The ice is FINALLY gone along the Front Range and the lakes are open! I have been able to get out the kayak a few times this season and have been having a lot of success! Today Iím going to share with you whatís been working and what to look for in the next few weeks.
For starters, the water temps Iíve been seeing have been between 45-53 degrees with main lake areas hovering around 49 degrees. In the early spring I often look for the warmest water possible. However, the warmest water is sometimes ultra-shallow and some fish (think largemouth) arenít ready to get that shallow just yet. For example, in a recent trip I found myself in a cove where the water temps were 53 degrees. The water was only two feet deep and it was full of life. There were carp, catfish, and shad everywhere! I was targeting bass on this trip and couldnít get a bite in that area. A few days later I visited the same spot and hooked into two largies. I have a feeling that a big wave of largemouth bass will move into this area soon (if they havenít already) and treat themselves to an all-you-can-eat buffet. If you get the timing right, these days can be explosive! So if youíre into bass fishing, get ready to look shallow and target those fish with a variety of lures: chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, squarebills, swimjigs, swimbaits, jerkbaits, etc.
The walleye have also been pretty active as of late but seem to be pretty picky from what I can tell. I recently caught some walleye in rocky areas in eight to 14 feet of water on small jigs. Meanwhile, it didnít seem like any of the walleye trolling boats around me were catching anything except stocker trout. One of the walleye was milting and another was a pre-spawn female. During the day I target walleye from my kayak using jigs, jerkbaits, and blade baits. If I had a big boat I would also be trolling some crankbaits on leadcore but that is not my area of expertise so I wonít go into detail on that. At night time Iíd look for those fish in spawning areas around rocks, wind-blown points, inlets, and anywhere there is moving water. Jerkbaits are the ticket at night, but it is important to find the right jerkbait depending on its running depth and how much side-to-side action it gives off. A Smithwick Rogue
is often an early spring go-to jerkbait for me in targeting night walleye so give that a shot. Other solid choices are Rapala Husky Jerks, Original Floating Rapalas, Storm Thundersticks, and Rapala Shadow Raps.
Lastly, I will briefly touch on trout, crappie, and smallies. CPW is going around stocking rainbow trout in various bodies of water. Keep an eye on the stocking report on the CPW website and you can find spots where the stocker trout action is non-stop. Rainbows are spring spawners and will be ultra-aggressive right now biting on pretty much any trout lure you throw at them: kastmasters, HD trout, jerkbaits, powerbait
, worms, and so on. The crappie have been active if you can find them. I like targeting those fish using crappie tube jugs under a slip bobber. Last but not least, the smallmouth have been active biting crankbaits, tube jigs, ned rigs
, jigging raps, and blade baits. For the smallies target rocky areas in 8 to 14 feet of water, but if youíre not having success you might wanna go deeper with heavy metal lures around points to see if you can stumble across a population of deep fish. If youíre trophy hunting you might even want to try a bass jig up shallow and see if you can pick up an early spring smallmouth giant!
To see some of these tips in action, you can see a video I put together of a recent fishing trip at this link
Good luck out there everyone. I hope these tips get you on some spring fish!