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4 Freshwater Species You Can Catch in Early Spring

Last Updated: 12.07.24

For anglers who are not fond of going ice fishing, spring is the best season, as they can, once again, grab their gear and head over their favorite fishing spots. Summer is, of course, everyone’s favorite, but you do not have to wait this long. More seasoned fishermen know very well that early spring is a fantastic time for catching great fish.



Simple tips to follow when fishing at the beginning of spring

Before talking what kind of freshwater species you can find during this season, let’s see a few things you should know as an angler. For starters, you should pack a lot of live bait with you. Freshwater fish is just starting to move around, and it is starved for nutritious foods. The fish can even become greedy when presented with tasty treats, and you should use this simple fact to your advantage.

Another great tip you should follow is that you need to focus on fishing during afternoons. Early morning is not such an excellent time, for the simple reason that it is too cold for fish to come out on the hunt for food. They prefer afternoons when the weather becomes warmer, and water temperature rises, creating the perfect environment for feeding.

Think small, think slow. Fish can be pretty lethargic as winter bids us good-bye and therefore, hunting larger prey is not something it aims at. Also, it can be quite slow, so you need to match your pace. On retrieval, make sure to do it slowly enough, so you can catch the fish.



Freshwater species that are easy to catch in early spring


Catfish is an eager eater

If you consider early March and April for going fishing, you cannot go wrong if you are targeting catfish. At best, catfish can be regarded as a scavenger, as it feasts on all the dead animal tissue sunk at the bottom of the body of water where it lives. This fish is like a sanitization machine that devours everything, making the water healthier and clearer. There is a significant advantage for anglers in this type of behavior. Catfish is greedy and tends to feed on everything that happens on its way, so your bait will be no exception.


Walleye travels to shallow waters

Another fish you can quickly catch in early spring is walleye. This fish wakes up after the long winter with one purpose in mind: to migrate towards spawning areas. That means that it goes from the depth of the bodies of water where it spent its winter to shallow waters that are warmer and represent a better environment for feeding and spawning. Remember to focus on creeks and tributaries, as this is where you will get the biggest chances to catch walleye with very little effort.

Northern Pike is spooky in spring

This species is known to be easy to catch in summer, but there are no significant differences if you go after it in early spring. The same baiting methods can be used, with one tiny difference. It is recommended to reduce the size of your spinnerbaits and spoons since the clearer waters will make your bait easy to spot. The Northern Pike can quickly become wary of your presence since it prefers to spend more time at the surface of the water. Make sure to approach with extra care.


Trout requires a different baiting method

If your idea of catching trout reminds you of pristine waters in chilly summer mornings in the mountains, you should reconsider it for early spring strategy. The runoff makes the water muddier, and there is little visibility, so you will not spot the trout with ease. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you can forget about catching trout. You will just need to change your strategy from surface flies to sinking flies. The latter will look like small worms and baitfish, and trout will be instantly interested in catching it.


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