From Connecticut Outfitters (www.ct-outfitters.com), Gary Brummet reports that the sudden changes in weather have made it difficult to find the fish. As the water temperatures dropped, trout, bass and stripers went into hiding. Anglers trolling the local lakes have managed to fool a few trout with spoons, minnow plugs, and spinners. From the bank, anglers casting spoons and plugs are also catching trout. While working the bank with an artificial lure, be sure to have a minnow or worm under a slip bobber or resting on the bottom to entice any passing trout that turn up artificial baits. “Trout fishing has been productive,” Gary said, “but we’re not catching any monsters.” Bass fishing has been a challenge, too. The lakes and reservoirs are holding plenty of largemouths for anglers working jigs, swimbaits, jerkbaits and crankbaits. A few anglers have been lucky enough to find some fat walleyes.
P.J. Stevenson at Mountain State Anglers in West Virginia (www.mountainstateanglers.com) told us that they’ve been tearing up smallmouth bass on the New River. “We’re catching up to 50 fish per angler,” P.J. said. She admitted that most of the fish were small, but with those kinds of numbers, quantity makes up for quality. Anglers who weed through the 12- to 16-inchers will run into a few smallies over 20 inches. The guides have been focusing their efforts from Stone Cliff to Cunard or down from the Rt. 64 bridge depending on water levels. P.J. adds that the river is still high, but the water is clear so they’re using pumpkinseed tubes and worms. Several guides have taken parties on walk-and-wade trips at Dunloup and Dowdy Creeks producing good numbers of trout. A recent trip spanned two days and had anglers catching trout and smallmouth bass. “We float to the mouth of the creek, then hike up the creek, then fish back down, then camp the night, and then float the river the next day.” Sounds like fun.
Richie White at Lake Fork, Texas (www.bassfishing.org) reports that muddy water has made fishing tough. “Find the clear water and you’ll find the fish,” he said. When he finds clear water, Richie is throwing Texas-rigged tubes, lizards, or baby ring fry. Richie prefers to use a ½-ounce weight on his rigs. “It helps me pitch the bait,” he says, “and doesn’t seem to affect the fish.” In the next couple of weeks, Richie will switch over to night fishing. “The fish bite better at night,” he said, “and it’s more comfortable in the summer.”
In Indiana, Chae Jolsen (www.websterlakeguideservice.com) took a break from hauling in giant musky to give us a fishing report. He said that they’ve started to catch fish with topwater plugs. When the topwater bite is off, he’s throwing Suzy Q Shaq Attack lures and big soft-plastics to the edge of weed beds in 20 feet of water. “The Hogy lure was hot today,” he added. Chae said that the Barbee Chain of lakes is getting ready to go off, while Webster Lake has been sputtering this spring. The guides are scoring big muskie on every trip with the biggest of the season measuring 47 inches. On the best days, his anglers will score several fish over 40 inches. “When it rains it pours,” he said.
According to John New at The Hook Up Outfitters (www.thehookupoutfitters.com) in Scottsdale, Arizona, the largemouth bass are in all three stages of spawning—prespawn, spawn and postspawn. To entice the fish off their beds, he’s using a drop shot in 5 to 20 feet of water. “There are a lot of fish guarding fry,” he adds. To catch then off guard, he’s tossing Senkos into trees and brush. “It’s not real hard to catch a bass right now,” he admits. John is finding the bass in shallow spawning areas or off points in the main lake. “On the striper side of things,” John says, “they’re up close and on the surface early in the morning.” When the wind isn’t blowing, John casts big jerkbaits to feeding stripers. During the day, he’s finding stripers on the main lake near reefs and points. “They’ll chase bait up on to the reef then run back to the deeper water.”. —Ric Burnley