With last Sunday’s snow and colder weather, a few dedicated crappie anglers still ventured out there for that last ice fishing outing.

The biggest thing about spring ice is that it weakens so much from the sun on the surface and you just can’t trust it. The other big thing about the ice at this time of year is that conditions can change almost overnight. Anglers had been looking at an early ice-out, but now it is beginning to look like a more normal year in mid-April. 

This is the time of year that our thoughts run to the rivers south of here, where the walleye season is open. There are many boats heading south at this time, especially on weekends. It can get crowded at landings, but with patience you can get on these spots and get some “line time” in on southern waters. As with most of the year, minnows are the best bait to take along for this fishing.

Then all of a sudden the ice goes out and anglers can start perch fishing up here. These fish come right to the shorelines after the ice goes out. This can be great fishing for a week or so, and is a great way to test out your equipment for the upcoming opening day adventures. When perch fishing, look for the warmest shorelines on the lake and look for cover — stumps, downed trees, last year’s weeds, piers, boathouses and such. The back of bays, like the “bullpen” on Yellow Birch Lake have warm water and produce good fishing every year. Don’t hesitate to fish very shallow. The bad thing about this fishing is the time period is short. If you don’t get out in the first week or so, that spawn is over. Worms or minnows work quite well. It seems the fathead minnows produce bigger perch than the smaller crappie minnows.

After the perch run, anglers can look forward to the walleye opener. This year it is the earliest it can be at May 1. The fishing is best if the walleyes have spawned, gone deeper to recover and are moving back into the early growing weeds and wood near shore to feed. Again, minnows are best. These fish are hungry when this pattern is on and this fishing can be great fun.

Anglers have so much to look forward to at this time of year.

Good luck and good fishin’.