Over the past several springs I’ve noticed a change. I’m not sure if it’s the same across the country but here in middle America, spring is different than it used to be. This blog isn’t going to touch on any of the “whys” or “who’s responsible”, just it’s impact of spawning patterns.
I spent several years guiding professionally on Truman Lake back in its heyday in the 80’s. To be a successful fishing guide, you must understand seasonal movements of fish and know where fish are likely to be located, especially during the busy days of spring. Different species spawn at different water temperatures and more often than not, use the same locations year after year. Walleye and white bass are first to go. Most traveling up river systems and tributaries in early spring. Crappie are next to spawn nesting in coves and pockets where conditions are suitable. Bass follow shortly after in many of the same areas crappie use. It’s not unusual to catch some nice bass while fishing for spawning crappie.
Water temperature is everything when it comes to when fish do their thing. Water levels, water color, in-flow, available cover, and other factors contribute but most importantly, water temperature makes it go.
What I’m noticing is that we don’t have the gradual warm up throughout spring like we did in years past. Weather patterns have changed. We’ll get an early warm up. Fish will respond by moving with the warming weather only to see it turn cold again. Water temps will jump up to 64 or 65 degrees, just below optimum levels, only to get stuck there. Not that long ago you could estimate within a few days to when crappie would spawn. Now what used to last a week or so is strung out over several weeks. Fish are spawning later and later all the time and over longer periods. There is on “big wave” anymore and the result is more hit-or-miss results. In a word “frustration.”
Call it what you want, “global warming”, “climate change”, or “weird weather”, the fact is it’s a real thing and I’m not happy with it’s impact on spring fishing.