Fishing Report - Opener 2023!

Posted by Swanson's Bait & Tackle on 15th May 2023

Despite the late ice out this spring, you couldn't ask for much better of a weekend to open up the season! We had a good walleye chop all weekend without blowing too hard, along with some decent cloud cover for Saturday. Anglers were able to take advantage of it, and we heard a lot of positive reports across the area.  

Fish were definitely up a little shallower on most lakes as you would expect, and most of the action took place in the early morning or at dusk and after dark. It's always hard to beat a nice minnow on a jig during May, and this year was no exception with most fish coming off rainbows, shiners, and fatheads. Bouncing jigs off the first breaks in 6'-12' paid off the best. On some lakes fish were holding a little deeper, but the formula was the same. In some cases where the fish were really shallow and finicky the best luck came from pitching jigs up as far as you could and swimming them back. Crankbaits produced a lot of fish as well over the weekend - trolling or casting shallow flats in the evening was consistently picking up walleye on many area lakes.

The crappie bite fired up big time this week. Most small to mid sized lakes have the slabs pushing into the shallows. Look for any shallow reeds and timber to find the fish that are moving up. This time of year, the best way to find them is to get on that trolling motor and pitch to the shoreline as you slowly move along - bass fishing style. Pitch to any pockets of cover you can find, but keep moving until you tie in to some crappies. Once you start picking a few off you can dissect the pattern from there. You can't beat a crappie minnow, but some nice crappie plastics will get the job done well, and you'll spend less time fishing minnows out of a bucket and more time with the line in the water. If you're fishing a colder lake or the fish just aren't in the shallows, pull of the first edge of the spawning grounds and work them a little deeper. 

Most of the serious bass anglers were chasing prespawn smallmouth, and the water temps have them holding off the breaks still with not much shallow. Smaller plastics skittering on the bottom worked best out in 6'-14'. We didn't hear a lot of reports, but the smallies should pick up quite a bit over the next week.