Even though air temperatures are yo-yoing across much of the Northeast, water temperatures are is warming up enough for bass, pickerel and panfish to start moving.
This morning, we rowed across a lake in upstate New York’s Helderbergs. Our host, Willard, said the fish were hitting, “shallow, a few inches below the surface.”
For the first hour, it seemed as if the fish Willard had found were gone. Further, no fish were hitting a fresh night crawler, fished deep.
Then, things woke up. The first fish was a pickerel, just about the legal minimum length, in New York - - which is 15 inches. Pickerel are nick-named “snakes” for their long, submarine like bodies. The best part of catching this pickerel was that I was able to release it without hurting the fish or getting a handful of its needle-like teeth.
Next, we caught - - and immediately released - - several large- and smallmouth bass. Some of the fish were small, but two of them were good-sized.
The trip wound up with a few hits from rock-bass, and a sunfish following a lure.
On this trip, lures were successful but bait was not. We had luck with a Panther Martin, several different Mepps spinners and a wonderfully fishy-looking jointed Rapala.
The fish on this trip are what are called warmwater fish; they can live in waters much warmer than the cold streams and lakes required by trout and salmon.
Even though we had a great session on the water, the best is likely yet to come! We did not see any nests made by panfish, such as sunfish. The fish, while plentiful, were still hitting the lures in a sluggish manner. So, more and livelier fishing is likely to arrive soon.