The warm weather has arrived and the lakes are opening fast. Boats are getting on most of the lakes where the docks have been put back in and the coming weekend's forecasts of 70s should get many people out to enjoy a sunny day of wetting a line. Very little ice remains, except for Deerfield Reservoir, which has fast deteriorating shore access onto the better ice off shore. Last reports stated that there was still 16" of ice on the lake, but finding a way to get onto that ice was a problem.
Orman Dam and Angostura Reservoir are wide open and the boat fishermen have been out in force, especially on Angy. Reports of walleye catches have been coming with most fish being caught on jigs and minnows trolled slowly in anywhere from 2' to 15' of water. Water temps were in the low 40s so fish should be in prespawn mode. Continued warm weather should really jump start the bite soon. Shore fishermen were also having luck near the dam. Orman is seeing some activity, but increased amounts of water coming in from the channel area have really clouded up the water, making it difficult for fish to find baits.
The trout lakes of Sylvan, Center, Bismarck, Roubaix and Lakota have reported open shorelines, but fishing itself is still hard due to ice on the lakes still. Sylvan was still accessible earlier in the week and had a decent trout bite on jigs and plastics, but more than likely is not now with the warmer weather of the last few days. Over the next week or two, they should be fully open. Dough baits, dry or wet fly lures, and worms should work well until the water warms up a bit.
Stockade is ice covered, but no longer accessible, best to wait until it opens fully. Deerfield is still covered with thick ice, but planks of wood may be needed to get over the fast melting shores. If you're not a diehard icehead, best to wait for a few weeks before it opens. Some trout were still being caught, however, from those who managed to get on the ice. Pactola's docks were recently put in and boats are starting to get out on the lake. The pike bite should be starting soon as the sun continues to warm up the shallows. Some decent size trout have been reported being caught on small cranks.
The ice season, while extended a few weeks, appears to be over here now. Time to start getting the geared stowed, line off reels, and augers and shelters cleaned and "summerized". It saddens me, but I'm looking forward to trying some new areas this open water season as well as new techniques. Plus, with my first child coming this June, I'm looking forward to raising the next fisherman in the family.