First off, I would like to thank The Beacon for inviting me back to write the weekly fishing report for them again this season. It is an opportunity that I greatly appreciate, and I hope it helps everyone who reads it catch more fish this season.
The polar vortex weather system we experienced over this past winter brought in a thick ice cover on the lake and the ice anglers enjoyed a spectacular ice fishing season for the first time in several years. Pictures of huge walleye were displayed on many websites over the winter, and made those of use who do not ice fish very envious of their catches.
Thankfully, the ice is gone now and the walleye fishing season on the Western Basin has finally begun. The ice went out on this end of the lake the first week of April this year, which was a couple months behind what we had experienced the past few years.
To date, a majority of walleye have already spawned and are no longer concentrated on the reefs and in the rivers in huge numbers, and are now moving out of the traditional spawning areas looking for food, or traveling back to the regions they came from. Did you know that we get fish all the way from Lake Huron to spawn in the Maumee River and on the reefs over on the far western end of the lake? DNR tracking of tagged walleye proves this to be true.
The good news for the sport angler this season is that with the heavy ice cover over the winter, it killed a lot of shad (a forage fish for the walleye and other species). What that means is that the fish will be more inclined to hit your offerings, because there is less competition from the massive amounts of baitfish we’ve had in the system the past few years.
Jigging the reefs is always good during the spawn and this spring was no exception. It’s still good right now, but the larger females are on the move looking to feed after exerting so much energy during the spawn. They are hungry now.
The trolling bite is absolutely incredible around the firing range cans and island area, with monster walleye being caught on a regular basis. Trolling Deep Husky Jerks and Reef Runners, both high and low in the water column, have been producing the best.
The water temperature is now in the high 40’s in most places, and even in the low 50’s in others, so it’s time to start pulling crawler harnesses along side those Deep Husky Jerks now too, because they can be trolled at the same speed as one another and the crawler harnesses usually catch the bigger fish.
Good luck this season, and be safe on the water, but, most of all, have fun.