Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1st and Thoughts of Spring.....

I've been sitting here for about an hour now, and I can't decide on how to begin this next post. I want to share with all of you, my thoughts on the first of March and the final month of the winter season. Did I say winter? Or is this now the beginning of spring? As you can see, Mother Nature and I are both in a state of confusion. We are not quite sure of what direction we are headed, or exactly which road to follow, and I think that is why March in Illinois can be such an exciting time for many of us who spend our days fishing.

The snow begins to melt and disappear, and it's effects can be seen in our swollen rivers. Feeder creeks have come alive with the sound of running water. Walleyes begin to stage in the tail waters below the dams, and Northern Pike are moving toward the back of flooded bays and sloughs. Both are preparing for the first warm days and their rites of spring, to spawn and bring new life to the river.

A man gets out of his car, put on his waders, and walks out into the chilly water. He tips his green fireball jig with a fathead minnow and casts it out into the current. It bounces slowly along the rocky bottom, until a walleye nips it from behind. The hook is set, and the battle begins between fish and man. Minutes later the six pound Walleye is released back into the cold clear water, to complete her spawning mission. The man looks up at the warm sun and thanks God for all that he was given.

A few miles away, a fisherman walks onto a frozen lake. He drills a few holes with his auger and checks the ice. It is still a good twelve inches thick. He sits down on his bucket and faces the warming sun. Tying a small teardrop jig to his line, he tips it with a maggot, and watches it slowly descend down into the water. Within moments, the tap of a fish is felt, and a ten inch bluegill is brought up through the hole. He thanks God for the opportunity, knowing that these winter days of ice fishing will soon be melted away.

With St. Patrick's day right around the corner, I consider this to be one of the best months of the year for fishing. Especially for those that are lucky enough to live in Illinois. It is still cold enough this month to continue our ice fishing quests, and the fish will be way more cooperative too. The open water fishing in our Illinois rivers will provide for most of us a chance to experience some of the best fishing we will have all year long. Walleye and Sauger, will be willing to take almost whatever offering you decide to give them. So get out there and enjoy all of what March has to offer, and think of this month as our lucky Shamrock here in Illinois.

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