Slamming Spring Walleyes

walleye

Walleye Fishing

Walleye can be an elusive fish many times of year, but spring time is definitely the easiest time to catch trophies. Many people flock to Michigan rivers as walleye enter to spawn for that chance at a big female. But, what about those walleye filled lakes that don’t connect to rivers. That’s one place that doesn’t get as much pressure.

As water temperature reaches 40 degrees walleye move to the shallows just like many other species. They typically spawn in 1-3 feet of water in sandy or gravelly areas of the lake. Submerged islands and feeder creeks are hot spots this time of year, but so are sandy beaches. During the warmth of daytime the large females typically head to deeper water and then return to beds at night, but the smaller males tend to stay in the shallows all day. Like bass, walleye will protect their beds aggressively and attack anything that comes close. After done spawning, they move to deep water and rest for about a week. Next is feeding time. Post spawn walleyes will move back to the shallows and feed constantly to replenish their lost energy.

Knowing all this will help come up with a plan to catch these tasty fish. I prefer to leave the boat at home this time of year. The docks typically aren’t in yet and you’re going to be fishing close to shore anyways. I’ve done well at public beaches that are shallow¬† and then have a sudden drop off to deep water. On the right day fish can be caught all day long, but the bigger ones are easiest at night. Put on your waders and head out, casting back towards shore. Spring time walleyes will hit a lot of bright colors. Try jigs with twister tails in many colors or live minnows or night crawlers. Small crank baits also work, but they have to be shallow divers. Whichever presentation you chose, make sure it is fished slowly. The fish are active this time of year, but the water is still cold, which slows down the fish.

This is a great time of year for Michigan Fishing. There are many fish available and choosing which to target can be hard, but I recommend you give Spring Walleyes a shot.

If you’re interested in spring walleyes leave us a comment below and get on www.FishMich.com for reports and tips in our Fishing Forum

 

Spinning Reel Vs. Baitcaster

Reels

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel

The two most popular fishing reels are the Spinning and the Bait caster. A lot of fisherman learn on the spinning reel first and never try a bait caster. Everybody can identify the two by looking at them, but we’ll talk about the differences while fishing.

Spinning reels are easy to use and don’t take very much practice for beginners. The spool spins while being reeled and stays still while casting. Basically the line comes off the reel in hoops and when the lure hits the water, the line stops. One of the problems with these hoops is line rubs on the eyes of your pole and slows it down. Another is memory. Those hoops can remain after casting which leaves slack in the line. It allows casting into the wind and is very forgiving with tangles. The spool itself is larger than a bait caster which allows for more line. The bigger spool and more line creates a faster retrieval speed. Gears play a big part of this, but the spool size and amount of line is usually overlooked.

Bait casters function completely different. When casting, the spool actually spins releasing the fishing line in a straight line. This helps the line go evenly through the eyes of the pole. The line will release as fast as the weight on the end will pull it. This means a large weight can be thrown very far with little resistance. The problem is stopping that spool from turning. As anybody that has used a bait caster knows, when your lure hits the water or any other object the spool keeps turning and the line binds up. This is called a bird’s nest and can be very irritating. A lot of anglers become discouraged with it and stop using them completely, but learning the reel’s braking system is key to casting.

Now for the advantages and disadvantages of both. Bait casters are superior for pulling big fish out of thick cover. Spinning reels are better for light tackle and sensitivity. They are more accurate for long casts, but bait casters are more accurate in short flipping situations. Getting precise casts in heavy cover or under obstructions the bait caster wins. They also win for long casts with baits over 1/4 ounce. Newer spinning reels with one finger trigger systems have made them the easiest and most popular for all around fishing, but the newer braking systems on bait casters have helped anglers add them to their fishing arsenal. Whichever one you prefer, adding the other technique can help catch more fish in certain situations. I suggest practicing with both on land first and stick with it.

For more advice on fishing reels check out our forum at www.FishMich.com

Choosing The Best Fishing Line

fishing line

fishing tips and techniques

Fishing line is one of the most important tools for fishing any species, but unfortunately the most overlooked. You can see the importance in how many choices are on the shelf at your local bait shop. Companies are putting a lot of money these days into developing new and better lines and marketing all of the benefits to the angler.

When I was a younger fisherman, I went to the store and bought the cheapest line in whatever size I thought I needed to catch the fish I was targeting. Then one late night crammed into a dirty hotel room with 5 other fishing buddies, we tested all of our different lines. We took the end of the line and tied it to a fish scale. Whoever’s line made it to the highest weight before breaking (in the middle, not at the knot), won ten bucks. They were all close in the test strength, but none actually came close to the right amount. My cheap 12 lb. test monofilament broke at about 3 lbs. of steady pulling. After that weekend I decided to look into my fishing line a little more.

You should consider a lot more than just strength when choosing a new fishing line. Abrasion resisting, Stretch, Knot Strength, Weight, Visibility, and of course Price all play a role in choice. And, no fishing line is the best choice for all conditions, locations or species. Having said that, I will point out a few characteristics of the most common three fishing lines available, without naming brand names.

