Open Water Fishing

February 10, 2011 by  


by Bob Jensen

Winter arrived in the Midwest early this year and has hung on pretty aggressively. Everything has looked clean and white for a good number of weeks, but now it’s time to move on. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still lots of ice-fishing to do. In fact, many veteran ice-anglers will say the best ice-fishing of the year is still to come. For now though, I’m going to think about open water fishing.

Spring Fishing

Spring Fishing Open Water

I’m going to think about the first trip of the year. It will most likely be either a crappie trip or a river walleye trip. Both are fun and can be very productive.

If it’s a river walleye trip, we’ll probably have jigs on the end of our line, and those will more-than-likely be Fire-Ball jigs. Fire-ball jigs are great live-bait jigs, and often minnows will be what the walleyes prefer early in the year.

More and more though, we’re using soft bait like Gulp! Alive on our jigs. Early in the year, tie a Whistler jig onto your line and tip it with a three inch Gulp! Alive Minnow. Fish it into the current, and hold it stationary if you can. The Whistler has a small propeller on it, and that propeller will spin in the current. The propeller gets the walleye’s attention, and the smell and taste of the Gulp! seals the deal.

If I start the spring fishing season with a crappie trip, it will probably take place in a small bay on the north side of a lake. These areas usually heat up first, and the warm water attracts crappies. We’ll probably be using a small jig under a slip-bobber. We’ll fish it around docks and boat lifts and brush. Watching a bobber go under is a great way to fish, and it’s productive too.

I’m really looking forward to chasing bass again. The Midwest has so many outstanding bass fishing opportunities. Depending on where you live, you can fish for bass as soon as the ice goes out, or in other areas, you’ve got to wait for the season to open.

If you’re fishing a region that doesn’t protect the bass, a Power Tube rigged weedless with a Sling-Shot Worm Weight will be good. Fish it in deeper water, but near the areas where the bass will be spawning.
If the area you’re fishing has a season on bass, the water will probably be warmer when season opens, so a faster presentation will be good. Spinnerbaits, topwaters, and jerkbaits will all produce. The jerkbait can also be very good in cooler water. It’s fun and exciting to watch a largemouth or smallmouth bass attack a topwater bait.

I will also try to spend more time on lakes that have a slot limit on walleyes and pike. I’ll also try to spend more time on lakes that have high minimum length limits for bass and muskies. These progressive regulations just make the fishing so much better. The fishing across the entire Midwest is, for the most part, getting better all the time. I’m anxious to get out again and take advantage of that outstanding spring fishing.


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