Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 64

BY ADAM VALLEE

For Wild Northerner

Birds are chirping, the days are getting longer and the snow and ice is all but gone. These are all sure signs spring is here and it is time to get the boat out of storage and ready for the soft water. While most bass fisherman in Ontario are anxiously waiting for the bass opener, here in zone 10 we have a specific region with a year round bass season. Already being an area where bass is basically ignored, this makes this part of Zone 10 a true paradise for any bass fisherman.

Up here in the North, by the time the ice leaves our lakes and rivers, bass are already thinking about their pre-spawn rituals. Fish have already been triggered for the spring by the length in our days and bass have already started to make their way to the banks. Starting to think about the spawn, look for these fish to be posted up on main lake structure outside of major creeks, bays, and spawning flats. Main lake structure can be anything from a pile of rocks off the first break, to a steep drop off a main lake point. Just remember when the ice first leaves the bass are going to relate to main lake structure close to deeper water.

During this "ice out" time period you’re really going to want to slow down any presentation that you throw. Although these fish are in spring time mode, the water during this time period will still be in the high 30 to mid 40 degree range, which will have their metabolisms acting slowly. Good hard baits for this time of year are mid-deep diving crank baits and jerk baits. Fish both baits slowly and incorporate long pauses and bursts into your retrieve. When picking a crank bait, remember to pick a bait that has a tight wobble or action to it. The Rapala DT series or the shad rap are good choices for this time of year.

If you’re having trouble getting bass to eat a reaction bait it may be time for you to slow your method. Tubes, grubs, and drop shot rigs can be second to none this time of year. Use shaky heads, tube jig heads, and regular jig heads to rig your favourite tube or grub. Drag and work these baits slowly over and around main lake structure when the bite gets tough.

As the water begins to warm into the high 40 to mid 50 degree range, bass are becoming more active and are really starting to transition. Start to look off of secondary points this time of year leading into spawning bays. Secondary points serve as structure leading into a spawning area, where bass can feed and stay. Bass will hold here until their beds are ready and the water temperature and conditions line up as good as they can get to spawn. Bass are usually going to hit several secondary points along the way to spawning. This is often one of the best times of year to bass fish and is a time of year when you can really find the big females schooled up together.

Covering water this time of year is truly the name of the game. Now is the time to put your bow mount on full and go. You may cover a couple miles of shorelines before you connect, but usually when you connect these fish are not alone. Once you have located fish, whether through a follow up or bite, slow down and start to thoroughly work that area.

This time of year is beyond a doubt a power fisherman's dream, as casting and winding can work quite well. Casting lipless, square bill, and a mid to shallow running crank bait is a great way to cover water and catch a good number of bass as well. Although covering water is the goal, you want to make sure to do this effectively. In saying this, play with your retrieve to really find what the fish are keying on that particular day. Sometimes, they want a crank bait moving slowly deflecting off bottom, while other times they want a rattle trap buzzing past their face not leaving them a choice but to react.

Another great way to target these early spring bass is by using a jerk bait. There are many different types of jerk baits, and during the spring they all have their time to shine. From deep to shallow, use the water temperature as a guide of what jerk bait to use and how hard to work it. Colder water may require a deeper diver to be worked very slowly with lots of pauses, where in warmer 55 degree plus water you may want a shallower diving bait that you work harder and quicker with less pauses. In the spring when the water is in the 50's start your cadence with a jerk-jerk pause and work forward from there. Generally, start with a two to three second pause and again use that as a starting point, then work it less or more according to how the fish want it that specific day.

One of the biggest things to remember this time of year is that bass are looking to do two things, eat and spawn. If you put yourself in the right places this time of year, it can truly serve as your best chance to get a true northern giant.

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BY ADAM VALLEE

For Wild Northerner

BY ADAM VALLEE

For Wild Northerner

Ice out means lines out for blasting bass