WOW what a spring we are having so far! I've said many times in the past that things happen fast in the spring and these last two weeks sure prove this. The fishing in the Cedar Valley this spring has been fantastic. We've had some very unseasonably warm weather and a lack of rain which has raised the water temperature rapidly. This warm weather was not only great for the fisherman but it allowed the Walleyes and Saugers to spawn in stable conditions which should have made for a great spawn.
A friend and I fished the Mississippi River in the Prairie Du Chien area on Saturday April 18th, the weather was great, the water temperature at 7am when we started was in the upper 50's and by 6pm when we quit, the water temperature had made it up to the mid 60's and this made for some awesome bass fishing! The bass were shallow, aggressive and schooled up. Several times throughout the day we both hooked up at the same time and also often caught fish on back to back casts. We fished several back water lakes and only found good numbers of bass in one lake. Most of the fish we caught came from the main channel just outside of shallow back water areas. This tells us that the bass are just moving up in numbers to feed up for the spawn. This early warm water does not mean that the bass and crappie spawn earlier, the eggs still have to develop in the females. But when they are ready the fish will not have to wait for the water temp to reach the minimum for spawning which is often the case in our region.
As I am writing the weather is turning colder and the report says we are headed for a week or so of more typical spring air temperatures. Don't let this discourage you, the fish may not be as shallow and as aggressive as they were at the tail end of this warm snap but they will not go back to their winter mode. Even as the water cools a bit this week the fish will still bite and the water will warm back in to the 60's much quicker now that it has already been there this season.
Not all of the bass spawn at the same time, in case something happens like a major cold front, drastically rising or falling water or anything else that can harm the eggs and or the fry. This is how nature assures that at least some of the young survive. Typically we start to see bedding bass the week before the full moon in May and can continue to see them well into June.
Whenever I mention pre-spawn and spawning fish I like to add that this is when fish are the most vulnerable. Dare I say the "easiest" to catch so please obey all of the limit laws or just practice catch photo and release. Remember that your photo of you and a fish of any size or specie could be worth something, we started a raffle in April and it will continues through July. To enter email a picture of you holding any fish to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes are four $25 gift cards to Hank's Bait and Tackle and a chance to win the grand prize of a tackle box loaded with tackle from Pure Fishing and a day on the Mississippi River with me! Until next time keep your lure wet!