The full run has been on for some time now and with the [mostly] great weather we have been having, it means the boat traffic is really picking up. With the interesting “second winter” we had, it certainly threw a quirk into things. While it made for miserable conditions for most to bear, it had two major positives.
The first was the obvious – it raised the water levels. The fish that jumped on the bandwagon and headed up to the upper marshes became bottle-necked due to the water levels. Some congregated outside of their normal spawning grounds and it made for a slaughter fest. While this was certainly unfortunate seeing hundreds of fish of a variety of sizes being taken, upon a few select rafts (at least), the second positive then hit.
Due to the second winter, it certainly saved a lot of the fish throughout the weekend when the storm rolled through. Most of the thousands of anglers that would normally be on the water throughout our system decided to take the weekend off. Less anglers = less fish being taken. I was one of the many that stayed house-bound. My wife and I hunkered down in the house, occasionally going outside to take the next layer of snow off the driveway. To tell you the absolute truth – we loved the storm!
As we have come into the post-spawn period, the fish have scattered throughout our system. Almost two weeks ago when I was in New London, the water temps were sitting at approximately 42 degrees. Just today in the Wolf in Winneconne, I was getting readings of 52 degrees. What a difference… and it was bitterly cold prior to that. Because of this, some females had dropped their loads into the river due to them not being able to access the marshes, then headed back right away. Some decided to wait it out, and since the water levels rose, they have since completed their mission and are on the way back as I type. Some… are staying put.
I have reports coming in from Shiocton, all the way down to Lake Winnebago. I will sum it up for you, there are fish being had everywhere. The trick of the matter is catching one of these waves of fish. Unless you’re on a wave of them, the scattered fish in your selected area will be few and far in between.
The Wolf in Winneconne and the Fox in Oshkosh have been very busy lately. I have found myself in both areas, trying out a variety of tactics. I have pulled fly rigs and vertical jigged, along with dragging jigs. The last two weeks, a crawler/jig combo has been the far best producer in my boat. An 1/8oz jig is usually the best option, but as always, it depends on the current - I have had to upsize to 1/4oz a couple times. Slow drifts, assisted by the bow-mount, running along the bottoms of breaks, have been the best for me.
With the interesting start to the season, we still haven’t got that good rain yet to push the crawlers up so we have been having to buy them. We have some rain in the forecast so maybe I will be on the hunt for them tonight? Hope so! Those things can get expensive.
In Oshkosh and Winneconne, I have noticed that the bite is usually the best either earlier in the morning or later at night. It seems that this pattern is mimicking the bite towards the end of the hard water season. Just last night the Poygan Pounder and I went out and had a little action when the sun went down. It was great weather until the wind picked up and blew us off the water. Unless you are on numbers of fish, the early morning or evening time periods would be the best to shoot for in my opinion.
If you aren’t up for river ratting, Lake Winnebago is calling your name. Action has been picking up in the normal post-spawn locations on the big lake. Slip-bobbers and cranks have been showing some promise as a some of the males that left, have already touched back into the stained waters of Lady ‘Bago. While I haven’t been on ‘bago yet, I know it has been a waiting game so to speak, yet again, waiting for one of the waves of fish to come through.
I’m currently working on the last portion of the Canadian experience video, I have the Wendt’s Marine open house tomorrow (04/28 from 9a-12p), and then we are off to a wedding for the rest of the weekend. In other words, you won’t see me out for a bit! This is a fun time of the year, and with the beautiful weather fast approaching, we are certainly going to make some memories. I hope you all have an awesome weekend and I hope to see you in my boat tomorrow at Wendt’s for a test-drive!