Spring Fishing Tips and Tackle Preparation

Being able to hit the water in the spring is a welcomed prospect after a long winter. The weather is improving and fish are emerging from their winter habitat. To be ready, brushing up on a few essential spring fishing tips and tackle preparation will be key to your success on the water.

7 Essential Spring Fishing Tips

To get you started, here are 7 spring fishing tips that will help you catch more fish.
  1. Play the Weather. Early spring fishing weather is probably more variable than any other time of the year. For that reason, it’s important to plan early spring fishing trips around the weather. Fish days that are unseasonably warm or the days leading up to an approaching cold front for better success.
  2. Fish Warm Waters. Most of the best spring fishing locations will still have cold water. However, if you can find areas that are slightly warmer than the rest of the waterway you’re fishing then you might be in business. For example, seek out shallow areas to fish that warm faster in the sun. Warmer spots will aggregate forage and ultimately more fish.
  3. Focus on Afternoons. Going hand in hand with seeking warm water, the best fishing in April and all of the spring for that matter will be in the afternoon. The sun will marginally warm a body of water throughout the day, but the slightest increase in temperature, often unnoticeable to the angler, is enough to trigger a healthy late afternoon bite.
  4. Fish the Changes. With the variable weather, water also is changing a lot during spring. Water temperature, clarity, and levels all vary during spring, more so than other seasons. Great places to fish in March are where the water changes. Fish where the current changes, the water clarity is different or again in areas of the water that have temperature differences. One of the best spring fishing spots on lakes is around riprap. The sun heats these large boulders all day and they, in turn, warm the water, which attracts fish.
  5. Small and Slow. The spring bite is much less explosive than say summer top water fishing for bass in the summer. Fish are reluctant to strike anything, especially fishing lures that are big and moving fast. Probably the most important early spring fishing tips are to downsize your baits. It doesn’t matter what species you’re fishing for, smaller baits worked deathly slow will get you bit more often.
  6. Live Bait Helps. If catching a bunch of fish is all your about, then you better bring some live bait. It is easy to fish slow and requires less computation from a fish’s perspective. That is, a fish doesn’t have to think twice before biting like it may do when presented with artificial lures. Nightcrawlers and minnows bottom-bounced on a jig or rigged on a single hook and a bobber are always effective.
  7. Wait to Set the Hook. The final spring fishing tip is to wait to set the hook. Fish are slow to bite and just as slow to eat your fishing lure. When you feel a bite, wait for a second longer to set the hook. Also, don’t set the hook as deliberately as you would other times of the year. Instead, simply just pull up and tighten the line and begin to reel.

The Most Important Spring Fishing Tip

Fishing in the spring can be tough most days even on the best spring fishing spots. Cold water mixed with variable weather can leave you catching little to no fish. The absolute most important fishing tip for spring is to not get discouraged when you’re having difficulty catching fish.
When times are tough, the best thing to do is experiment. Your spring fishing destinations are perfect for trying new fishing lures and working on different casting techniques. Furthermore, instead of getting discouraged move on and scout new fishing spots. Using days when the bite is not on or you just can’t figure them out to experiment will only help to make you a better angler.

Basic Fishing Tackle Preparation for Spring

Other advice for the early spring fishing season is to prepare all your tackle for the rest of the year. Early spring fishing trips can reveal some holes in your fishing gear. Now is the time for gear maintenance and restocking fishing tackle in preparation for all the rest of the days on the water you have planned for the year.
  • Rod and Reel Maintenance Quality fishing reels need routine cleaning and lubrication to perform as designed. Refer to your reel manual for proper maintenance. Also, wipe down fishing rods and check eyelets for damage or burs that can harm your fishing line.
  • Fishing Line Every year should start with new fishing line. There are only two exceptions. First, backing can be reused on your reels but be sure to replace the fishing line in front of it. Second, braided fishing line can be used another season as long as it is not faded or damaged.
  • Organize Tackle Before fishing in the spring, take time to organize your tackle. Break tackle out into different types of fishing such as trout fishing gear, bass fishing tackle and so on. Label tackle boxes for quick access and clean out tackle trays and remove old rusted hooks or other overused tackle. This will keep you more organized and prepared on the water.
  • Restock Tackle After organizing, you’ll have a better sense of the tackle you need to restock for the coming year. Replenish soft plastics, baits for trout and all your terminal tackle from your local sporting goods store.
  • Other Fishing Gear Besides tackle and rods and reels, there is other fishing gear you have to get prepared. Compile a fishing gear checklist first to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you have a boat, there is that to get ready such as yearly servicing and cleaning and safety gear like vests. Check other gear like rain gear, sunglasses and personal items like sunscreen and bug repellent.
The 7 spring fishing tips outlined above along with making sure your tackle and gear is well prepared will make for successful days on the water this spring! If you find your gear looking a little too worn out or you discover you need more lures, visit Kinsey’s Outdoors for all your fishing gear needs!