The Sportsman’s World — Not Your Ideal Spring

By Leon Archer

While the lake fishing for trout and salmon seemed to be on track for another good year, with plenty of good-sized browns being caught near shore, the fishing for warm water species has been pretty much hit or miss. 

The inshore lake fishing has slowed down now as the trout have moved into deeper water, but once fishermen locate them, they are still hitting. 

Lake fishermen are starting to get more steelheads in the mix as those fish have moved back into the lake from their spawning run and are feeding on whatever crosses their path as they gain weight and recover from the rigors of spawning.

Northern pike and walleye fishermen are having a harder time of it. Cloudy water from the heavy rains have made it harder for the big predators to find the baits and lures. The luckier fishermen who come in with a limit of walleyes will tell you the fishing is great, but many boats come in with a much different story. 

The high cold water left a lot of walleyes still up the streams on their spawning beds when the season opened, but as they gradually drifted back into the lake, they were still hard to come by. 

The good thing is, as we move into June, all the negative conditions should become just a memory and the wonderful Oneida Lake walleye fishery will be back on track. Hot fillets anyone?

Northern pike are affected by the same muddy water and cold temperatures. As the season opened, many of the big females were still in the shallow weeds laying eggs. 

Once they were through with the annual rite, they began looking for perch or shad to fill their empty stomachs. They were biting if a fisherman could get his offering close enough for them to see. 

Many of those larger females that were caught did not fight very well. I suspect the reason was they were still weak from their spawning activities. People don’t realize what an arduous task it is for them. Won’t be long and they will put up a good show for themselves once again.

Up on the St. Lawrence, the fishing has been slow as well. The bullhead fishing was not great, but perch fishermen have had some success when they find a school. 

Those waters are clear, but they are still cold. Perch have moved out of their spawning aggregations, so they are spread out far and wide in smaller groups. 

We are getting close to bass season, and the colder water may have set their timetable back just a bit as well, but I think fishermen will still find decent action on the opener. Don’t expect to catch much on fast moving lures though. 

I have talked with numerous fishermen who have told me that bass fishing along Oswego County’s Lake Ontario shoreline has been rather poor over the past two or three years. Seems like the fish are just not in residence there in any real numbers. 

I have no idea why that might be. I would be interested in hearing from bass fishermen who fish this area, about both this year’s experiences and their take on the recent past.

Another turkey season has come and runs out today. I hope you did well, and I also hope there are plenty of hens sitting on big clutches of eggs or even leading a group of little poults around already. 

I love to see them even if they avoid me during hunting season. Until next week folks, good fishing.

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