Monofilament Fishing Line

This is the most common line used by fisherman. It accounts for 2/3 of all fishing lines sold, but that is probably because of cost. It can be much cheaper than any other choice. It is also a very light line which makes it a great choice for top water presentations.¬†That is about all I can say that is good about mono. It absorbs water, which loosens knots and reduces sensitivity. It stretches quite a bit. Just snag a tree or rock with it and pull. You’ll see how far you can pull your pole before it actually snaps. Mono also starts to degrade and become brittle when left in the sun. You should replace it often. After talking bad about it, I still use it. I spool all my reels with mono first and then tie on a different choice for about the last 50 yards. This saves money and helps keep other lines tight to the reel with no slippage. Like everything in life, remember that the cheap monofilament lines are far worse than the more expensive.

Braided Fishing Line

In the old days, this was the only thing available and they were highly abrasive and had low knot strength. Nowadays, Superlines or Microfilaments have progressed braids into a much more user friendly and popular option. The smaller diameter compared to other types makes it less visable and allows more line on the reel. It also has very little stretch, which gives the angler high sensitivity and more hook ups. It’s weight allows lures to dive quicker and deeper and provides longer casts. The biggest problem with Braid is a palomar knot is required. It’s not that big of a deal to some, but the novice angler can get discouraged by this. It also is highly abrasive. You will notice the frays in your line if fishing in thick cover or rocky rivers. Today’s Braided fishing lines have come a long way and will continue to improve. It is a very good one to pair with mono because of price and slippage on a reel.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon is typically the most expensive of the three, but does have some great advantages. Number one is being nearly invisible. No matter the thickness fluorocarbon is much less visible than the same weight line of other types. It doesn’t deteriorate in the sun or with other chemicals and is very resistant to abrasions. It stretches less than mono, but a little more than braids. It does sink in water so it helps getting baits down quickly, but also can become stiff.

All these lines have advantages and disadvantages. After experimenting with many lines, you will find that you catch more fish with certain ones in certain situations. I’ve actually spooled all three on a reel at once. Mono first to add bulk to the reel, then braid for strength and sensitivity, then a fluorocarbon leader for really clear water. I typically only use fluorocarbon for leader because of my cheapness, but really like using braids for sensitivity. I’ve stood next to a friend fishing mono for bass while I had a superline spooled. He never even felt a bite while I reeled in fish after fish. He was using one of my poles though. (sucker)

Leave any comments on fishing line below. Let us know what you prefer. And as always, check out www.FishMich.com for local reports and conditions.

 

 

Spawning Bass-Michigan’s Forbidden Fish

Bass Fishing the spawn

Bass Fishing the spawn

For Michigan bass fishermen, spring time is unfair. Michigan is one of the best and most popular bass fishing destinations. Yet, it is one of the few states that doesn’t allow bass fishing during the spawn. All spring I watch videos and read fishing articles about the excitement of sight fishing monster bass on their beds and wonder why I can’t take part.

During spring, as the water temps reach 45 degrees, bass move into shallow structure preparing for the spawn. When temps reach 55 degrees they start making their beds. Bass spawning beds are typically 1-3 feet in diameter, in 1-5 feet of water and typically within 10 feet of shore. For a fish that is usually in heavy cover, this is a time when fisherman can troll or walk shoreline and locate them. But, as many anglers know, locating a bass and catching one are totally different stories. Bass are typically more actively feeding during pre and post spawn and don’t eat much while on their beds. Smaller males will be very aggressive, but the larger fish don’t strike. If a bedded fish is nervous enough about your presentation, they will suck it in and spit it out away from the bed. This is where the sight fishing comes in handy. Watch the bass and learn where you need to drag your soft plastic creature bait across the bed. If the bass feels the nest is threatened she will move the bait away. Set the hook!

So why can’t we fish during these times?

I don’t really know. Some believe catching bass during spawning will prevent it. Many studies across the nation have proven this isn’t true. Some fish have been collected from beds, driven 400 miles and transplanted and they still successfully spawned. If a bass is caught and released unharmed (which surveys show 92% of bass are), they will return to their original bed and spawn. Others say it will lower fish populations or populations of large fish. Again, this is easily disproved in the southern states where huge bass are produced year after year during the spawn.

Just one more point. How can we be worried about the population of a fish that is very rarely stocked in Michigan lakes. We stock almost every type of fish in our waters, yet the most fished species doesn’t require it. I think that alone explains what a strong and resilient species the bass is.

Michigan has changed their rules recently to have a catch-and-immediate release season starting April 27th in the Lower Peninsula and May 15th in the Upper, finally. It is a step in the right direction, but why not all year. Many fisherman are out fishing rivers and open water lakes before this. In 2012, with the early thaw, the DNR posted a newsletter warning people that they could not target bass. They had reported seeing a lot of anglers out targeting bass because of the warm weather. I say, with all this proof, Why not leave the possession season alone and have catch and release the rest of the year. Come on Michigan. Everyone else is doing it!

If you have any comments on Bass Fishing during the spawn, please leave them below. And as always check out the forums at www.FishMich.com for local fishing reports.