Spring fishing is all about timing
Like many things in life, timing can be everything. Fishing is no different, and most certainly very important in the spring season. Let’s face it, so far the month of April has been down right mean. Snow flurries, wind, countless number of days of rain, and little sunshine have been the weather pattern most of the time. All these factors have made spring fishing, for any species, very difficult.
Most outdoors people have an eye on the 5-day or 10-day forecasts. Weather, no doubt has a direct correlation to animal habits. If you haven’t taken a look at an extended forecast, you should. At the time of writing this article, the ten-day forecast had high temperatures of fifty or above in nine of those days (weather.com). The last day of April is projected to reach 81-degrees too!!! Well, that could turn into 51-degrees, but it sure is nice to think that spring temperatures are on their way to Central Iowa.
As stated previously, fishing has really been a struggle all around the state this month. There are two main reasons why this is happening. The first being, the lack of sunshine. There were several days in a row that we never laid eyes on the sun. This does not allow the water temperatures in the lakes to warm. The direct sunlight warms shallow water very quickly, we simply have not had several days in a row for this to happen. The second reason fishing has been “off” is the night time temperatures. Most of this month of MarchI mean April the night time temperatures have been well under forty-degrees. Spring fishing is really dependent on those water temperatures. When water temperatures stay below that 45-degree mark, the fish are still holding in winter time patterns. Sure there are few fish to catch here and there, I have always said that fish have to eat no matter what, but they are few and far between. However, when the water warms up towards that 50-degree mark, Mother Nature switches the fishing light to “ON”. This upcoming week could be a fishing bonanza in Central Iowa. Those water temperatures will get up to and pass that 50-degree mark and most importantly they will remain steady around that mark. Steady weather and steady water temperatures equals steady fishing.
Why does the warm water “make” fish bite? This is a question I speak of very often while talking with fellow anglers. There are many hypotheses to why it seems to improve fishing. I truly believe it has everything to do with the fishes’ environment. When the water temperatures warm, the whole ecosystem gets a boost. Algae are the main reason, because it is the ground level of the food chain in a lake or river. Algae are nothing more than a plant, and in turn is food for those whom eat it. The growth of algae triggers feeding and reproduction of micro-organisms, and then those let bugs and other small creatures start to regularly feed. When all those little in “bugs” are feeding, then the crawdads, minnows and other small fish start to feed and get more active, and lastly the predator fish like bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, catfish and anything else that swims gets fired up for a buffet of food. Simply put, the warm weather puts a charge into the food chain of the lake, which is why fish seem to bite better.
When all this occurs, it does do one more thing that helps anglers everywhere do better on their fishing trips. Most of the chain effects that I mentioned occur in shallow water. Anglers in Central Iowa are very good and know many methods for fishing shallow water. This can easily be done from a boat, or on the shoreline. When the fish want to feed they often go to shallow water to do so, for a lack of another term, that is where the buffet line is. Most anglers fish shallow or near the shoreline, and in the spring season there is no better place to find any species of fish feeding up on their favorite spring-time treat.
So when will the buffet line open at area lakes? That is the million dollar question, and I do not have that answer. I do know that the more sun we see, and the warmer the temperatures are in the next few days, that the all new spring buffet will be opening very, very soon to a place near you. Here is my last advice for the week, go fishing as much as you can the next two weeks. Mother Nature is showing a lot of signs that the timing for spring time fishing is very close, you don’t want to miss out.