Fishing Report: Strange time to be fishing from boats

By George Langley

NORTHERN WISCONSIN – What a strange time to be putting together a fishing report. According to the calendar, we should be talking about the two-plus feet of ice on the lakes. Instead, we’re talking about open water and chasing panfish in a boat.

We had quite a few people through the store this week who were headed out by boat, both on the Chain and other bodies of water that were mostly ice-free. We’re also seeing people headed to the river and dams to fish from the shore.

This week we’re being thrust back into winter – except without the snow. Predicted temps look pretty normal for this time of the year, with highs in the 20s and 30s and lows in the single digits and teens. We’d be making ice if it weren’t for the sun being so much stronger than it was a month ago.

We expect panfish to be in their “normal” spring patterns right now – well, at least what is normal for April rather than March. Fish them as if you were going out on open water for the first time in late April.

People usually think perch fishing right after the ice goes out. Look for the warmest spots on the lake, which tend to be shallow bays that get good sun. They will stage in six to eight feet and move right into a foot or two of water when temps get right for spawning, often near wood.

On our smaller lakes, look for green weeds if you can find them. As the sun hits the treetops in the evening, the fish will be pretty shallow, feeding very actively. Minnows and/or small flashy jigs should work well, but crawlers or worms under a bobber make for a nice evening on the dock, too.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say! Keep hoping for some rain, and if you haven’t already, get your rods and reels out and ready for an interesting spring.

Good luck and good fishin’!

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