To me, it seems like this has been one long winter and unfortunately, there’s a lot of it left! It hasn’t been overly cold, but the wind has been blowing a lot. I like winter to a point, for ice fishing and predator calling, but each year, it seems like I like winter less.
When the weather has been decent, anglers have been on the water below the Missouri River dams hard.
Like any other area we fish, the more boats you have out, the better your chances are that someone will locate a concentration of fish. Once people hear that fish are being caught, there are going to be numerous boats on the water during the nice days.
The majority of the walleyes, sauger and bass caught during the early spring are probably going to be those smaller aggressive males.
Catching small fish isn’t all-bad because those smaller fish are a good sign for the fishing in the future, indicating that previous spawns were successful and at least there’s something jerking on the line.
It won’t be long before these smaller fish will be legal size and the fishing down the road should be good.
The walleyes that they’re catching below the dams now are fish, which started their movement upstream last fall and wintered over below the dam in preparation for this spring’s spawn.
The larger females will be the last to come up and they’ll set up in the deeper water, waiting for water temperatures to warm up enough for the spawning to begin.
The walleye & sauger begin spawning when water temperatures hit around 48 degrees, which, during most years is around the first part of May.
However, who knows, with the temperatures changing the way they do, it could happen earlier than that!
You’ll find that the smaller males will bite throughout the spawning period, as they are traveling around looking for receptive females and will exert more energy than the females that are in a holding pattern.
Fishing for the females can be slow up to, through the spawn, and as much as two weeks after the spawn, as the spawn is harder on the females and they will require more time to recuperate.
After recuperating, the females will go on a feeding binge, as the spawning ritual has taken a lot out of them. This feeding binge, where they’ll feed heavily could last as long as a month.
After the spawn, with water temperatures warming, all fish will become more active and begin to feed heavily.
As the water warms, you’ll find the walleyes prowling the shallower water looking for their next meal, generally cruising in 15 foot of water or less.
Remember just because the walleyes are on the bite, doesn’t mean they’ll be dashing and darting here and there grabbing everything in sight.
Walleyes like all fish are cold blooded and their metabolism is directly related to the water temperature, so they’ll still be in their slow mode until summer temperatures arrive. [Read more…]