5 Early Spring Fishing Tips

By Andy Whitcomb

Mar 20, 2017

There is a dramatic increase in fish activity in early spring. Here are 5 early spring fishing tips.

Some parts of the country may still be shoveling snow off sidewalks but by the calendar at least, anglers should be getting ready for early spring fishing. There is a steady warming of the water and this alters the behavior of fish. Several species of fish spawn in early spring and become concentrated in certain areas and depths. With a little research and close direct observation, anglers can learn about the opportunities and how to fish this time of year.

5 Early Spring Fishing Tips

Trout. State stocking programs usually enhance stream fishing prospects with a significant dose of early spring trout. Pennsylvania also has a Youth Mentor Day which allows young anglers to fish the week before “opening day,” and has now added more “trophy” fish to select steams. One early spring fishing tip is to go after fish raised in hatcheries. These fish are hungry and easy to fool with small lures, at least for the first week or two. In catch and release areas however, trout begin to learn the tricks of anglers and become a wary challenge.

Pike. Soon after ice out, shallow, weedy areas draw pike to spawn. While en route or leaving these zones, pike will do their “pike thing” and smash spinnerbaits, jigs, and spoons. Wire leaders will help prevent the line being cut by sharp impressive teeth.

Crappie. In early spring, crappie head up coves and congregate tightly around submerged brush. Another early spring fishing tip is to use a tiny crappie jig a couple of feet below a small, twitching bobber that will hold a jig above snags and in the zone of strikes.

Walleye. This time of year, walleye enter the mouths of smaller tributaries to spawn. In reservoirs, anglers should concentrate their efforts around the riprap of the dam in evenings. Large lipped diving plugs, swimbait jigs, or underspin lures are favorites.

Bass. Although many anglers prefer not to bother bass on a nest, the sight of an enormous female bass may be just too tempting to pass up. However, actually catching one may be frustrating. The lure, perhaps a light-colored creature bait or sunfish imitation may get completely ignored, or just mouthed to remove from the nest.  If you hook one, take a quick photo and immediately release to help future generations.

As the country begins to turn greener and flowers appear, fish are becoming more active. Early spring fishing can be very exciting. What are your favorite early spring fish to catch? And that fishing license is up to date, right?
Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.