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The bream and catfish spawn is on

The big news for May is the bream and catfish spawn is on!

We had service calls to lakes St. John and Concordia this week. The marinas were very busy. Lakeview Lodge on Concordia was packed with visiting as well as local anglers. Spokane Resort on Lake St. John looked the same with people and boats everywhere.

That is a great thing for the local economy. We do our best to help the visitors who drive from as far away as Alabama to fish the bream spawn. If their outboard motor, trolling motor or boat has issues, it could ruin their vacation.

A quick way to locate the bream on calm, windless days is with your nose. I can smell bream beds when boating at slow speeds down the lake. It is a strong smell that will get your attention, so if you “smell that smell,” stop the boat and fish.

On the landlocked oxbow lakes you will find lots of bream beds around or near the cypress trees that have bulrush growing around the base of the trees. The bullrush and cypress roots offer the perfect spawning site for bream.

As far as bait, it is hard to beat live crickets, but you can catch bream on fly tackle and ultra-light spinning rigs with small 1/32nd ounce black and yellow beetle spins. When using artificial bait, present the tiny lures as slowly as possible, then slow down some more.

We do have a good population of bluegill, and they prefer crickets. The larger chinquapin (also called redear sunfish and shellcrackers) like red worms. Both species will eat small artificial lures. During this time of year, if you catch one bream, slow down because there will be more fish in the same area.

This is the time of year for revenge for the largemouth bass. Bream will drive a male bass crazy attacking the bass beds and eating the bass roe, and once the eggs hatch, the bream will try to eat the small fry.

Well, now that the bass spawn is over, it is time for a little payback. The bass eat the bream that are on the beds. That means we will continue to have a great shallow-water bass bit going in May and through about mid-June. You can catch the bass that are feeding on the bream with a Bandit 100 series Old River Bream or the sunfish pattern Bandit crank baits.

Big, nosy surface lures fished over and near the bream beds will work as well. I like a to swim a 7/16th CrawGator jig with a small Zoom swimming chunk on a faster retrieve than normal when fishing the bass that are eating the bream.

Our water clarity is just about as good as it is going to get. The water clarity is not quite clear enough to site fish the bream beds because of the lack of coontail moss that has mysteriously disappeared from most of our area lakes. I am really not sure what happened to the moss, which filters the water, increasing the water quality. It could be that grass carp are in these waters, or fluctuating water levels took the moss out.

Regardless, May is a great month to catch fish, and not just go fishing. Please practice safe boating. The lakes are crowded with fishing boats. The water temperature is approximately 72 degrees, so it is still a bit cold for ski boats and swimmers, but that boat traffic is coming soon as well. So wear your life jacket when under way, practice common sense, be courteous and keep in mind that these are public lakes. No one owns the public waters. They belong to all of us.

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