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Fish spawn: Better late than never

As April makes its exit, a lot of good things are happening in the fishing scene.

The prolonged cold winter delayed the bass and white perch spawn, which delayed the catfish and bream spawn. The bass finally did their thing. It is hard to say if we had a good spawn this spring or a bad spawn.

Conditions were horrible in February and early March. Water temperatures stayed too cold for too long and many bass and perch could not hold their roe any longer. I know we lost most of the first wave of spawn in late February and early March.

By mid-March, the water temperature slowly climbed to the magical 60-degree range and the second wave of fish moved up to spawn. I believe that group of fish had a successful hatch.

Then the late spawning fish moved up and we got hit with over 12 inches of rain within three weeks. The runoff muddied the water, and fish eggs require sunlight to spawn, so we probably lost a lot of fish to that mess.

It is pretty safe to say the bass and white spawn is over, but we always have a few very late nest builders. I recall catching a 10.01-pound bass loaded with eggs from Lake Concordia back in the late 1990’s.

I released her with hopes she would have a successful hatch. The big news right now is the bream and catfish spawn has cast off. Actually, that happened late last week, so we are right in the middle of the bream and catfish spawn a month later than usual.

Conditions on most lakes are great for this to be successful. Good reports along with many pictures on Facebook of ice chests loaded with bream and catfish began showing up this week.

Lakes Concordia and St. John are producing a lot of fish. For the bream, try to locate the bream beds. Fish the cypress trees that have bulrush growing around them and keep in mind the beds may not be at the base of the tree since eggs require sunlight to hatch.

Fish out from the cypress and bulrush in 2 to 4 feet of water. If you know what to smell for, you can actually locate the bream with your nose.

I know that sounds weird, but the bream experts know what I mean. It is a distinct fishy-like smell, and I am not sure what makes this smell.

I have noticed it many times while bass fishing and followed my nose to the bream beds, because the bass will layup in ambush sites and eat the bream that are trying to spawn. That is sort of a payback deal since the bream feed on bass eggs while the bass are trying to spawn.

Crickets are always the best bait to use for bream, but if you are a fly fisherman or lady, a wet fly like an Accorado’s ligon bream killer of bream guinea will catch the bream off the beds.

The catfish are probably the easiest fish of all to catch, especially right now while the spawn is going on. You can catch them on rod and reels or and the old fashion cane or jig poles.

If you want to load the freezer quick, set out some yo-yo’s baited with cut skipjack. It took me five years to find a connection so I could stock and sell skipjack which is a baitfish in the herring family.

I have sold right at 400 pounds of skipjack in three weeks. Skipjack are very oily and smelly. Catfish eat skipjack. Getting back to the bass, I saw some good catches from Lake Concordia up to six pounds. Once the bass spawn they go into a funky mode and don’t eat much making them very difficult to catch.

That window has opened, but it is now closing. So that’s the scoop on the fishing scene this week.