Where Is Spring???
By Craig Sandell © 2017

I am sure that you have all noticed the lack of "soft water" in the Northern parts of America.

I am confident that Walleye fishermen are going ‘Shack Happy’ as their opening day expectations are still under 18 to 22 inches of ice as many resorts have had to reschedule their May bookings.

Musky anglers too, are wondering just what the late ice out is going to mean to the coming season.

 

When will the Musky spawn?

How will this effect weed growth?

What lures should I be considering?

Let’s look at the spawning;

Northern Pike spawn when the water temperature is between 33 to 45 degrees.

Musky spawn when the water temperature is between 49 and 59 degrees.

It is certainly possible that Northerns are really close to their spawning cycle, especially where the sunlight is peeking through the snow. Regardless, the Northerns will be done spawning well before the Musky are even ready to begin. Barring any drastic warming trend, it would appear that a large part of May will have passed before the Musky spawn begins. If the ice doesn’t go out until mid May, the Musky spawn will be about I month late. It is possible that that by the opening of Musky season, Musky will still be hovering around their spawning areas.

Let’s talk about weed growth;

The weeds need sunlight to begin their growth cycle. Sunlight that is filtered through the ice will not be sufficient to foster aggressive weed growth. Once the ice is out, the weed growth will begin in earnest; but this too may be as much as I month late. As the Musky leave their spawning areas, they will be looking to find weeds where they can hunt for the forage that typically inhabit the weeds. With sparse weed cover, forage will be slow to consider such sparse growth as good cover. It would appear that, given that possibility, the Musky will be having a hard time finding forage fish. This may move them to redirect their hunting to surface prey.

Another consideration is those areas that are going to get good sun early in the season. Any shore line that is facing South (we call it North facing) will have warmer water temperatures and better weed growth. Look at your maps and you will likely see a good number of potential areas, especially on flowages with protruding island tops.

What lures should be considered;

Spring is generally accepted as a month for down sized lures. Smaller crank baits twitched are likely to be very effective. Smaller bucktails with a little flash could be productive. Smaller globes, hawg wobblers and creeper type lures in the morning or evening should be very productive.

The table below represents actual catches on the Chippewa Flowage.

May June July Aug. Sept. Oct.
Bucktail

12

128

77

124

107

16

Surface

2

93

102

188

153

4

Crank

16

16

13

17

19

18

Jerk

1

7

11

16

37

25

Live

7

2

4

3

28

74


I must qualify what I have said in this article by saying that this is just my best guess. To be honest, no one has a crystal ball and Musky fishing is among the least predictable sport fishing endeavor.

We Are all In This Together!!!