With luck this change in the weather the past couple of weeks will stick around. Some people have uncovered their boats and started getting them ready for the season. It feels good to peel the tarp off of the boat and start cleaning it up. It will be time to bring the electronics down and the fishing rods and tackle boxes from the house when the boat has been washed and the engine started for the first time this spring.

The waters are beginning to really open up for fishing. The ice fishing season is over for the most part, unless one drives north toward Lake Superior. Most of the lakes in this area are now ice-free, and activity is picking up after this long winter. Some good reports are coming in from the Mississippi River saying that the early walleye bite is starting. With the snow melt and the accompanying runoff into the river, the water is up a little and pretty dirty, and it will be necessary to adjust for its lack of clarity. This coming weekend is the Illinois Walleye Tournament series being held out of Spring Grove on the Illinois River, where water levels are going to be fairly high because of the runoff there, but the bite should be good for the field of 200-plus anglers.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources had a couple of interesting items in one of their online news pieces about the Illinois River and the Asian carp problem. First they released a study from Southern Illinois University that researched the diversity of aquatic life in the river, which found that the Asian carp now make up 60% of the aquatic life. That is unbelievable. In keeping with those numbers, East Peoria will be holding a Flying Fish Festival and Bowfishing Tournament July 11 and 12, with cash prizes for the most fish weighed in. Local restaurants will be preparing different dishes featuring carp – that’s one way to help reduce the population of Asian carp.

As the weather keeps on the nice side, everyone should get out there and catch some fish. Until next time…keep a tight line.