As we move into the early fishing season, we realize that things are late by past standards and the spawning activity of all fish is a little slower than past years.

We are still seeing walleye engaged in spawning long after we thought they would be done and gone from the shorelines. Water temperatures (in the upper 40s) were really reduced significantly by last week’s cold front and cold rain, and it will take a while to recover from that. 

Water levels are very high — as high as we have seen them in recent years. Most of the boat landings are in good shape despite the high water. Current in the Wisconsin River is very high due to the high water level, making that difficult to fish. Let’s hope for warm weather to get these water temps up by Memorial Day weekend.

Walleye fishing has been pretty good, with spawning activity continuing later than usual. Most of the activity in the early season seems to be with males, but some nice postspawn females have been reported lately also. As usual, the best activity has been on jigs and minnows, but a number of anglers report action on jigs with swim baits. Look for shoreline cover such as logs or cribs to still hold some fish. On the larger deeper lakes, things are even a bit slower and there are some fish still on the shorelines spawning in the evenings and at night. As always, jigs and minnows are the best baits on these lakes. Water temps are quite cold on these lakes and will take longer to warm up. On the Wisconsin River, it seems the walleyes have spawned and dropped back toward the Rainbow Flowage already, making this a tough season along with that big current.

Bass season is open for largemouths, but we are seeing some large female smallmouths scouting and feeding along shorelines. They are great fun to catch, but remember they are not legal to keep until later. Handle with care.The largemouth action will pick up with warmer temps.

Northern pike action has increased lately. Most pike seem to be caught by anglers targeting walleye with minnows along shorelines or in emerging weeds. Look for these weeds to hold most of these fish, and they will be very active as the water warms and the weeds grow.

Panfish action has been good, but a little unpredictable. The perch spawn was interrupted by the cold fronts. That spawn is over now. Some crappies are being caught by a number of anglers. These fish will provide great action for several weeks now. Look for warm water and shallow weeds for these fish. Crappie minnows with very light tackle works best.

It’ll be a great week to fish. Get out there!

Good luck and good fishin’.