As we get ever nearer to opening day of the Wisconsin game fishing season on May 1, the weather is hard to figure out. The up-and-down temperatures are certainly having an effect on the water temperatures and the spawning activities of the fish.

Anglers sure wish the weather would settle down and get rid of this up-and-down behavior. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised if we had 80-degree weather followed by a snowstorm on opening weekend. Such is life in the North Woods. It is nice to see some loons back and hear other waterfowl on the lakes.

It is hard to determine the spawning level of walleyes at this time, with some having finished and, on some lakes, still some in the process. At this moment, we have hopes that the walleyes on many lakes will have come back to weeds after recovering from the spawn. This can make for an excellent fishing opener across the area, with even some of the bigger fish —?the females — providing action on that weekend. As always, jigs and minnows will be the favored bait to use. More on that next week, as we get ever nearer to that long-awaited opener.

The perch spawn is over, with the exception of a few cold-water lakes. As always, it happened very quickly as the ice left the lakes, especially on the Eagle River and Three Lakes Chain. There were reports that the fish had spawned and left only four to five days after the ice-out on some lakes. Anglers can still catch some perch feeding in rather shallow water, usually in the warmest water and in the weeds. Minnows are by far the best at this time of the year. Very light tackle works the best, with ultralight rods the most effective in this shallow water.

Crappies have been in and out of the shallow water with the weather. If it will stay warm, some will move in pre­spawn to feed in the shallows, but get kicked out if the temperatures fall. This makes finding them extremely difficult until we get warm, consistent weather in late April or early May.

Until the opening weekend, anglers can always fish for walleyes in the rivers to the south where the season is open, or work on our tackle and boats, or rake our yards and do other yard work. Or just loaf around until the first of May.

Good luck and good fishin’.