Weekend Bite

1212120_img_2 By Ric Burnley

Northeast

_Lake Trout
_It was raining when we called Fish 307 (www.fish307.com) in Lake George, New York. “Fishing is good overall,” Jeff Goldberg told us. Ice fishing for lake trout has been consistent and the ice should last at least another three weeks. “The snow has insulated the ice, so it is in good condition despite the rain,” Goldberg says. Anglers targeting these big trout are jigging lures or fishing tip-ups in 60 to 100 feet of water. For jigging, Goldberg recommends a Swedish Pimple in size 7, 8, or 9 or a Protroll E jig. On his tip-up rigs, he hooks a big shiner or sucker. Several guys fishing for perch in 30 feet of water are getting a big surprise. “They’re jigging for perch and catching lakers,” he added. The trout are feeding on the perch. Goldberg urges anglers to stop by a local bait and tackle before heading out on the ice. “Conditions can change daily—in ice fishing it’s a communication game.”

Southeast

Smallmouth Bass
“Fishing report?” Ken Penrod asked when we called, “That’s easy: flood, flood, flood.” Seems recent rains had the water level on area rivers way above normal. Before the rain, Penrod says that Mike Breeding had been whacking the smallmouth on the Susquehanna around Duncannon, PA. Ken added that anglers fishing the upper Potomac are also finding steady action on smallmouth with a few nice largemouth and big muskie mixed in. Penrod recommends rigging up a tube worm on a ¼-ounce jig head and look for eddies of calmer water. “I’ll start with a 4-inch Mizmo pumpkin tube and drag it slowly across the bottom,” he says. Penrod’s been using this technique to catch 30 to 40 smallmouth on each outing with most of the fish measuring between 16 and 18 inches. “It’s been a good winter for smallmouth,” he says.

South

Largemouth Bass
Pro Guide, Brian Carper (www.briancarper.com) reports that the Tennessee lakes are heating up and so is the fishing. He’s found bass and crappies all winter by jigging the point and channel edges in 10 to 30 feet of water, but now he expects the fish to move shallow just before the spawn. In the deep water he’s been using Carolina rigs with soft-plastics and dropshot baits. “The key is to use a very slow presentation,” he says. When the fish move up the bank, he’ll switch over to crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, and jerkbaits. Brian expects the fish to make the move when the water temperature gets above 55 degrees. “I’m getting excited for some warmer water,” he says, “that’s when you can bank on the fish being shallow.” Crappies are also starting to heat up and can be found in the same holes as the largemouths. Carper says that he’s catching these fish on 1/16- and 1/32-ounce jig heads in chartreuse and white or red and white. He adds that a live minnow or shad on a small hook is also deadly for these tasty pan fish. Once the water temperature rises to 60 degrees, he’ll start to target crappies on the stake beds. “The beds should turn on in a couple of weeks,” he says.

Midwest

Saugeye
Wet weather plagued Dayton, Ohio this week, but anglers stopping by Fisherman’s Quarters were hopeful that the rain would bring good saugeye fishing. “The bite was just beginning before the rain,” reported Tom Zobrist. Tom expects the fishing to really turn on in Indian Lake once the water temperature rises above 54 degrees. Finding the fish isn’t hard. “Just look for a bunch of people fishing and you’ll know where the schools of saugeye are,” he says. As the water warms, Zobrist says that the fish will move into the vegetation in the northeast corner of the lake. He uses a Vib-“E” jig or a blade bait and jigs it up and down or casts it out and bounces it slowly back to the boat. “Just tie one on and throw it out,” he says.

West

_Steelhead
_Local guide, Marv McQuinn (www.marvsguideservice.com) has been busting up big steelhead on the North Coast of Oregon. “We’re catching some monster fish,” he told us, “up to 25 pounds.” McQuinn’s been fishing the Trask and Wilson rivers pulling plugs, side drifting, and drift fishing. To pull plugs, he rigs up a Hot Shot or a K-11 Quick Fish and uses the motor to keep the boat drifting slowly down river. “The key is to tune your plug so that it swims straight,” he says, “If it goes to one side you won’t catch any fish.” When that doesn’t work, he either drifts or anchors and works steelhead eggs or Yarneys, which are little puff balls of yarn. “Use light tackle and let the bait drift with the current,” he says. Pro Guide, Steve Smith (www.stevesmithoutdoors.com) adds that the trout bite is on in the McKenzie River and Upper Willamette. According to Smith, the march browns have been hatching from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day. “Dry fly fishing has been good,” he said. “The Deschutes is open, but the fishing is not red hot yet, but you can find some space and it’s not crowded in the open areas.” Steve reminds anglers interested in fishing these rivers to check local regulations before heading out.