Fishing Report: May 2014
Everyone is excited to be back on the water after this year’s unusually cold winter, which saw over 24” of ice on the lake. This year, the lake is noticeably colder than usual, due to the cold spring, frequent north wind, and deep, insulated frost still in the ground. This has had several effects on the lake. The various spawning activities are usually triggered by water temps, so things like the bass spawn will be a little later this year. Also, the lake is very dark, with low visibility, because the stratification that occurs with warmer waters has not yet sorted out the lake’s floating sediments. We also had a large alewife die-off. This is natural for the species, but if anyone wants to see the invasive nuisances that are destroying our natural walleye population, take a walk down the windblown shorelines and look for gray backed, white bellied fish about 6-8” long. Even with all this going on, fish still have to eat, which means they are catchable!
- Bullheads: Spring is the season for bulls, and the night time is the right time. Several local anglers fish for these delicious fighters nightly, and have reported catches in the 30s consistently. With water temps below 40, the males will start cruising the shorelines, but when the temps bump past 50 the bigger females will move in. Baits like worms, dough balls, and shrimp all catch bulls, and use as little weight on the line as possible, these fish are very sensitive.
- Walleye: Lots of walleye were seen spawning in the usual creeks during late April and May, however, for several years the lake has shown virtually zero natural production due to the massive schools of alewives which decimate the fry as they enter the lake. Last year the DEC stocked over 30,000 4” walleye fingerlings to offset this, so if you see any very young walleye, that is a sign that the stocking program is working, please report that to us! Post-spawn walleye (season opens May 3rd) are often aggressively feeding to replace the calories lost during the spawn. Look for them on points and drop-offs in the 10-15’ range. Rattling lures, stickbaits, and flashy jigs tipped with worms are all good bets.
- Smallmouth Bass: SMB usually prefer water cooler than their largemouth cousins, so the 50s and 60s is the right time for them. They like feeding on crawfish, so small crankbaits and jigs in craw patterns works great. Look for them where a shallow warm spot sits adjacent to deep,cool water. All bass are catch and release until the 3rd Saturday in June, so please get them back into the water to protect their nests as soon as possible.
- Largemouth Bass: LMB are much slower this time of year, until the warm waters (60s) trigger their spawn. However, pre-spawn LMB can be caught. Working suspending minnow stickbaits v-e-r-y slowly in the bays is one good trick. Another is slowly crawling jigs over the rocks. Once they move onto nests, try not to hassle them too much to avoid predation on their young!
- Perch: Ice-out perch are a popular fish with anglers. Look for these along the deeper weeds and mudflats. Smaller lures like 1/8th or even 1/16th ounce jigs or very tiny lures will work well for them.
- Pickerel: Picks are always the first fish to get aggressive, and this time of year can provide lots of fun fights. These toothy aggressors can be found in nearly any weedbed, and will bite almost anything shiny. Spinnerbaits, spoons, bucktails, and shiny stickbaits are all great choices.
Keep an eye on the real time weather at our website, that will dictate all the exciting early summer fishing! Please send pictures of those great catches to firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember, let’s all try to leave the lake in a little better shape than we found it in!