Fishing Tip of the Week – 01/15/20
Early spring changes
by Mike Gerry
Fishing Tip of the Week
- Friday, 31 January 2020 13:35
When I hit the water in early spring, I generally start looking for what might be different from other similar days this same time of year, and it raises several questions:
Where have the grass beds moved to? What has changed in depth of shell beds? How did the winter rains affect the bottom structure from the strong currents and where is the bait as it relates to the past early spring fishing?
Generally, when you concentrate up-river on any lake, the water temperature is warmer than the lower part of the river. On Guntersville above BB Comer Bridge in early spring there is very little deep water, so fish that might be deep are generally not any deeper than 10 to 12 ft. because the upper river is so shallow. If you’re in mid-river or around the lower end, the lake widens, and the depth can be as deep as 45 ft., so the bass can stage in 20 to 25 ft. of water. There are also some differences in water temperature, that being the shallow water warms quicker than deeper water, so the fish movement can be completely different. The upper river warming earlier than the mid and lower end generally allows the fish to go into pre-spawn, and they spawn sometimes three to four weeks early as water temperatures can get into the 60’s much quicker up-river as we see spring moves on.
One of the things I continually try to do is cut up the area that I am fishing with different baits. I will work heavier baits off drops first to either eliminate deep water or find feeding fish. I then get to the next-level drops at about 10 to 12 ft., and I work several baits at this depth: rattle baits, square bill crank baits and jigs. Lastly, if that hasn’t produced some good fish, I then get into the shallows, and I always look for cover at this depth: boat house, lay-downs, rock or just odd objects sticking up out of the water and of course, the grass. Water levels are always a key in the spring. Heavy rain and wind affect where fish hide, so look for areas up in trees or current breaks to find fish if the current is strong.