Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Snow Fall Stacking Up For Potential Spring Bonanza

A look at snowfall amounts from years past and their correlation to strong year classes of walleye, and so far, 2008 looks to be a good year. But there are many factors that must come in to play prior to mid April in order for it all to add up to a successful spawn. First and foremost, it can’t warm up too quickly. With this much snow on the ground, the run off could easily put the river at flood stage. Although that would provide access to plenty of spawning area, it’s only beneficial if those areas remain under water long enough for the fry to hatch. That’s not likely. Once the snow-melt has worked it’s way though the system we are at the mercy of the spring rains to maintain the water levels. One would think even in a normal year, water levels would drop quite a bit after all the snowmelt had worked it’s way through the system. Plus, the Corps of Engineers work hard to control water levels on Lake Winnebago. If there is a lot of runoff, you can bet the flood gates at the Menasha dam will be open drawing water off the system. Believe me, fishermen would rather have the high water. But, property owners along these lakes and the need for the systems wetlands to strengthen are what is driving the Corps to keep lower lake levels. That doesn’t affect us here in New London as much as some people would like to think. Even in Fremont, it only makes a difference of a few inches but it’s always hot topic for debate. The snow pack up north and spring rains control the water levels on the Wolf River and this year we look to be on the right track for a good spawn. The current is ALREADY drawing lots of fish into the system and from all indications we will have more snow to help that.

So, even if we have a good spawn there are numerous factors that come in to play in order for us to have a good year class. A huge hatch could be wasted in any number of ways. Sometimes, if conditions are too dry, walleye fry actually get stranded in the marshes. We need a water level raising rainfall in late April or early May in order to flush the fry out in to the system. If we don’t get it, actual recruitment for the year might be low. The same thing could happen if we get an ultra cold spring or something else goes wrong with the incubation period. We need warmth and some sunshine to produce the zooplankton and other small food source for the fry to grow. If they get to the lakes and food is scarce, year class strength is again diminished. So you can see it’s not just high water. All of the factors must come together for a big year class of walleye to be produced such as in 1996. Even with average conditions, if there are lots of fish in the system, a good strong year class is possible. And right now, we have lots of fish in the system.

Walleye Fishing Remains Good On System

Much like any fishing it can be good one day and not so good the next. And although the low light periods are the best, getting the fish to set a schedule is impossible. Evenings have been the best with the bite continuing after dark most days. I am unsure as to just how late guys are staying out, but I’m sure on a good night that fish could bite in streaks at any time in the night. It’s much the same when fishing the sand bars at night from a boat. Sometimes it’s a steady action of a fish here or there and sometimes is slow periods followed by flurries of good activity. But just as is expected in six weeks or so, you never know what to expect. The morning bite has been good some days and the evening bite good the next. And, every once in awhile, the walleye bite well during both low light periods. Once again, it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

ICE BREAKER III, The Right Place At The Right Time

Speaking of the “right place at the right time” , ICE BREAKER III is exactly that if you want to learn about Wolf River and Winnebago system walleye and bass fishing. The line up is the best “fishing” line up of any area sports show and the place to be if you want to catch more fish here. Walleye experts include PWT Champion Tommy Kemos, FLW Angler of the Year Jason Przekurat, fishing icon Daryl Christensen, multi-tournament winner Dave VanOss and local guide and radio host “Axl” Ehricke. Add Kendall Kamke from the DNR and my seminar on “up run” walleye and you’ve got walleye information like nowhere else. Now for the bass side, how about State BASS Federation Champion Jim Barczak. Jim won an impressive 7 BASS tournaments in 2007 including two fully rigged bass boats. Heck, that’s a good career to some anglers. Add a second in the national event and you’ve got a guy who knows how to catch bass. A resident of Fremont, Wisconsin Jim really knows the system. He credits long periods of time on the water to his success on the system and his State Championship and other events won here. A design engineer at Mercury Racing in Fond du lac, his popularity in the bass fishing world is bolstered by his knowledge of Mercury outboards. After all getting to a spot first can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing. Joining Jim on the panel discussion following his seminar will be members of the Nation Champion Wisconsin State Federation Bass Team including local Bass Cat representative Terry Hilbert and others. Want to catch more bass here in Wolf River Country, be at ICE BREAKER III, March 8 & 9, 2008.

For more information on topics such as this and the areas great fishing, make sure to check out Doc’s Wolf River Country.Com Joel “Doc” Kunz is a freelance outdoor writer / photographer published weekly by Outdoor Gazette. His work is also seen in many other Wisconsin and Midwest publications. He is a recent READERS CHOICE award winner and a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. He is a Pro Team member of Yar Craft Boats, Mercury Marine, Motorguide & Lindy Little Joe.


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