Mid-February to mid-March
A time of year where it’s mostly cold but a few warm days here and there. For small lakes and ponds, it doesn’t take long for the water to jump up a couple of degrees triggering some fish’s metabolisms and to head up shallow. As soon as the ice melts or a few 40°-50° days can bring a successful day on the water.
Preferably small bodies of water would be more active during these times. Shallow flats close to the deeper water where the fish congregate during the harsh winter months will move up to where there's an increase in temperature.
Places to look for on your pond or small lake:
• Creeks where warm water flows into the body of water.
• Banks where the sun hits the most, casting parallel to the shoreline.
• Rocky shorelines will hold heat for longer periods.
• Section of the lake where the wind blows into especially in rough type conditions, lack of vegetation in the spring can cause fish to go with the flow of the lake looking for bait.
Also, fan casting (casting left to right 2-4 feet apart) deep to shallow, parallel to the bank to cover water columns more efficiently to locate fish or structure to then throw a different bait for a different pattern if they don’t give any attention the first few casts. I like to cover all bases when it comes to thoroughly fish small bodies of water. In bigger bodies of water, I’ll move around more and fish more obvious spots that would have warmer temperatures or areas that fish would concentrate during the late winter months. Which would be the deep sections or heavy structure areas.
Lure selections are quite basic,
• Spinnerbaits/chatterbaits, lures perfect for covering water and testing what retrieves the fish are into, if you cover a decent amount of water with no bites then you know the fish aren’t aggressive enough.
• Squarebill/lippless crankbaits, for covering water
• Light-weighted-swimbaits, something to slow roll in or around structure and vegetation.
• Drop shot, fish very slow in slightly deeper water looking for those fish that are hesitating to move up shallow.