Spring is What Anglers Wait All Year For

While the lakes in Northern Manitoba are still blanketed with ice measuring in feet, anxious anglers are patiently waiting for spring. Spring is the time of year known through the fishing world as being magical. As the days get longer and the suns intensity increases, the remaining ice and snow begin to rapidly melt.  This increase in light and fresh water flowing into the lakes and rivers trigger fish to increase feeding after a long winter.  This also is the time of year where fish begin to stage for spawning. These factors can all combine for some of the best fishing of the entire year.

Spring Northern Pike Fishing

The onset of spring can be one of the best times to target giant pike.  Spawning generally occurs as lake temperatures rise into the mid 40°F range. This is not set in stone, spawning can take place in some lakes while there is still lots of ice! As a result, this time of year pike can be found in the first areas of the lakes with open water. Shallow water fishing, in 1 to 4 feet, can be extremely productive.  Look for a dark bottom bay or channel where a stream or river flows in or out of the lake.  Tackle is very simple.  Trophy fish can be caught on a 1/4 to 3/8 ounce jig and a 3 to 5 inch plastic tail or minnow.  Small shallow-diving crank baits are also very productive with a slow retrieve.

Fishing for Walleye in Spring

Walleye (or pickerel as they are known in some regions) are very active in the spring. Similarly to northern pike, walleyes spawn when the lake temperature is in the mid 40°F range.  Typically walleyes will spawn in areas where rivers or creeks feed into or out of a lake.  If these areas aren’t available they will look for a shallow shore that’s close to deeper structure.  Lures for walleyes in the spring tend to start smaller and then increase in size as the water continues to warm up.  In early spring a 1/8 ounce jig with a small minnow or 3 inch swim bait is often all that’s needed.  As spring continues and water temperatures warm, larger 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jigs can be used as well as smaller crankbaits.

Spring Lake Trout Fishing

Lake Trout are only found in deep freshwater lakes. In the hot summer months they will move to some of the deepest areas of a lake seeking cooler water.  These areas can be up to 130 feet deep or more.  In the spring, when the shallower water is much cooler, lake trout can be targeted effectively in under 15 feet of water.  You can often find them at the first drop-off outside of a shallow bay.  Here they will be waiting to ambush baitfish.  A 1/4 to 3/8 ounce jig with a 4 inch white tail is a great lure choice. When they can be retrieved slowly, crankbaits and spoons are a perfect choice in the spring too.

If you are a diehard northern pike angler, prefer targeting walleyes or enjoy the challenge of hooking into a lake trout, spring is the ideal time to go fishing.  With fairly basic tackle you can target these species with great success.  In conclusion, spring is the time that all anglers wait all year for!