It’s been an odd Spring in Southern Illinois for sure. We are generally begging for it to stop raining by now and that is not the case this year. Rend for example is about 2′ below what it should be this time of year. This definitely changes the “Bush bite”. There isn’t much water on most of the Buck Brush so I have been targeting lay downs and shallow visible brush. It does not take much to hold a few good Crappie when they are competing for spawning territory. Small branches that we would normally pass over are holding 5 or 6 good fish this year.
We’ve also dealt with some fronts that moved through the past couple of days and I am a barometric pressure junkie who loves to use high pressure as an excuse. I noticed that during the front the productive wood I was catching fish from were pretty much vacant the last couple of days. I just assumed the bite was going to be much slower but once we targeted less obvious or wood that didn’t look quite as good we started to catch fish. To me that means the fish weren’t moving up on a daily basis during the front. Generally Crappie will replenish a good bush or lay down on a daily basis.
Another scenario I found interesting was the behavior of spawning fish and the clarity of water. On the north end of Rend we have water that is more stained and in some instances (when we get rain) just plain muddy. These fish can be caught in as little as 10″ and down to a couple of feet. In the mid lake area where we have a foot or so of visibility I was catching them in 2- 3′ of water. On the far south end of Rend which is considered the lower end of the lake we were having to move towards the ends of lay downs and target fish in 3-6 feet. I’m assuming this is related to sun penetration for the eggs and maybe even the comfort level of the fish not wanting to be spooked in shallow clear water. There are of course exceptions but I know that on Kinkaid we generally fish even deeper for spawning fish. You can catch them on a lay down in relatively clean water in 4-8 feet of water.
I love this time of year but I am also looking forward to the summer bite. However, I am not enjoying the heat the older I get. I definitely enjoy these 70 degree days. I am working on getting website and all of my ducks in a row for the upcoming shipment of rods that we are expecting in June. The week they arrive I will take care of my retailers first then put everything on line. I have several new stores I am excited about working with. I have a new business plan that will help me keep my prices at an affordable level for my great customers. I will not be taking credit form retailers. This will dramatically improve cash flow and keep the pipeline of rods at a more steady flow. I want to thank all my great pro staffers out there on the tournament trail and all of my amazing customers. You will never know what it means to me to be a small part of your day on the water. Thank you. Andy Lehman.