Spring is a time when great chunks of the fish population are all doing the same thing: moving into shallow water to reproduce or feed. Warming, stable water and a soft bottom are two of the keys. Shallow, isolated bays are popular early in the year because this water gains and holds temperature. You will catch pike early in the year in the shallow backwaters and also along patches of protected, sandy or muddy shorelines. In all cases, the water isn’t being mixed and the bottom is right for fish to drop eggs. Thin slices of warm water are easily blown apart by weather changes. As long as fish can get over the right type of bottom and the temperature stays at a level they like, they can and will spawn in some areas you might drive right by.
The better you know the lake, the more options you’re giving yourself. And even though the general trend for pike in spring is ‘shallow to spawn,’ remember that fish move in and out in waves. You can always find pike in different areas. Some might be waiting to spawn, some might be right in the middle of spawning, some might have spawned and left, and some fish won’t spawn at all. No matter what you fish for, always remember that not all fish do the same things at the same times. There are distinct populations within the same piece of water that live different lives. Fish are like tribes in a jungle. Some raise animals to eat. Others constantly move while following food and hunting. Some might only eat plants found in a certain area.
Spring is a transition month, just as fall is. It’s a period of change that’s leading towards a period of stability. All you have to do to understand the spring weather. Trips can range from comfortable to downright uncomfortable and you’ve really got to be prepared for it all. You’re not quite out of winter and you’re not into summer yet, either. For pike, carry a wider range of gear in spring than at any other time of the year. And even though you’re focused mainly on areas that are closer to shore and less than twenty feet deep, be sure to try a range of different techniques in these areas.
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