Fish Report: Thaw makes for messy conditions
The warm weather that hit the area this week is a welcome relief for those who want to sit out on the ice and chase panfish this time of year, but they have also made for some wet conditions on the lakes.
“It’s still been pretty spotty,” Dick Gustafson of Christopherson Bait in Alexandria said on Monday. “There aren’t many fishermen yet. It’s melting and the water on the ice is making it a little difficult to get out there. We need to wait. The best time is when that water starts going down through the cracks, and then we’ll get a lot more fishermen out there.”
Those who have been able to get out are still finding some success on lakes that have been hot for much of this winter.
“They’ve been fishing on Smith and they’re still fishing on Osakis,” Gustafson said. “Smith for sunfish and crappie and Osakis has been wild on crappies. Most have been in deep water, even 30-plus feet and then the crappies are suspended. Lake Darling, we were catching some crappies out there before the houses went off and that was 28-30 feet, maybe six to 10 feet off the bottom. I heard there is still good action on Lake Mary and also I heard good crappie action on Reno before the houses had to go off. The problem now is being able to get out.”
The fish will starting moving into shallower water as the month moves on and we get closer to seeing open water later in the spring.
“They start staging by the areas where they’re going to go in to feed at first after the ice off,” Gustafson said. “They won’t spawn right away, but they’ll move into the shallows. Right now guys are still using crappie minnows and wax works with small jigs.”