Nobody likes a “Know It All”, but I knew it!!! Our incredibly warm March weather turned out to be fools gold, and Mother Nature has definitely had a change of heart. The joke is on us, and it looks more like February around here than April. Fresh snow and cool temps have slowed the ice melting process, and we’re heading for more normal ice out dates on our inland lakes than previously expected. After driving around yesterday, most of the larger lakes are still covered up with several smaller lakes wide open or somewhere in between. Chequamegon Bay however is now wide open, and the Duluth/Superior Harbor is as well. We’re getting there gang, and in a few weeks it’ll be full steam ahead.
This is generally a slow time for fishing in our area, but there are a few opportunities out there. Lake Superior tributaries have opened up, and the steelhead crowd has been at it since March 26th. The reports to this point have been slow. Josh Teigen did some wading early this week and reported tough conditions with very inactive fish. His pal John Darwin landed this beauty however that was released after the photo. Josh suggests drifting egg patterns or spawn at this time of year as the best option to get these fish to chomp. Our next good warm up should push more fish in and get the bite going. Until then, you’re going to work for every one you get. That’s O.K. too… Nobody said it was easy, and that’s why they’re such special fish!!! The smelt run has yet to kick in on Chequamegon Bay, and I expect to hear reports of fish running withing the next couple of weeks. I haven’t heard of many people getting after early panfish on inland lakes yet, but a little warm weather will certainly change that as well. Trollers are starting to get after trout and salmon along the Lake Superior shorelines, and we should have more information on that bite in our next report. It will all come together in a hurry, so organize your boats, change line on your reels, and sharpen those hooks. The spring rush will be here before you know it!
We made our annual trip to Islamorada in the Florida Keys last month and had an opportunity to get back in the boat with Capt. Jim Willcox, as well as Capt. Erik Ehlers out of Bud n Mary’s Marina. Jim and I have fished together many years, and this was our first time out with Erik. As luck would have it the cold weather followed us, and we arrived just in time for a cold front. Keep in mind that a cold front in Florida is a bit different than what we’re used to, but salt water fish have an incredibly negative reaction to changes in weather. Normally tarpon would’ve been on the agenda, but is wasn’t going to happen. Jim and Erik made the best of it however, and put us on fish despite some really crummy conditions. My father Jim along with my guiding partner Terry Peterson joined me for a fun couple of days and we caught a bunch of different species including snook, redfish, grouper, snapper, and sharks. Even though we were dealt a bad hand with the weather, everyone had a blast. Our adventure with Jim also included an interesting confrontation between Terry and an 8 ft. crocodile, but that’s another story for another day… Jim and Erik did a fantastic job, and we had lots of laughs along the way. If you’re looking for a getaway adventure with some great fishing opportunites, I highly recommend looking up my friends Jim and Erik at Bud N Mary’s. I’ve been doing it for many years, and I guarantee I’ll be back. Tarpon be ware!!!