Well....it sure is a strange year.....
The spring break up came earlier this year than I ever remember.....In the past, if you were to check back through history, the date when the ice is "out" on Banning Lake (ie when you can get a boat in the water), is around April 27. We're usually ahead of land locked lakes due to the river current.
Last year the ice was out pretty much on schedule on April 27. At that point, I spewed out my predictions on how everything should be just ducky...spawns on time etc etc.....The problem was though, that it took forever for the water to warm up after that. It seemed like we were stuck in May weather through most of the summer. It was cold & wet, but overall the fishing was very good.
So, in light of last years lessons, I'll be cautious at spewing out my predictions this year. Mother Nature gave me a well deserved slap in the spring / summer of 2009 and showed me who was really boss.
This year though has been a complete exception.....we had some friends launch a boat here & go fishing on April 4!!
Daytime temperatures have been in the 70's (20's for you Celsius types). There was little run off and we basically have had no rain all for a month + . Water is low....very low for this time of year. We already have a fire ban.
Right now the pike are spawning in the back bay....that's at least 1 week, maybe as much as 2 weeks ahead of the normal time. Surface temps on the water are between 8 - 11 celsius.
This can be a good thing for our fishery....early spawns, longer growing seasons....some warm years in the past have spiked fish populations and helped produce larger fish on average.
But it's not necessarily all that simple. There is potential for more negative circumstances as well.
In this weeks Atikokan Progress, Jessica Smith wrote a fantastic article on the implications of an early spring. The effect on both the fish and the wildlife. You really should check it out... here's the link....
Anyway, we're full steam ahead for the 2010 fishing season....right now we have a group on the Namakan River, another coming in today for some bass & pike fishing on a nearby lake, and some lake trout anglers due in later this week. Although the dry weather is a huge issue, it's still terrific to be out in the boat in April fishing with just a T-shirt on....
Been great talking with y'all lately. I gotta laugh how, once the weather warms up I get a whack of phone calls / emails from people just chomping at the bit to wet a line....keep 'em coming.....and thanks to all of you who have reserved as well......we're working at improving the camp every year for you.
Further to that, we're busy getting the camp ready to open.....Cabin #3 is getting a complete facelift on the inside & some new siding on the outside. There's lots of fresh paint going on the outside of cabins.
Water will be on on most of the cabins this weekend. Doing some finishing work inside the big new cabins (ie the "classrooms").
We've ordered lumber and have made plans to start the new fish house in early May, plus we're looking at 2 new docks along with fixing up the 3 older ones....
Might not be all ready by the walleye opener next month, but will be sometime this year!
Talk to y'all soon!