February fishing about feast, famine
Mid February is feast or famine for the bass and white perch fishermen and ladies.
If you are on one of the area lakes on the right day, at the right time, fishing the correct depth, you can load up on some slab white perch and heavyweight large-mouth bass.
The sow bass are full of roe and the fishermen know that on any given cast in February they could hook up with the largest bass of their lives.
The majority of state record white perch and bass are caught in February and March.
It’s at this time the fish put on a lot of body fat and females are loaded with eggs. White perch lay more eggs and more often than the bass so it does not hurt a thing to load the freezer with some big slab fillets.
On the other hand largemouth bass receive a ton of fishing pressure so the big females need to be released.
If you kill an 8 or 10 pound bass you’ve destroyed thousands of eggs. Big bass, bass over 4 pounds, don’t eat well anyway.
Take along a camera during this year’s pre-spawn and spawning season. If you get lucky enough to catch a trophy fish take a few pictures and let her live.
Mounted trophy bass are just about a thing of the past.
If you want something to hang on the wall besides a picture just measure the length and girth of the fish and take several pictures from different angles.
A good taxidermist, or should I say an artist, can make a mold out of fiberglass and paint it to look exactly like your trophy catch.
You can have a fish to display, brag about and feel good knowing the fish is still alive and all those eggs will hatch into little bass.
It looks like the spawn of 2011 will be exactly like last year’s spawn.
Normally by mid-February the average surface water would be around 54 to 57.
This winter is exactly like last year.
The weather is staying colder longer than normal with surface water temps in the low 40s. This will, of course, delay the spawn.
The bass are just now thinking about moving into the pre-spawn mode. This coming week’s forecast looks great.
We should have lots of sun with highs late in the week in the 70s.
That will warm the water up fast and, hopefully, we’ll see water temps in the mid- to low-50s next weekend.
If so the big females will be holding near the spawning flats waiting on the eggs to finish developing and the water to warm up.
This is trophy bass time. Catch a big female bass during the pre spawn and she will be at her heaviest weight of the year.
A surface water temperature gauge is an important boat accessory.
It can lead you to the warmest area of the lake and that’s where the most active fish will be.
Take along a camera and practice CPR — catch, photograph and release.
Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org