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How To Catch More Fish In Early Spring

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Early-spring fishing conditions are not always the most favorable. What's more, it can often be a pretty hefty challenge to entice fish to bite.

But you are probably itching to get back to fishing without first having to bundle up and then sit over a hole in the ground. As fun as ice fishing can be, if you're like us, then you are yearning to get back on open water.

With those thoughts of better weather, boats and snow-free shorelines in mind, here is a bit of a refresher on how to catch more of those picky early-spring fish.

Walleye early spring fishing tips

Where to find early-spring walleye

Spring can be one of the best walleye fishing seasons. It's not without weather and conditions-related obstacles, though. Cold temperatures can cause ice to hang around, especially in early spring, and the water can get stained thanks to wind and runoff.

In Outdoor Life, walleye pro Joe Okada from Wisconsin shared his ideas for finding walleye in spring. Okada says to check for new weed growth, as this gives shelter to baitfish and suggests warmer water temps.

Another area to find walleye in early spring is somewhere with a good amount of current. They'll also be moving toward smaller tributary mouths where they spawn. If you are fishing a reservoir, look to riprap near dams.

Look for rock, gravel or clean sand bottoms. Otherwise, they could be found near sandbars or gravel bars.

Lures and bait for early-spring walleye

Jigs are a must for any angler who wants to land walleyes. In spring, the weather can present a number of challenges that make matching conditions to fish behavior pretty tough at times.

Why jigs? Well, as Outdoor Canada explains, it's because they are so versatile. You have many color, size and bait presentation options with jigs.

In spring, go with live bait, such as minnows. As soon as the water warms up, add leeches to your walleye-catching arsenal.

When the fish are active, that's when you can break out the plastics, including grubs, worms and minnows.

Go with heavier jigs, say in the 3/8 - 3/4 oz. range when you're fishing deeper water. However, if the walleye have already begun to move to tributaries or other shallow water, then you should pick jigs in the 1/16 to 1/4 oz. range.

Need help picking jig colors? We have you covered there.

As for lures, go with swimbait jigs or jigs with spinners to add some flash to your presentation.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass early spring fishing tips

Where to find early-spring bass

Bass can sometimes appear to go in hiding in spring until water temperatures reach a certain point, but if you can find them, then you will catch them.

Pro John Blais tells Field & Stream he focuses on steep dropoffs that change to shallow areas for smallmouth. That's where bass spawn. Blais says to look near sides of points that extend out further into the lake.

You should also try to identify the areas of the lake that warm up faster than others, writes Babe Winkelman. Start their for both smallmouth and largemouth, he writes.

Lures and bait for early-spring bass

In Field & Stream, Blais suggests a blade bait. These vibrate and draw attention from smallmouth in the area. Blais says he reels in enough line to remove slack and then twitches the lure, making it hop up and down from the bottom. He recommends a fast action rod for this presentation.

Winkelman says bass anglers can go with light jigs, too. His tip is for anglers to pair a 1/16 oz. mushroom head jig with a six-inch, shad-colored worm. According to Winkelman, this setup works well when bass need a little more persuasion to bite.

Make sure you stock up on a variety of lures if you're targeting bass. Crankbaits, spinners and swimbaits all can work in spring, too.

If you're following Blais's location advice on finding steep dropoffs, then you can also work a spinnerbaits in those areas. As Game & Fish Magazine suggests, let your spinnerbait sink to the bottom in reservoirs with steep banks. That fall is what triggers a bite for bass.

Northern pike early spring fishing tips

Where to find northern early-spring northern pike

Northerns are on the move pretty quickly following ice out. Weeds in shallow areas, which tend to warm faster, attract northerns that are ready to spawn. Even while they are on the move to these areas, you can still have a ton of success catching them.

Winkelman says pike will go a good distance upstream before they find the perfect spawning conditions.

As points out, you can rely on spinnerbaits, jigs and spoons to catch northern in early spring. Don't forget a wire leader to prevent northerns from biting through your line.

Lures and bait for early-spring northern pike

As points out, you can rely on spinnerbaits, jigs and spoons to catch northern in early spring. Don't forget a wire leader to prevent northerns from biting through your line.

Professional Patrick Babcock tells Field & Stream his favorite lure for northern this time of year is a size 2 spoon in black and yellow. However, he says a simple spinner blade will attract northern, as well, especially when attached to your line ahead of a crankbait or jerkbait.

Hennings Tackle knows what catches fish

No matter the season, we know what it takes to catch more fish.

Our story at Hennings Tackle began with a bit of innovation that turned into a major hit in walleye fishing. It all started eight years ago on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota at a walleye tournament. The fish were just not committing to the lure of choice at the time - a plain hook and crawler on leader.

That's when Hennings Tackle Mini Walleye Spins were born. After giving a traditional crawler harness a try to no avail, David Hennings down-sized to a very small spinner and threaded the crawler on it.

That did the trick. Add a little flash to a natural crawler - and walleye can't resist.

Shop and order Hennings Tackle online

You can shop for Mini Walley Spins and all our Hennings Tackle fishing gear online.

And, for even more fishing tips, be sure to read our blog.