By Steve Weisman
Things are changing. The first week of March we were still ice fishing, and as I write this column, Big Spirit, East Okoboji, Minnewashta, Upper Gar and Lower Gar are completely ice free. West Okoboji, as it normally does, is taking longer.
What is amazing is that this all happened without a spring rain. However, we had several sunny 60+ degree days. The power of the spring sun is truly amazing.
I stopped in at the Hatchery, and the northern pike spawn will be over and done quickly. They bring them in, take the eggs needed and in a short window of time have the adult pike back in the lake.
However, the walleye spawn can be more of a problem. Sometimes early ice outs such as what we are experiencing now can cause walleye seining issues. That is especially true if the temperatures yo-yo up and down. If the water warms on a consistent basis, the netting will be much better.
The yo-yo situation causes problems as the water temperature goes up and down. The walleye spawning efforts match the up and down weather, and the seining efforts drag out. If we can get a warm-up to match with the photo light period, the collection will be awesome. Let’s hope!
Netting crews will once again have to be especially careful when going from the Okobojis to Big Spirit. Everything will be treated with all of the netting equipment bleached, all of the boats and trailers washed down and the motors flushed before entering Big Spirit.
Thinking of some early season fishing? How about trying the Little Sioux or Des Moines rivers? Each spring they both yield a lot of nice walleyes. It would be nice to get a little rain to raise the rivers. I’ve heard some good reports from the Des Moines.
As the water warms a little bit, it will be time to hit the canals, the Trestle and Triboji for crappies and bluegills. The lakes are down a foot or so, so adjust accordingly.
Of course, the next few weeks will be prime time for wading and boat fishing on such lakes as Storm Lake, Silver Lake (Lake Park), Lost Island and Five Island.
Another I am thinking is Scharnberg Park over by Everly. Lots of nice trout there for the taking. Pick a nice sunny day with little wind and watch for the schools of trout as they work the shallows. Any type of bug hatch will most likely keep them milling around on a feeding frenzy.
Speaking of trout, this week my wife and I will be down in Branson, and I get the chance to use a flyrod on Lake Taneycomo. A friend (a local that knows the water) and I will be wading the trophy area. I can only hope for the luck of the Irish!