The Magic of MarchBy Bob Wilson - March 1, 2016
Waters start slowly warming up, and the fish being the sensitive creatures that they are, feel this change and respond. Almost all species become more active and more aggressive. They start coming out of their dormant state to begin feeding heavily and to prepare for spawning. The fish also concentrate more with the start of the migration for spawning. This is especially so for walleye and crappie. Walleye will migrate upriver on the river systems toward reefs, and rocky spawning areas on the land locked lakes. Crappies will begin to move into openings of shallow water bays. This can be a great time to be on the ice going after the newly aggressive fish.
This can also be some of the most dangerous time on the ice, because with the warming temperatures ice conditions begin to deteriorate. It is especially dangerous when fishing moving water. The ice may look safe but you can never tell what the underside of the ice is really like. There will come a point when ice fishing is no longer an option because of unsafe ice conditions. Some guys will head north to squeeze out that last little bit of ice fishing if they can.
I like to use this time to get the jigging rods and trolling rods out and prepare for the start of some of the best open water fishing the year has to offer. With ice leaving and open water showing up, this is when fisherman start transitioning equipment. Make sure you don't miss out on the fish of a lifetime because you left last years old line on your open water reels and, did not use Baitmate Fish Attractant, or because you didn't inspect and sharpen the hooks on your jig heads and stick baits. Do you really want to loose a fish to a rusty hook that broke? I'm sure we all know the answer to that.
These issues can be easily prevented with a simple inspection. Go through your jigs and get rid of the ones with rusted hooks and sharpen the ones that are not rusted. Go through your crank/stick bait box and change out any rusted trebles there may be. Moving on to my reels inspect, clean, oil or grease where needed and go over your spools for any unforeseen wear Then respool those reels with your favorite line. Just as important as your reels is your rod, First I wipe the rods from top to bottom, then I take a Q-tip and run it on the inside of my rod eyes looking for nicks or chips, and if found bad replace the rod or eyes. This is just as bad as not changing your line, and if you are like me, add some new baits to the box and keep Baitmate Fish Attractant on hand at all times.
Now that all our fishing gear is ready, is my boat, motor, and trailer good to go for the upcoming fishing season. Just because you winterized and changed the gear lube, or if you have a 4 stroke and did a oil and filter change, that is only a small start to upcoming open water season. Let's start with the most under looked part of your rig The Trailer. But I only go 10 miles or less, yes but how long will your rig sit in your driveway without moving. What hurts a trailer is sun and lack of use. Tires rotting, valve steams go bad and let's not forget your bunks rotting or bad rollers and one last thing, your wheel bearings need a little grease to make the season. If you take care of all basic care and maintenance your trailer needs, it will out live your boat.
So while you are trying to end the ice season with a bang keep a few things in mind: Be careful of the changing ice conditions, take an evening to give your open water equipment an inspection before using it, and as as always remember to have fun and get kids involved in the sport of fishing.