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Robinson Reports: Spring Fishing in Central Nebraska

After a nice winter storm during a walleye tournament at Sherman Reservoir, the temps have steadily gotten higher, which has finally made some spring fishing patterns show themselves. I recently spent 6 days in a row doing one type of fishing or another, and things are starting to get “back to normal.”

Sandpits have been a staple of fishing in my life for, well, my entire life. I grew up fishing sandpits, and still love fishing them today. We have been in search of large pre-spawn females, and while we haven’t reached our goal (yet), we have gotten close. With the higher temps, the largemouth bass are finally moving around. We have caught them using minnows, stick baits, and jig-n-pig presentations. Target areas that hold some sort of cover, and places where they can ambush prey. Our biggest fish, including a 20 incher, came from under an old pumping platform that is no longer in use. Great cover for sure.

Another area we fished in search of slab crappies was the Tri County Canal system above Johnson Lake. The water is usually a bit warmer in the canal, so we thought we’d be able to put some fish in the boat. It turned out to be a real struggle. We fished Gallagher’s and surrounding areas pretty hard, and had not one fish to show for it. It took us a bit to realize the fish are definitely pre-spawn and getting ready to move up. This warmer weather may get them moving out of the deep water, which is exactly where we found them. The deepest water we could find held the great majority of these fish. I believe live bait would have produced more fish, but we did manage a few on jig/plastic combos.

With lake temps around the mid-50s in lots of areas, the last thing we decided to do was to see if trolling was a viable fish catching option. We headed to Johnson Lake on a day when it was gusting up to 35mph, which are sometimes the kinds of days I like to fish. The reason I say that is Johnson, like many area waters, is a wind driven lake. What I mean is when the wind is blowing, lots of times that will bring fish up shallow and prolong their feeding times. Sometimes fish are easier to catch in 10 feet of water than 20. We did find a few walleye, white bass and drum that cooperated with our power fishing tactic. It’s still a bit early though, as our low fish count would show. I do know other larger fish have been taken from area waters, and a lot of them have been on live bait.

It won’t be long until several fish species become active and aggressive and start to heavily feed. There have been spawning crappies spotted in the southern part of the state, along with largemouth bass bulking up for their spawn. Add in walleye action, and the fishing should be hot. Be prepared when it happens, because it will happen fast!

About Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson is a lifelong resident of central Nebraska who has spent his entire life chasing fish of all kinds. Nearing 100 Master Angler awards for 13 different species, Brian spends most of his time fishing central Nebraska water, including the Tri County Canal system and associated waters.

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