Spring Striper Fishing 101

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Your Bass Fishing Tip Of The Day Is

Crankbaits work best as a contact lure when bass fishing. Bump them against the bottom, crash them off of stumps, etc. This will cause the bait to stop and then dart erratically, causing a reaction strike. This technique drives bass crazy.

One of the great challenges of striper fishing is that they use so much of a lakes real estate. Unlike most freshwater fish that are more inclined to relate to cover or structure, or even a particular depth, stripers might be almost anywhere, within a body of water. What striper fishermen have going for them, is that stripers are very mobile and very aggressive. Their movement increases the likelihood that they will find you even if you cannot find them.

However finding SB in the early spring season, as the waters warm can be most difficult. Striper bass are extremely mobile in comparison to other fresh water game fish. Striper bass were originally exclusive to saltwater and this probably has some influence on their mobility instincts.

During late winter and early spring, most stripers assemble in one specific area of a lake. Until you get into that congregation, your odds for success are slim. While there are general guidelines for locating stripers, this still leaves a lot of guess work. Good striper bass anglers stay on top of the stripers throughout the year, no matter what the conditions are.

Stripers generally move into rivers for their spawning run during spring, so the upper reaches of reservoirs and rivers are often the best places to fish. The weather can throw you a curve, too, as spring can be so unpredictable. Cold snaps can change shallow-water patterns in a day. But yet, too warm of conditions can also throw a wrench into striper fishing.

In late spring too early summer, stripers drop back from their spawning run, and the real key to finding them is finding the forage. Find the shad or alewives (baitfish) and you usually find stripers. Look for them overlong, soft-bottom points in the warmer parts of the lake. During this time period, a surface temperature gauge can be more useful than a sonar.

Fishing methods, though not too difficult, do tend to vary from state to state. Northern anglers, who are more adapted to jigging for walleyes on the bottom, may be surprised to learn how jigs are fished for stripers. Rather than a bottom presentation, the angler “swims” the jig at mid depth.

When casting jigs, the retrieve begins as soon as the jig hits the water. Stripers will use the entire water column in depths of 30 feet or less. Occasionally, and more often they will bust schools of bait at the surface. But more often, they cruise at mid-depths. Use a medium-speed, steady retrieve. Avoid the temptation to “jig” the lure.

Stripers are not apt to strike an erratic retrieve as are other big game fish. Bass Jigs should match the size of the natural food. This varies from 3 inches to 10 inches in length. Always carry an assortment of jigs. Most often, the heavier jigs are not necessary during spring because the fish are shallow. When stripers go deep, use heavier jigs.

Jig color for stripers is very important, but not complex. You seldom need any color other than white or chartreuse. Use chartreuse for stained water, and white for clear water. Adding a splash of blue or green to mimic the natural colors of herring or shad is a deadly combo.

Crankbaits are an excellent choice when stripers are scattered along the shoreline. Natural colors white, silver with blue back, or silver with green back usually do best. Use chartreuse crankbaits for stained water. Cast toward shore. Retrieves should be steady and slow to medium speed.

For those who use live bait, shad, herring, or alewives are clearly the best striper baits in lakes where these are the natural forage. Stripers need abundant, high-protein forage. Hook baits either through the lips or near the dorsal fin. Lively baits are best. To keep the bait at the desired depth, use slip bobbers. Keep a close watch on the sonar, to get a good idea of where the stripers are feeding. Set the bait in the depth range, by adjusting your slip bobber where you see the most signs of life on the sonar. Preferably where the bait fish are holding at. If you feel that you know precisely where the stripers are, then by all means anchor over them. Other wise, drifting with live bait is probably a better option.

One or more of the combination of patterns and techniques written within this article should produce some awesome striper action. Pound for pound striper bass are one the most sought after game fish within North America. They are also some of the best eating freshwater fish on the continent. A good day of striper fishing will have your arms wore out.


Spring Striper Fishing 101 — 5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Cheryl

  2. Hey…thanks for this fantastic striper fishing post. I’ll be coming back tomorrow for more info. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Jimmy

  4. I am a frequent reader of your fishing posts. I liked the recent one on bass fishing and other posts on your site so much that I have subscribed to the sites RSS feed. Even thinking of stealing some ideas and put them to work. Keep all the good work Field-N-Water !!!!!!!

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