The weather is still the story. Just as we think we’ll get the ice off the water we get another cold snap. But still, we’re getting very close to open water.

As open water becomes a better bet, it’s time to get ready to do some early season fishing from shore as the ice clears from the shallow bays and channels. This is a great time to get a variety of fish just as the ice disappears. There will be numbers of Northern pike in the shallows finishing their spawning activity that will spawn under the ice in the 34-degree water. The pike will be hungry after expending the energy to spawn, so plan on using a good quality 12 lb. fluorocarbon line and a plastic swim bait. Keep your cast in close to shore as they will be cruising looking for food.

If bass fishing is more to your liking you’ll want to try large profile creature bait like a Berkeley Pit Boss or a Strike King Rage Bug, Texas rigged, so you can fish the thick brush near shore without getting hung up. If you’re out fishing on a bright sunny day besides the brush piles, try throwing that rig near or under any kind of structure like a dock. Even in the cold water the bass will look for cover.

My choice for this time of year is crappie fishing. I like making it fun with an ultralight rod and 4 to 6 pound test line and a small float. The crappies will be in schools so when you locate them the action will be pretty quick. The best place to locate the crappies would be in the marinas and any area with boat slips, as the crappies like to cruise the areas for food and possible spawning grounds. I would suggest a 1/16 ounce to 1/8 ounce jig with a small plastic trailer; you really don’t need live bait this early in the year for crappie. Color choice would be a white twister tail, pink or red jig head for color contrast.

The time is close to wet lines again.

Until the next time… keep a tight line.