Now that the long wait for nicer weather has arrived, Spring fishing is in full swing. Rising water temperatures means aquatic ecosystems are increasing in activity and inhabitants are concerned with two things; eating and breeding. Spring is the ideal time for anglers to catch their personal best fish as females will be significantly heavier while full of eggs and easier to catch as they look to replenish their energy reserves from a long winter. Juvenile fish and forage species are now seeking shelter in the warmer shallow edges of ponds, escaping from hungry predators and attracted to the increase of macroinvertebrates spurred on by new plant and algae growth. Fisherman should target depth gradients; ledges, drop offs and the edges of deeper holes as adult fish are looking to ambush prey moving to shallower water. Areas of hard cover such as timber, rock piles or artificial structure are always good targets for early spring. Hard cover doesn’t deteriorate over the winter like most aquatic vegetation and will hold the majority of forage species until the new vegetation has grown to sufficient levels. Live bait such as minnows, nightcrawlers and crawfish excel every time of the year but aren’t a necessity in spring as most fish aren’t as picky this early in the season. This is a great time to try new lures and build confidence with different techniques. As a rule of thumb for spring pond fishing I let the water temperature dictate my retrieval speed and the visible fish dictate the size of my lure. When water temps are under 60 degrees I’ll use slower retrieves, longer pauses and generally fish slower. If I fish a new pond and notice the fish are visibly moving or chasing bait into the shallows, I’m comfortable fishing slightly faster and choosing a larger lure with the hopes of a larger catch.
Alec Hillyer is a fishing and outdoor enthusiast! He has extensive knowledge in aquatic biology and earned his Bachelor of Arts in zoo and wildlife biology from Malone University in Canton, Ohio. When not fishing or hunting, he spends his time as a manager at Fender’s Fish Hatchery and is a private lake consultant. He worked for AquaDoc as an Aquatics Biologist and is USDA certified in applying pesticides. Have specific questions for Alec? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram at alec_outdoors.