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March 20 marks the first day of spring

All the signs were there just before it was official. According to the calendar today is the first day of spring.

If you were paying close attention you could read, hear and smell the signs that winter is closing. Just a few days prior to today I heard the big bull frogs with their deep throated croak and noticed the Bradford pear trees were blooming.

The red wasp flying about looking for a place to build a nest is yet another sure sign that winter is over.

If the wind is just right you can smell the backwaters as the mighty Mississippi River floods the delta. My son and I recently came across an 11 foot-gator basking in the sun. That gator was some kind of mad when we spooked him off his sunny point and back in the cold water.

He slung his tail our way throwing water 10 feet in the air and circled our boat like a hungry shark while raising his entire body out of the water to show us just how big and bad he is.

You got to love spring in the Miss-Lou. This is the major transition season for fish and wildlife. As predicted we are experiencing a very late bass and white perch spawn. The game fish in some of our area lakes are just now moving up to the nesting areas.

From now through mid to late April will be the spawning season this year. The bream should start coming in any day to build their nest. Colder than normal water temperatures from mid February through the first half of March created the delayed fish spawn.

Lake St. John and Lake Bruin’s bass and perch are moving up right now. Just stick with shallow water cover and target the seawalls, shallow cypress trees, the walkways leading out to the piers and the flats on either end of St. John or Bruin. That’s where you will find some bass and white perch.

Most of our lakes are in excellent shape as far as water level. The water clarity did drop off a bit after that big rain a week or so ago but the lakes are clearing up fast. A host of lures will work this time of year on the bass.

If you’re after big fish, it’s hard to beat Reaction’s Sweet Beaver in the CA 420 color or a Hack Attack jig with a Zoom or Net Bait trailer. BASS Pro and Louisiana native Greg Hackney teamed up with Strike King Lures to design this Hack Attack jig. It’s perfect for our area lakes with the many cypress trees and root systems. You may not catch numbers of bass on this lure type but the strikes you get are usually from big fish, fish that will win the local bass tournaments.

For numbers of fish try small shallow diving crank baits like a Bandit 100 series or small soft plastics like a Zoom Baby Brush Hawg. Keep your slip sinker weight as light as possible when fishing soft plastics.

A slowing falling lure will draw strikes from bass holding in thin water. As the water temperatures continue to rise surface lures will soon come into play. Chug Bugs, buzz baits or anyone of the many walking style lures like a Heddon Zara Spook will call big fish to the surface. To me this is the most exciting way to catch largemouth bass.

There is nothing better than watching a big bass go air borne and coming down on top of a surface lure. Keep in mind the smaller lakes, ponds and barrow pits warm up faster than the larger waters. On small lakes like Tew Lake, Wallace Lake and such I’m hearing reports of fish that have already spawned.

The surface bite on these waters should kick off right now. Spring is here. It’s time to go fishing.

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