Spring Fishing Reports
May 23, 2016
Well we have one week of walleye fishing in the books and it’s starting off great! There are numerous lakes around the Alexandria area kicking out walleye. Opening day was cool and windy, but those that braved the weather were more than rewarded. There were reports of high catch rates of walleye in all sizes. Our group did exceptional well too. We caught and released a large number of walleye ranging from 20”-28” as well as a bunch of eater fish 15”-20”. We did keep enough for a nice meal though! Lindy rigs and 1/4oz jigs tipped with minnows, trolled slow produced most of our fish. We caught fish in 5’-30’ feet of water, but 12’-20’ has been best. Check back next week for the latest report.
May 1, 2016
Well, it’s the first of May and it actually feels like it! We’ve had rather inconsistent weather up until this point and it really hasn’t warmed up for any length of time. That has made crappie fishing the past month much more difficult than it should be. If it was nice and warm for a day or two the crappie would move into the shallows and bite quite well. Then, the next day it would cool down and the fish would move right back out to deeper water. At least now the 10 day forecast appears to be nothing but sun so that should make for perfect crappie catching conditions.If you’re headed out for crappie, look for shallow areas that have a black bottom to them. These areas warm up the fastest and will draw in the bait these fish are after. I prefer to use a small blade/jig combo as shown in the picture below. This helps me cover water quickly and locate active panfish. This lure is normally not the best at catching numbers of fish but once I locate them I switch over to a more subtle presentation like a small jig and a crappie minnow under a float.
With excellent weather being forecasted and the large number of panfish we currently have in the area I predict the fishing will be excellent over the next month! It’s going to be a great time to get the family out on the water to catch some fish. Keep in mind if you don’t have a boat it’s not a problem this time of year. Crappie will be very accessible in many areas right from shore and once walleye fishing opens there is ample opportunity to catch them from shore as well.
In my opinion, walleye opener is going to be one of the best ones we’ve seen for a while. In the past couple years the water has been extremely cold, so fishing was very sporadic and downright slow for most anglers. This year the water is warming up nicely which will make the walleye much more aggressive. I was able to head an hour west of Alexandria this past week to fish for walleye with a good friend on our state’s boarder water. The walleye over there are already biting quite well, so that means the walleye in the Alexandria area should be ready and willing to bite come opener. I will post again shortly after opener to let you know if my predictions were right and what type of areas and techniques produced the most walleye for me. Good luck, and as always if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email, text or call.
Fishing Tip: Light and Crispy Fried Fish
There are many ways to prepare your catch, but deep frying or pan frying are arguably the most popular methods. These methods are rather easy, but the results can vary greatly. We’ve all had the light, crisp yet perfectly moist fillets that make you yearn for more, as well as the heavy saturated fillets that leave much to be desired. Here are a few tips to ensure your next fish fry is a great one.The most important thing in my opinion is to make sure that your oil is hot enough prior to dropping in your battered fish. You can do this by using a thermometer, but I find my desired temperature varies depending on the amount of oil I’m using, so I prefer to use a test fillet. Once you place your fillet in the oil it should start browning in 10-15 seconds and should be fully cooked in just a few minutes. If you drop in the fillet and it barely bubbles then the oil is too cold and if it turns dark in less than a minutes it’s too hot. By having the heat at this optimal temperature your fish will seal itself almost instantly creating a shell that will keep the oil out and the moisture in. After the fillet is cooked I remove it from the oil and lay it on a paper towel to soak up any oil left on the outside of the fish. After the fish has cooled a minute the fillet will be dry on the outside and naturally moist on the inside. Try this the next time you’re frying fish and you’ll be able to taste the difference!
Fishing Tip: Picking the Right Jig for the Job... Walleye!
When fishing a jig and minnow for walleye there are a few things I like to consider when selecting the correct jig. The first thing is picking the correct weight. Generally, you like a jig that is as light as possible yet still make contact with the bottom. The second is color, this is a bit more of trial and error but I prefer more subtle colors in clear water and brighter colors in dirtier water. The last thing I like to consider is hook gap. I feel this is the most important of the three. Your hook gap needs to match your minnow size. As you can see in the picture below, if you use a larger minnow like a shiner you need to use a jig with a wider hook gap. If the hook gap is too small you will miss a lot of bites. If you plan to use a smaller minnow like a fathead then a standard jig will be just fine. Now that you’ve picked the right jig get it out there! Move it slow and keep it low is my rule of thumb. Good Luck!
March 31, 2016
Well it’s hard to believe only a few weeks ago there were ¾ ton pickups and 20 foot fish houses all over the lakes. Then, a week later we were down to ATV travel only. Now there’s no evidence the ice even existed. It was one of the fasted ice outs I can remember. The ice fishing season around the Alexandria area was a short one, but in my opinion it was a very productive one. We had some outstanding walleye fishing during February, and once that closed the crappie action took the spot light. The first couple weeks of March yielded some of the best crappie action I’ve seen. We were able to catch literally hundreds of crappie that were 12-13 inches, as well as a number of them that measured 14-15 inches!
When targeting big crappie like this you can use much more aggressive techniques as they will hit almost anything. The hardest part is finding them and then staying on them. These larger fish roam quickly in schools, ambushing bait as they go. Being most of the lakes in the area are quite clear, these fish also get spooked easily. This makes them even tougher to catch consistently.
I’ve found the two biggest things that help me catch these fish on a regular basis is using a heavy lure that can get down to the fish quickly like a Tungsten jig or a small spoon. The second this is having a lot of holes drilled in the area. Usually you can only pull 2-3 crappie from a hole before they get spooked out of the area. With a large number of holes predrilled you can follow these fish as they move. We had a number of days where the fish would circle in a 100 yard area and if you continued to follow them throughout the day they would end up back where they started.
Even though our ice season was cut short, I look forward to chasing these big crappie out of a boat over the next month. These fish will be congregating in the shallow black bottom bays as these areas warm the fastest. The past couple years we had ice nearly up to walleye opener, so for me I had very little time to target crappie on open water. This year will be much different in a lot of ways. Not only will we have more time to fish crappie before walleye opener, we should also expect the walleye bite on opener to be much better than previous years. The water will be much warmer on opener which will ensure the walleye are done spawning and ready to start eating!
Let me know if you have any questions regarding the upcoming crappie bite or walleye opener. Based on the short but productive winter we had I expect this summer to be one of our best! Good luck!
Fishing Reports provided by Lindy Pro Guide Joe Scegura.