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Ben Michlig/For
Ben Michlig/For


Itís a love/hate thing, I love active fish and they hate me.

Springtime! Itís the perfect storm of processes.

Spring is a time of year when plant life eagerly and strategically take advantage of the much extended photoperiod and begin to photosynthesize exponentially more; in turn, manufacturing excellent conditions for all things living, especially fish, and even more especially, anglers.

Letís look at why fish activity increases greatly this time of year. Iím going to keep this simple, because nobody likes confusion. Photoperiod, temperature, nutrients, insects and oxygen all increase this time of year, and together conform the impetus to which fish benefit immensely.

Photoperiod, the quantity of daylight in a given day, is perhaps the most influential player in the cycle of increased spring synergy. The increased amount of daylight increases the air temperature and begins to melt the snow and ice, transitioning an opaque ice sheet to an eventual translucent one. The sunlight is then able to penetrate the ice and reach aquatic plants, providing the catalyst for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis converts sunlight into chemical energy that is used by all organisms. This energy is a combination of sugars and oxygen.

With the influx of oxygen to a previously oxygen-low environment, aquatic insects suddenly begin to benefit positively and thrive from the increased nutrient loading provided by the newly churning fresh water. Cracks and holes in the ice, shoreline breakup, and snowmelt all increase water flow which dumps essential nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into the newly emerged aquatic insectsí environment, and into their bodies, producing a lively scene.

You guessed it.

Fish will naturally migrate towards these newly oxygen/insect-rich areas (inlets, shallow water, weed beds) and be handsomely rewarded with calories required to induce reproductive growth and processes. Fish now feed intensely, and experienced ice-anglers always know to take advantage of this narrow window before putting their jig-rods and flashers down for the year.

More on fishing: Fishing news from around the state | Your fishing photos | Build a map | Read fishing reports

Read more posts from Ben Michlig.

Ben Michlig has a Bachelor of Science degree in fisheries from the University of Minnesota. He currently works for the DNR in Minocqua and is an accomplished professional fisherman and fishing guide. Ben writes informative outdoor articles weekly. If you would like to hire Ben to guide your next hunting or fishing trip, he can be reached at 715-432-9440 or at For more information, visit his website at

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