Spring has sprung and the runs are getting started. There's fish being caught in the Dells, at Depere and along the stretches of the Rock River between the Jefferson Dam and Blackhawk Island.
In years past I've fished the Dells and Depere, but I know the Rock River (because of its geographic location) better. My last post was my annual one with information resources related to the Rock River. Conditions dictate success and strategy on the Rock every year. In years with high, fast and dirty water...you'll have more success anchoring over current breaks/channel drops and fishing with heavy three way rigs. In years where you can control your drifting, vertical jigging is typically the key. If you can't get a bite doing either of these things, anchor at the very top of a deeper hole (upstream side). Then drag a lindy rig through the hole. Cast out the back of the boat, and inch the rig along the bottom with short twitches of the rod tip.
One pattern I like to use that doesn't get enough credit is bouncing a shad style crankbait off of rocks/wingdams. I've used the smallest Rapala shad raps in bright patterns to do this for years. The Rock is very snaggy, but if you keep contact with your bait during cast and retrieve you can use the lips on the bait to deflect off the rocks.
Last point: Every day will have an active feeding window where action will be better for a short time. Usually this is in the warmer part of the day, but I've seen it happen around 9:30am too. Just understand that success on the Rock can be tied to the time you put in.
Most of the area lakes are open. A few brave souls that ventured out during the run of nice weather have reported some limited success, but folks I talked with suggested they were looking for fish shallower than I would be right now.
If you're on the water looking for pannies look for them on the first drop into deeper water near the early warming areas. They won't make a big move shallow until the warmer temps stabilize just a bit, but it won't be long now. Best bet...small red hook #10 or #12 with a waxie or spike will produce more bites right now than anything else you can throw.
Talk to you soon.