Spring Fishing Suggestions

April 27, 2015 by  

By Bob Jensen


As the days get warmer and longer, more anglers are making it to the lake or river or pond in search of a fish that wants to get caught.  Fish, being the coldblooded creatures that they are, respond to our lure presentations differently depending on the season.  They like their lures big and fast at times and small and slow at other times.  Here are some ideas for fishing in mid-spring, which is right now in many regions.

Spring is the time of year when most fish like their baits small and slow.  Small is relative though.  A small bait to a largemouth bass is still too big for a bluegill or perch or crappie.   As usual, we need to be very aware of the specie of fish that we’re after when selecting our bait.

When walleyes are the quarry before, during, and just after the spawn, much of the time a jig will be good, and that jig will be even better when tipped with a minnow.  A three inch minnow is about right this time of year.  In some lakes fathead minnows will work, but there are lots of places where a shiner minnow will be far more productive.  Do some homework to find out if the walleyes in the body of water you’ll be fishing have a baitfish preference.

100_0612 spring fishing suggestions

The Peterson son/dad team used a slow presentation to take this slab crappie in the spring.

A jig with a short-shanked hook will be better in the spring.  Put the hook in the minnow’s mouth and out the back of the minnow’s head.  Some anglers hook the minnow through the lips, and that works, but usually nowhere near as well.  First of all, if you’re casting or working around vegetation and you’re snapping the jig, lip-hooked minnows get ripped off very easily.  Hook the minnow in the mouth and out the hard part of their head and they’ll stay on much better.

Just as important though, when you hook the minnow on a short-shanked hook in the mouth and out the back of the head, it’s a much smaller presentation, and in the cold water of spring, that smaller presentation will catch more fish most of the time.

Next consideration:  Lure speed.  Slower moving lures will usually be better, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to fish slowly, and that might not make much sense.  Here’s what I mean.

Most fish in the spring want a slower moving bait, but it can take a long time to work an area if you’re moving the bait slowly.  What has worked well for me is to start with, for walleyes for instance, an eighth ounce stand-up Fire-Ball jig.  This jig has the short-shanked hook and stands up at rest so the fish can see the minnow wiggling.  I work each retrieve pretty slow, but I don’t fish an area thoroughly until the fish are located.  Once I catch one, I slow down and work the area hard.  Often, a switch to a sixteenth ounce round-head Fire-Ball will get the fish to bite even better.

The same thing is true if you’re fishing for crappies with a slip-bobber set-up.  Work the bait slowly, but the area quickly until you find the fish, then slow down and really strain the location.

When employing a slow presentation, a light, invisible line is preferred.  Sunline is becoming very popular among anglers who want the best. If walleyes are your interest, six pound test Super FC Sniper is an outstanding fluorocarbon that is as invisible and sensitive as it gets.  If you prefer monofilament, Super Natural in six pound test for walleyes and four pound test for crappies will excel.

If you go fishing in the next two to four weeks, depending on where you live, if you keep the small and slow idea in mind, you’ll increase your odds for catching more fish.

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