It finally feels like summer is here with many big fish being caught, along with countless memories and smiles with Rodsbent Guide Service in the last week.
The last week I have seen some of the best days all season, and some of the toughest. Feeding areas are changing rapidly; we have seen 10 degree differences in surface water temps in the past four days and mayfly larvae cluttering the graph, and that rollercoaster has fish on the move! As I always say, get ready to start graphing. Side Imaging on your Humminbird is your greatest asset on the water. With rapidly warming water temps in the mid 60s, hatches are starting and fish are starting to show up in your shallow mud of 6-12ft. On days with a good breeze I like to still fish my deeper stuff of 22-34ft transitional areas. Lindy rigging larger minnows and leeches has been producing best however I expect to start switching over to crawlers very shortly. If you are sitting atop fish you have the utmost confidence are walleye and are struggling to get bites, try snap-jigging. Many times this triggers an instinct bite and can put a few fish in the boat. Slip bobbering atop reefs in 6-18ft of water in low light periods has also began to produce good numbers of fish.
Opening weekend saw a lot of fish moving but the struggle was getting fish to eat. Being on the tail end of recovery, expect activity to increase every day the water warms up. Your shallow, primary stuff is holding most fish however the open water bite should start very soon. As for bait selection, think small at this time of year.
Lots of big smallmouth are being caught right now in 2-5ft of sand. Fish are bedding and are very hungry. Last week it was a strong jerk bait bite, however this week slowing down a little and casting green/chart swimbaits has been the ticket.
Fishing for pike has been awesome as of late. Vegetation on the west end of the lake is beginning to come in thick, so finding deeper cabbage or casting jig/chub combos or swimbaits along these edges will produce best.
The western basin of the lake has shown good catches of crappie in 2-5ft faster warming back bays, however, I really want to stress the importance of catch and release on your smaller fish. The crappie fishery on Vermilion is VERY fragile and can be decimated very quickly. Last season was a great year for size as well as numbers but I can already see that changing. The mindset should be conservationists first, anglers second.