Curious was that fish loaded with eggs? I have found that 95% of the walleye in that 14-16" range that are caught with hook and line in the spring are males. At Lake Powell, we always catch a ton of those small males with immature gonads, indicating they were not spawning yet. These are the best eating fish in LP IMHO They are not mushy like the walleye and crappie preparing to spawn or post spawn....
This was a 3-pound female with a lot of eggs. She was feeding actively as we caught her in open water while trolling for stripers. Catching walleye mid morning well above the bottom and away from structure is unusual. Females are hungry while preparing to spawn. February is the nest time to catch some heavy, long hungry female fish.
On the other hand, Walleye males go through a "fasting" process during the spawn in March. They are focused on spawning and forego food until the spawn is over. This leaves them in a lean state (mushy) until the water warms, new forage appears, and they regain their body and strength. This is why the month of May is the best time to catch walleye and when they have regained their health.
Those that say walleye are the best eating fish in the lake are right, except when they are recovering from the spawning ritual. Young males are not at their best in March and April.
I can tell you that good recent striper fishing reports have came from Navajo, Warm Creek, Last Chance and Rock Creek. This will not be my last chance to fish in February. There should be one more trip this month.
Yep - I love hitting the mudline at the back of Navajo in late Feb. Seems the fish we catch are in much better shape - and you never know what you will pull in. Have even caught nice channel cats trolling rattle traps on the mud-line, as well as fat walleyes.
Back at the fish cleaning station we found the cause of the excitement. Those fish caught in the last hour had very fresh shad in their stomachs. They were all threadfin and averaged about 4 inches long which is huge for TFS. Gizzard shad get a lot bigger but game fish prefer threadfin. Sport fish are happy to eat 1-6 inch gizzard shad but if given a choice TFS win.
Shad are schooling fish that try to get in the middle of the shad ball so their friends on the outer edge get eaten first. I put this picture together for your information and then froze the 30 shad in case they are needed as bait later in the year. We saved a lot of shad by catching those stripers yesterday. Do your part and catch and keep stripers or walleye every chance you get.
It was winter, a good many years ago, in the back of Farley, and we were spooning up a few stripers fairly shallow in 15'-20' of water when we lost the bite, but suddenly had a boil within casting distance of the boat - caught mostly smb out of the boil.
Seen them boil several times in Nov, and I can't remember if it was Jan, or Feb, but seen a boil and it was during a real light snow, in Hansen. But I remember you saying, if there are shad, then there could be boil's. I hope this is a good sign.
In February the memories of all years are important. If we have that long experience and then see something unusual along the way we can then know what to expect from those incidental occurrences that happen. Right now there are many that want to know if stripers will be in the deep main channel this spring or in the backs of canyons. It is so easy to catch lots of fish on bait when stripers are deep and hungry; yet if they stay in the backs of canyons then fishing is more challenging for most anglers. Some are waiting to plan their trip depending on what happens with striper movement. Right now I think we will have a mix of stripers holding in some canyons and moving out of others. So it is a tough call right now. I think I can get it figured out in March.
For now my guess is that Bullfrog north stripers will hold in the canyons. Padre Bay south stripers will be in the deep channels. Lets see how close I was when the crowds come back in April and May.