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Spring Is Here- What to Throw?

Mike Clifford

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Yeah, I know this sounds like a generic question that has been asked a thousand times on various websites over the years.

Fact is, it's been a few years since I made a concerted effort to fish early and often, and I can't remember what I should be throwing.

Trying to compile posts, but there are so many possibilities.


So....this year.

Water receding after a major flood event.

Who can give us a general river temp this week?


I'm serious, I spend way more time on conservation than fishing and need some help.

What am I throwing this weekend (the first thing I tie up), and what part of the river?


Don't be shy Bassbuggers, lots of people want to know what flies and where as well.


This thread will be linked to in our next Constant Contact club-wide E-News, so make them good for all our members to learn!

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Big wide wobbling crankbait, slower early in the day, then pick it up a little with pauses involved.


Spring can be one of the hardest times to fish. Maybe a better question is where? Have they moved out yet? Where? It's easy to waste time in unproductive areas.

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Rattle baits burned in as fast as I can reel it.


I tried that yesterday while fishing the north end of a lake. Caught my first bass of the year,actually 7, but they all came on suspending jerkbaits, lucky craft pointer or x-raps. I couldn't buy a bite on the rattle traps.


I think the suspending jerkbaits will work good in the rivers when they clear up and drop to more normal levels. I like to start the year with any minnow imitators: Gulp minnows, suspending jerkbaits, float and fly's, twister tail jigs, and the best minnow imitator of them all, live minnows.


In Rockford area, I'm getting water temp readings in the upper 40's for small tribs, and low 40's for Kish and Rock.

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Swim jigs, rattle traps, spinners, cranks, grubs, jigs, etc. Bring it all and see what the fish want.... sound familiar?



I'll say this, it's the time of year to catch big fish. I wouldn't want to be throwing small, ignorable baits. Something that pushes water.

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It's more where you fish than what you fish. Early spring is all about feeding, find the food and you've found the smallies.


Where to fish depends on water levels.


High water look to slack pockets, shoreline or near shore cover and generally from the first current break in. Any source on inflowing water, regardless of size can be very attractive as it may bring in slightly warmer and a little clearer water as well as possibly bringing in some food.


Low water look near tributaries, not just the mouth but nearby point pools as well as up and down stream a bit. They fish may start moving toward the tribs for spawning but slowly stage on the way feeding as they go. Look for the usual assortment of current conditions.


Barriers such as riffle areas can be places where fish will stop to feed for a bit while they transition out of wintering areas. Look for fish in or near main river spawning areas. Some of the largest fish actually spawn much earlier than you think and may already be in a prespawn mode. Others that spawn later are just there to eat.


The tweener stuff twixt high and low water, search baits and cover a lot of water. In general I'd start working out from shore figuring they are dropping back with the receding water levels. If that doesn't pan out a check of shoreline related areas would be next.


Remember that not all fish do the same thing at the same time, so I'd be extra flexible in my thinking in this or any other transitional period.


I rather throw a less than perfect lure to the right area than the perfect lure to the wrong area. Location should always be the first consideration any time of year followed by technique.


You could always look in the ISA archieves, I'm pretty sure I wrote something on this subject before, maybe last spring. You know what they say about getting old don't you? If you do please tell me as I forgot.

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Thanks, once you've been it at long enough you start to see certain patterns or trends develop. It's just a matter of learning to recognize how natural cues can tip off location and or attitude of the fish.


All newcomers,


It's too easy to get caught up in the gear aspect of fishing as it's relentllesy marketed to us and well gear is way more sexy than understanding fish behavior. It's a lot easier to have a lot of gear than it is to learn about where and why fish do things. However, in the long run knowledge trumps gear.


A fairly astute guy on River Smallies once said something along these lines, an ounce of knowledge is worth more than a pound of gear. Take that to heart and you will become a better fisherman.

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