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Snuck Out. . .

Yes, I know the correct grammar is “sneaked out” but that just does not sound right to me.  Consider “Snuck Out” to be my redneck version, and that is exactly what I did. . . .

March has been a busy month for me.  I worked a couple of weekends finishing up sport and boat shows for the spring, but as  I promised you in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, I would get on the water when I could.  A couple of those times were on my way to and from a sport show in the North Platte mall.  I stopped off to fish a spot on the Tri-County canal.  It is early spring and the water is cold, but sauger and walleye are cool-water fish and they are active in early spring.  I was expecting to catch some sauger, but was presently surprised to hook this 23-inch walleye on my third cast.

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I love feeling that “thunk” when a fish inhales a bait.

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A few more casts, another “thunk” and this time a 17-inch sauger.

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Sorry about the blurry photo.  I was having trouble with the contrasting light and you all know I am NOT a professional photographer.

There was still some snow on the ground, but that was a beautiful afternoon.  In fact, it was such a nice afternoon that there was a “hatch” of black stoneflies coming off.  They kept landing on my head and neck.

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I do not believe the sauger and walleye were feeding on those stoneflies; if there had been some trout there, they sure would have been.  However, the stoneflies were evidence that on a warm, sunny, early spring afternoon the aquatic food chain was beginning to perk up a bit.

In a couple of hours I caught 4 more sauger, all about the same size as the first.  Sauger are not as large as walleyes, but I love ‘em because they are a little bit different and they are such a colorful fish.

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I know some of you are closely studying that photo.  If you want some more hints as to what I was using, you will want to look here, BFishN, and here, Gulp! Alive! Minnow .

All of those sauger and walleye were definitely getting close to spawning, they were plumply full of eggs, maybe milt if they were males.  Those pre-spawn fish were definitely catchable; however, as they progress towards spawning, they will have things other than feeding on their minds and get tougher to catch.

While on duty at the sport show I had some time one afternoon to again sneak out and try for some Lake Ogallala trout.  As it has been often this spring it was a darned windy, and cold, afternoon.  I only managed to scratch one relatively small rainbow, but considering the conditions I was very happy with that.

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Again for those of you looking for some “secret” fishing baits and presentations, I have blogged about it before, Trout Presentations That Will Work Anywhere .

You regular readers will know I lament the melting of the ice and end of my ice-fishing season every year.  Early spring fishing is so inconsistent and difficult because of the cold water and schizophrenic weather.  Under those conditions I can consistently catch a lot more fish through an 8-inch ice hole.  But, that does not mean I am not going to be on the water!  Proving what I just said, I stopped at my sauger and walleye spot on the way home, on an even colder and windier morning with 2-3 inches of fresh snow on the ground, and briefly had one fish hooked and that was it.  That is typical of early spring fishing.

It don’t mean nothing though, I will keep Thinking Warm, keep trying, and there will be more fish to be caught!

One last thing. . . I am not against harvesting a couple of male walleyes or sauger for a meal of fresh fish.  I have a walleye almondine recipe that is to die for, but all the fish, the tasty walleye and sauger and the rainbow were released.  They are still out there, still there for me to catch again, maybe for someone else to catch again.  If you do, turn some loose for me too, especially the big ones ( Fish Recycling ).

GO FISH!

About Daryl Bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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