The Weekend Bite

Northeast Yellow Perch When we called Rich Greenough of Sure Strike Charters (fishvermont.com), he had 30 special-needs kids fishing for yellow perch on the ice covering Lake Champlain. "Fishing has been slow," he said, "but the kids are riding 4-wheelers and eating hotdogs so their happy." The event was organized by Hunters, Anglers, and Trappers of Vermont (hatvt.org). Greenough expects the perch fishing to explode in the coming week. As the water warms, the fish will school up and anglers will get a great opportunity to catch perch on live minnows fished from both tip-ups and hand lines. Watch the ice conditions carefully. "We¿ve had three thaws and the pressure ridges are dangerous," Greenough says, warning fishermen to stay 50 feet from any cracks in the ice. In addition to the perch, salmon are coming to the inland sea and there are a few walleyes starting to show along with northern pike in the shallows.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Southeast **Cobia ** As if sailfish, dolphin, blackfin tuna and king mackerel weren't enough, Bill Broach at Bud and Mary's (budnmarys.com) told us that cobia have joined the party off Islamorada. "The offshore boats found cobia roaming inside the reef today," says Broach. Skippers key in on the cobia accompanying huge rays just below the surface of the water. "Cast a live grunt or pinfish," he said. "Cobia will eat almost anything." Broach adds that cobia have made a showing on the Gulf side of the island, too. "Guys who run far enough on the backside are catching them," he said. In the Gulf guides usually find cobia while targeting other fish on the reefs, holes and wrecks. "Cobia will swim right to the boat," Bill said.Outdoor Life Online Editor
South Crappies "Now is a good time to catch a lot of crappies," reports Larry Burchfield at Outdoor Adventures Guide Service (larrys-guideservice-com). Burchfield says that these thick panfish are getting ready to spawn. "They're moving toward the coves," he said, explaining that the schools are still holding in open water (between 8 and 12 feet deep) but will soon move into the shallow coves. Currently, he's finding the fish around area bridges by slow trolling a spread of rods rigged with an 1/8 ounce jig and a live minnow. "As I came to work this morning there were six boats fishing along the Route 69 Bridge," he said. Burchfield also recommends that anglers look for crappies at Blocker Bridge and the Interstate 40 span. "The Gentry Creek arm of the lake has been very popular," he said. "There will be 40 boats there today." The water is dirty in the north part of the lake, so Larry suggests anglers use dark-colored jigs. "Chartreuse and black, pink and black, or pumpkinseed are the hot colors," he says.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Midwest Rainbow/Brown Trout Trout season doesn't open in Missouri's stocked trout streams until March 1, but that hasn't kept Tim Homesley of Tim's Fly Shop (timsflyshop.com)from enjoying some great catch-and-release action. "I was fishing this morning," he said, "and I'll be back out there this afternoon." Homesley has been fishing the lower sections of the Roaring River where the fish are off limits and reserved for anglers throwing artificial lures and flies. "The River is fishing differently this year," he said, "the water is flowing with more force over the baffles." Tom suggests angler use three to four splitshots or a small eggsinker to get their fly to the fish. The best fly for early spring trout is a #8 mohair leech or Hildebrandt spinner in size #2. He added that the dry fly fishing has been excellent. "We get huge clouds of midges and cadis everyday," he said. The upper reaches of the Roaring River¿and other streams in the program¿will open March 1 for anglers to target these farm-raised trout. "It will be butt-cheek to butt-cheek," Homesley says, explaining that hundreds of anglers will line the banks to catch thousands of stocked trout. Most of these fish will be caught on small jigs and plastic worms. When they're not fishing, anglers will huddle around campfires and drink hot coffee provided by the local Chamber of Commerce. "It¿s a fun time," says Roaring River Hatchery manger Jerry Dean, "people fish the same area each year, they see old friends and have a great time." But, for anglers who want to get away from the madness, there are still many miles of river that are relatively un-fished. "The rest of the river doesn't see as many people and it's real pretty," says Dean.Outdoor Life Online Editor
West Striped Bass "Typically striper fishing is great this time of year," reports John New at Hook Up Outfitters (thehookupoutfitters.com), "but this year has been slow." New blames a cold winter and cold water for the slow striper bite on Lake Pleasant, Arizona. "We've got several days of 80 degree weather forecast for the week," he said. "Once the water temperature hits 59 degrees, the fishing will take off." As the water warms, shad will school up on the surface and the striped bass will follow. New will target the fish with topwater plugs and poppers. Until then, he looks for schools of bait and fish with his fishfinder then drops a .5 ounce to 2-ounce metal spoon to the fish. John says that anglers will find the biggest bass away from the schools of smaller fish. He also recommends using fresh anchovies on a # 4 circle hook and a .5- to .75-ounce drop shot rig. "A reel with a line counter is a great way to fish for suspended striper. Once the water hits 60 degrees, striper fishing will be spectacular with fly rods and poppers."Outdoor Life Online Editor

From icefishing in the Northeast to big stripers out West, fishing action is beginning to heat up around the country.