. Cranks, jigs, and dropshots all are producing fish. Hope someone tries the swimbait thing up there. Rainbow still biting well, but it is slowing a bit, kokanee still hard to come by, although nice heavy fish when found. Smallmouth should be breaking out and looking for an easy meal, try deep jerks fished sloooow, dropshots and jigs.
Rufas still turning out some eye's, but the fish are very mobile now, cover water. Blades doing well when the fish are active, spinners good for covering water. Triploids slow, but some native trout and even a few browns have shown up in the last week.
Ok then, we will continue our look at early season changes later this week, get out and have fun, the forecast is for warm weather, and that my friends is a very good thing!!! Just a few truths and tails from Lou at Playland, tight lines!!
Hey guys, just an update, crawdad pots pulled yesterday showed several signal craw females in berry (ripe with eggs). I was going to wait a week to talk more about forage, but this proves the fact that average temp. predictions regarding activity are not always accurate. These craws probably spawed last fall and carried thier eggs thru the winter. I will address that theroy in later blogs. Tight lines guys! Lou