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Transition Fish

The calendar says it is April.  Must be spring?

Right.  For the first time in my life, there have been folks ice fishing in Nebraska in April!  No, I was not out west where I could still get on the ice, but I know for a fact that there are some who have been!

Many are feeling like this:


There are parts of the state getting piles of snow, again, and blizzard conditions, as I write this.

Eventually the weather will flip.  By July the water should all be liquid and we will not be fishing through holes in the ice.  At some point, you might as well transition from ice fish to open water fishing.  Most years that will happen in March.  This year, just a few weeks ago, this was the last fish I pulled through a hole in the ice:

Emily Brown photo.

Just a couple of weeks later, I dried off my first open water fish for the year:


That got me thinking of previous years and previous transitions. . . . Trout are coldwater fish and I have often pursued them as my “transition” fish.  Have gone from catching carp through the ice:

Yeah it’s a carp. So what? I caught it through the ice on a jigging spoon, hooked in the mouth!

To small stream trout in just a day or two:


But, my best ice to open transition came on the SAME DAY early one spring.  It was one of those beautiful early spring days, finally lots of warm sunshine, light winds, but there was still ice to fish!

IMG_1496 (2)crop

After a couple of hours and a few miles down the road, found some nice warming open water.  Yep, the pike were up, and yes, I had both open water tackle and ice fishing tackle with me!

IMG_1514 (2)

Love it when a plan comes together!  Love it when I can seamlessly transition from ice fishing to open water!  It’s time!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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