Thursday, April 28, 2011

Muskies and Northern Pike Provide Mayhem In Many Diverse Situtations

Photo By: Landon Hoffman

For those fisherman looking for the ultimate rush and a solid fight, look no further than the muskellunge.  Muskie’s are known as the fish of 1000 casts.  Muskellunge will eat fish, ducklings and even small muskrats. It waits in weed beds looking to ambush is prey. With a keen sense of sight the muskie then attacks and gulps down the stunned or dead victim head first.  Muskie’s are light silver, light green or light brown colored and usually have dark bars running up and down their long bodies. 
            In addition to their sight, muskie’s use their lateral lines to find food. This is a series of small holes with hairs inside that are scattered around their body surface. When something moves in the water it wiggles the hairs, and the fish can tell a meal is nearby.  Muskellunge are found primarily in clear lakes, slow-moving rivers, and backwaters.  Muskies tend to stay in a home territory rather than range widely.
            They prefer clear water with a temperature of 68 to 72 degrees.  Since muskies prefer larger prey to satisfy their diets, I would recommend any type of bait that had a lot of vibration and colors.  Popular colors commonly used are orange and green colorations.  Along with spots and stripes this will entice and trigger bites.
            Closely related to the muskellunge is the species called Northern Pike.  With similar physical characteristics the Northern Pike is more commonly known and caught by anglers.  The quickest way to tell a northern pike from a muskie is to note that the northern has light markings on a dark body background, while muskie’s generally have dark markings on a light background.  Built for quick acceleration, they ambush prey from cover, seizing fish with needlelike teeth. Northern pike can't afford to expend that amount of energy in pursuit of prey; therefore they concentrate their efforts on larger forage. 
           Common foods are yellow perch, tullibee, suckers, minnows and other northern pike. Though northern pike eat sunfish and bass, they prefer more cylindrical fish. Northern pike also eat leeches, frogs and crayfish. Small northern pike remain in shallow weedy water through much of the year. Large northern pike move deeper as summer progresses, seeking oxygenated water of 65 degrees or cooler.
          Typical colors include perch color variations and fire tiger colors.  These are vibrant in the water and can be seen in murky or clear conditions.  One thing to consider when fishing these species of toothy fish is your children or if there are going to be children present.  These big fish can cause a lot of commotion once hooked.  Therefore, it is always a good idea to be mindful of children, especially around the giant sized hooks used to catch these big fish of prey. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Riggin' and Jiggin' for Walleye Opener

Minnesota's walleye opener is quickly approaching, with less than a month to go walleyes have began spawning and are moving to find shallow rocky areas.  By walleye opener fish will have spawned and will be in the post spawn stage.  Post spawn walleye can be somewhat docile in nature, therefore subtle jigs and rigs hovered over a fish will produce a strike!

Effective way to rig these post spawn walleye's are to rig with colors that are popular on the lake you are fishing.  If you do not know the particular color for your lake then I would suggest starting with red, gunmetal, bronze or silver colored hooks.  The key here is to make the bait appear as natural as possible.  Early in the season minnows and leeches are two popular baits, water temperature will dictate if leeches will be an effective bait, however there is still a good chance that a walleye won't resist the dance of a leech.

Photo Taken By: Alex Larson MLMP
Since these fish will be coming from the shallows, they won't have moved far from those spots.  Position yourself adjacent to these spots and fish anywhere from 5 to 15 feet depending on your particular lake.  Also, rocks and gravel are not the only place to find these fish, weeds have become an major area to provide walleyes post spawn shelter and weeds also provide opportunities for forage.  Both offer great opportunities for post spawn walleye action. 

On lakes with more rock areas, jigs are a more effective way to catch walleyes.  Jigs come in a variety of sizes and offer immediate response when a fish bites.  Also, jigs can be fished several different ways, casting, popping, snapping, and vertical are the most popular.  All give you a particular action and trigger different bites.  Never-the-less, walleye season is here, so get out and enjoy the opener and if effectively used, this information should put fish in your boat. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Time Ice-Out Crappies Are Frantic!

Photo Taken By: Alex Larson (Larson Guide Service)
  Spring time is here once again anglers, and as we see progress in the ice melt there's one thing all anglers have on their minds.  PANFISH, PANFISH, PANFISH!! Before the ice is even off the lakes crappies are on the move.  Crappies will begin to move shallow during this time period because their forage is moving shallow as well.  With sunlight being able to penetrate the water column, weed growth has already began.

In classic crappie lakes, weeds are present in 1 to 15 feet of water.  Broadleaf cabbage and Eurasian water milfoil are two weeds that grow fairly quickly once water temperature warms and sunlight is able to promote growth.  Crappies will move along these contours seeking out easy meals of minnows, bloodworms and other aquatic insects. 

CRAPPIES ARE NOT IN SPAWN MODE YET ANGLERS!  Many anglers feel that spring time brings with it the spawning for all fish species, however fish respond to water temperatures, and although crappies may be shallow in the spring time, that doesn't dictate that the spawn has began.  Spawing for crappies occurs when the water is around 65 degrees.  In some more northern lakes this temperature can be lower, because the fish have adapted. 

Immediately after ice out popular baits to use include tube jigs, tinsel head jigs, and any 1/32 to 1/16 ounce jig head tipped with a popular synthetic plastic imitation or live bait.  Colors range from lake to lake, however pink, charteuse, and electric blue tend to be the most popular among anglers.  GOOD LUCK! with the spring time bite anglers and I look forward to a safe open water fishing season!!