Welcome to Spring, or at least for this week anyway. Anglers were taking advantage of above average warmer weather and the early ice out for some panfishing. Reports were very encouraging with catches of perch, crappie and even walleye, which by the way is not in season yet. Next week’s forecast is sending us back into some more normal/below normal weather conditions, so I think we will have a slowdown in angling activity. Surface water temperatures were at 49 degrees, but will cool down over next week.
Shortly after the ice melts on the area lakes, anglers head to the Quiet Lakes for panfishing. Crappie, bluegill and perch are all common in the Quiet Lakes. Look for the shallow warm waters, particularly in the protected bays and fish with small jigs and baits. As spring move on and the open water season begins catch and release bass fishing becomes popular. For the earliest bass action, target the shallow structure laden lakes with stained water and dark bottoms. Walleye having finished their spawn will begin to feed. Your chances of locating walleyes are greatly increased when you keep an eye on weather conditions, water temperature and light conditions. Walleye tend to be shallow in low light periods such as sunrise, sunset and cloudy skies, and move deeper during the day light hours. Target mid-lake humps and deep weedlines. Northern pike will be active along the shorelines and weed edges, especially when the panfish start to spawn. Musky are in their spawn period now and will be cruising the shallow waters, but remember they do not become legal until May 23 here in the northern zone.
We will have an on time opener this year, so get prepared now. Get your license, avoid the rush. Be sure to ask the licensing agent for a copy of the regulations as there are some new changes and still some yet to be approved. Some of the items yet to be approved are walleye limits for the ceded territories and state wide motor trolling. “Lake Specific” regulations will be posted at the public landings and would include such things as bag limits, sizes limits, or other special regulations for that lake so be sure to check before fishing.