On the road well before the sun would be up, I had high hopes that over night the crappie moved in to stage for the spawn. Much of the water throughout the state is still cold from its recent ice departure and every spawn fisherman knows that finding the warm water is key. Regardless, I was going to be fishing with James Vladyka of Fish Hounds Outdoors all day and fish or no fish we would keep trying. The day before the water had peaked at 52 degrees which should put the fish migrating hard into their spawning areas. For some strange reason though, they were still not present.
As we putted into the area we first intended to fish, the water temperature had held overnight. Surely, the fish had to move in since the night before. We fished the entire area without as much as a bite or seeing a fish rise. The fish must have not noticed that the water had warmed up yet. With a sinking feeling in my gut we started fishing back out into the main lake trying to figure out what to do from there.
As we worked back out, we could see fish popping the surface and moving in towards us. Our casts were reaching out further and further until simultaneously we both hooked up. Crappies in hand, we were pumped. The “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures was back on fish! We both dumped the fish over the side of the boat and got right back to fishing. For the next hour and a half, we caught fish as they cruised in to stage up. The fish were running through a 3′ channel but at times we would pull them off a 1 foot flat surrounding.
The bite was spotty but consistent. We could follow the fish as they came into range all the way till they were past us. They were entering in small pods and were very aggressive. We were able to catch the fish until the wind started to blow and the water went from 54.5 to 48 in just a short period of time. It didn’t take us long to realize that the fish evacuated the area and headed back out to the main lake.
At a loss for ideas of what to do, we went and poked around some other likely areas hoping to find warm water that was not flushed earlier by the steady, high-teens wind. Of all the spots we checked, none offered us the conditions that we were looking for. The two options that we had remaining were to go shore fishing where the fish hadn’t bit yet this year or to return to where we started the day to see if the water had warmed back up.
We opted to return to where it all started for us. Entering the channel we were surprised to see that the temperature had rebounded and was pushing 53 in just a few short hours. We remained fishless the entire way in but similar to the first time, the fish followed us in. We moved back and forth through the productive area from earlier until the fish came to us. Once the fish reached us, the wind pushed us up against shore perfectly so that they were coming right at us.
We sat in the same spot for the remainder of the day catching a fish on just about every cast. There were times when we didn’t have to cast because they were right under the boat and others when we were reaching out as far as we could. Throughout the day, I used “pearl” colored “Live” Baby Shad the entire time. The only thing that switched was the jig color. I broke off a few times and just grabbed the first one I could so I get right back out there!
This was the first time that I had ever experienced the start of a fish migration. Seeing those fish coming in got my blood pumping and it was an experience I will never forget! That is until it happens again!