Late spring’s shallow multi-species fishing action
With the water temps struggling to stay above 50 degrees, we set out to find a shallow bay with some wood. There wasn’t a piece of greenery showing in the water yet, so we found few structure options.
Almost as soon as we idled in and tossed out our bait, we found perch. We caught almost all males, but the fact that they were there and biting was good enough for us. As the morning gave way to midday, the water temps climbed a few more degrees and the perch turned into crappies – good ones.
Among the slabs were a few sunfish, pale from having spent the winter in deep water. We also landed a few pike and lost a solid largemouth, all in just a few hours.
As the afternoon came and went so did most of the fish. This isn’t uncommon in the spring when the water temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit during just one sunny midday session. As we headed back to load the boat, I realized our best lesson was to get shallow with a variety of baits and work every piece of wooded structure well.
It was also clear that one pass on the good structure wasn’t enough because there were times where it seemed a new wave of fish had moved in when just an hour before they simply weren’t there. I don’t know if that’s the case or if they weren’t biting, but every pass was like a new opportunity to catch fish. Caveat: as long as we kept a low profile and didn’t make too much noise.
If you’re in the mood for some multi-species action, this is a good time of year to get shallow and be stealthy. We caught fish on waxworms, nightcrawlers, small leeches and, of course, minnows. But the key was to make fairly long casts and try not to disturb the fish holding on the limited cover.
That rule will hold true as the lilypads start popping and the fish have more vertical cover, but right now it’s a must. Bottom line is be patient, and if you’re not having luck early or late, get out there right in the middle of the day when the water temp is peaking. It’s not supposed to be as good at noon as 6 a.m., but the fish don’t know that.