Barbs and Backlashes

The Blog Kickoff by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
March 25, 2009, 10:12 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , ,

Don’t you just love spring? Warm breezes blowing, migrating waterfowl, turkeys gobbling, and everybody is chomping at the bit to get out and do some fishing. AND THEN WE GET 50 MPH NORTH WINDS, COLD GRAY SKIES, AND BLIZZARD CONDITIONS!!! Ah, life on the Great Plains. The problem is we cannot wait to start fishing this time of year, but just as soon as we start catching a few fish, our schizophrenic weather shuts ‘em down. So here are some reports and some ideas on how to remedy some of that spring fishing fever.

Trout: My first thought with cold water temps is to target cold-water species. Two Rivers Trout Lake opened a little over a week ago and anglers have been doing very well there. Additional stockings of catchable-size rainbow trout will occur on a number of parks and urban waters around the state late this week.  Those put-and-take trout have been raised in a hatchery all of their lives; after they are stocked, they like to roam around looking for food. Fishing along drop-offs or on points or corners that tend to concentrate roaming fish is a good idea. Those fish will eat a variety of baits, so do not be afraid to experiment; PowerBait, Gulp!, nightcrawlers, corn, small spoons and spinners, and a variety of flies will all catch fish.

We also have some excellent year-round, cold-water trout fisheries in the state; early spring would be my favorite time to fish those waters. If you have not seen Trout Fishing in Nebraska’s Streams, drop me an e-mail and I will put a couple copies in the mail for you. That booklet highlights the cold-water trout fisheries across the state, has maps of those streams and the stretches that hold fish, directions and descriptions of the fishing. Right now a variety of small nymphs will catch fish from those waters, or if you wish, you can float some ‘crawlers or toss spinners or crankbaits and catch those trout. Keep your eyes open on a warm afternoon as you might even see some insect hatches (likely midges or small mayflies) and some surface feeding activity.

Crappie: I have been hearing some reports of crappies being caught on some waters. The best days have been warm days. The cold weather we have right now will push those fish back toward deeper water and make them harder to catch. A small minnow and a bobber almost always work for crappies. A variety of small jigs will work, too; one tip to keep in mind: floats or bobbers work well with jigs too. Look for the crappies in protected areas, bays, coves, channels, areas where the water might warm up a few degrees on a sunny afternoon. Some woody cover in those areas will be crappie magnets. After cold spells, those fish will slip into deeper water nearby and if you can find a brush pile in deeper water, it will likely be holding a bunch of crappies.

Bass: I have seen some pictures of BIG largemouth bass caught recently. Early spring is one of the prime times to catch big bass. Pits and ponds would be some of the best waters to target and warming weather/warm afternoons would be the times you would be most likely to find some of those hawgs soaking up some sun and looking for a meal. With some more warm weather, the bass in larger bodies of water will also become more active. Slow-rolling spinnerbaits, jigs-and-trailers (i.e. jig-and-pig) or neutrally buoyant crankbaits would be good bets for catching your biggest bass of the year right now.

Channel Cat: I have been hearing some reports of channel cats as well. For a warm-water fish, we have surprisingly good early spring fishing for channel cats. On our reservoirs, those fish are feeding on baitfish that perished during the winter. Look for them along windswept shorelines where those dead baitfish are piled up by wind and wave action. On a warm afternoon with a south wind you might find those cats in relatively shallow water so do not fish too deep. Shad sides are hard to beat this time of year. If you see some dead baitfish along the shoreline, those will work too!

Walleye: A few reports are trickling in of some walleyes being caught around the state. This early, the flowing waters — Missouri River above and below Lewis & Clark Reservoir and the Tri-County canal system — would be some of the best bets, and on those waters an angler will likely catch some sauger as well. Jigs and minnows are the traditional favorite for that fishing, but a jig and plastic body of some type or jig and Gulp! or jig and Gulp Alive! minnow should scratch some fish too. Some male walleyes are beginning to show up on spawning habitats on reservoirs across the state.

In most cases, the majority of walleye spawning activity occurs on the rock or soil cement dam faces. As those fish near spawning, they will have things other than feeding on their minds, but with all the adult walleyes concentrated in those areas a few fish can be caught. Most of the early spring walleyes caught by anglers will be males but occasionally a big female will be caught. Keep some of those male walleyes for a meal of fresh fish, along as they are legal-size; take a picture and release those big females. Right now some jigs or minnows might catch some pre-spawn walleyes that still have some interest in feeding.

I realize I have not mentioned many specific waters in this “fishing report.” If you have not seen it already, you can see a 2009 Fishing Forecast. That forecast will give you an excellent idea of some of the best waters in the state this year for a variety of species. If you are looking for some up-to-date reports for specific waters, I would suggest there are several sites located on the Internet where you can network and obtain that information.

If you have not already noticed I tend to ramble and these blog posts may be longer than you expected. I hope they are helpful anyway and if you have questions or topics, be sure to  e-mail me!


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

nice post 🙂

Comment by mark roselle

Great post and looking forward to many more. Glad you took the leap to blogging.


Comment by huntingne

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