Well, here we are.
Let's ignore the situation we're in and focus on the fishing close to home.
The water is cold.
First off, bass season (in the form of the new Catch and Release) season is open. But how does one catch bass this early in the year?
Well here are my top 3 approaches:
1.) Live bait. Although it can be hard to get with store closing and such, large shiners will produce, especially in water adjacent to structure in 22-30 FOW. On days where the sun is shining, look for early prespawn fish around the ends of long points outside of areas where bass will spawn.
2.) Jerkbait. We usually miss the jerkbait bite here, but cold water fishing with a suspended jerkbait is a real gem. I like Rouges personally, but this is a legacy of having fished down on Bull Shoals a great deal.
3.) Float and Fly. Always good for a few bites.
Now for the report: Crappies are starting to show up in the usual spring locations. Look for patches of weeds or laydowns close to deeper water. Small tail hooked minnow underneath a slip bobber is the best all around approach, but don't overlook a small #10 sized red hook with a waxworm or spike when the bite is tough. if you're out and find an active school, small tube or hair jigs can really go to town on them.
Its still a bit early for bluegills, but as the water warms over the next 10 days to two weeks, start to look for them in current areas. As the water gets into the low 50's, fish will start to gravitate towards north banks and areas of current. You can get right in a hurry if you find the right school and can make a subtle (ie quiet) presentation and not spook them.
Rock River walleye run is winding down, but the white bass are starting to run.
Back with more as I am out more often.