So why do fish migrate? Let me start off by saying each species has the same end goal, and that’s to fatten up prior to their spawning season. As the water from the melting snow and ice pours into the lakes it brings with it oxygen. The newly forming green vegetation also releases oxygen into the water, bringing the underwater world alive. There’s no place these spring changes are more apparent than in shallow water. Bait fish move in to eat the bugs and the larger fish move in to feed on the bait fish and so on right up the food chain.
Only a few short weeks ago these shallow 4-8 feet areas were almost void of life, but now with the spring effects taking hold these areas are teaming with life. Depending on the water clarity it’s very common to be able to sight bluegill and crappie just under the ice. Last week when I was out the fish were nearly touching their dorsal fins on the bottom of the ice as they swam around in search of food. I would simply lower #12 Lindy Toad a few inches under the ice and the fish would instantly show up to eat. In my opinion this is one of the best times to get kids hooked on fishing. This time of year offers an angler a rare look into the underwater world below the ice. Watching a big bluegill or crappie swim inches under your feet to eat your offering is something that will stick in your mind for some time!
As of today the ice has pulled away from shore on a number of lakes. You should still be able to get on the ice through the weekend, but your time to experience this shallow water ice bite is limited. We have about twenty four inches of rather soft ice left in the Alexandria area, so I predict anglers will only have a week left of ice fishing. The hot weather and wind is making fast work of the ice. If you do plan to head out make sure you wear a life jacket at this time of year. On the bright side, once the ice is too poor to fish, there will be dozens of other areas ready to fish from shore. That’s one of the great things about the Alexandria area. We have a wide variety of lakes so there is always somewhere to catch fish 365 days a year. These big panfish won’t spawn until the water temps reach into the mid 60’s, so there are numerous opportunities coming up to get in on some excellent fishing of your own!
Keep checking back for updates and I’ll tell you when to hook up the boat and head for Alexandria!