Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Action on the water’s surface, early in the a.m.

(Photo courtesy of Rapala) Used:

By Steve Carney

Contributing Writer

Weather the past several weeks has been mostly calm and somewhat cloudy in the early morning. Thus, first light is a great time to cruise midlake flats to look for baitfish being fed upon by predator fish. 

On these calm mornings you’ll often find schools of minnows just below the surface. And you’ll also see them jumping and flailing, trying to get away from walleyes, pike, crappies, and bass. Sometimes the minnows will jump a couple of feet in the air in attempting to escape. 

When I see minnows under attack, I’ll stop my boat and fan-cast the immediate area. Almost always you’ll tangle with whatever is feeding on the small minnows. Many times, all you’ll see will be swirls of water, which is an indication that the minnows are being fed upon.  

The best place to look for this activity is on top of the shallowest part of flats, because weeds are often below and the minnows are just above those weeds. It is really exciting to see the action on calm mornings.

There are also times when the minnows are suspended above deeper water. These fish also are being pursued. As an angler, this is somewhat tougher to figure out because the predator fish are below the baitfish, but you don’t know the exact depth. It takes some experimentation to figure it out.

Weed growth is basically out of control this season, and it’s really tough to present a bait and try to stay above the weeds. It takes patience and time on the water to make the necessary adjustments. I see many anglers get frustrated and leave after a few minutes. 

But stick with it! The fish are still weed-oriented at this stage of the summer.

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