Earliest Fish of Spring?

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Tyler W
Tyler W's picture
Earliest Fish of Spring?

The long range forecast is calling for the warmest spring since 2012! 


To back that up, I just grabbed a sample on the Cannon River at Welch, MN and was pleasantly surprised the water temp was 35.9 F. We are seeing similar temperatures on the Mississippi. Right now, water temps seem to be on, or ahead of the 2012 pace. 

That got me wondering, what is the record for the earliest fish of "spring"? To qualify the fish must have been caught from a previously frozen water body. Post your photos below.

My submission is March 11th, 2012 (the warmest March on record for Minnesota).






Corey's picture
Earliest Fish of Spring

You've got me beat.

SDfisher's picture
Yep, I am still fishing hard

Yep, I am still fishing hard water...

TonyS's picture
Yeah I don't think I can beat

Yeah I don't think I can beat that, my early season trips are usually on rivers like the Red Cedar and the Mississippi that don't really freeze over most years - just jam up with ice flows for during cold stretches, which I don't think is really the same thing.  I may have to go check the Mississippi soon, I'm ok ready to be done ice fishing for the year I think

Tyler W
Tyler W's picture
Ice jams should count

Tony, I think the Red Cedar would count because ice jams are definitely frozen, which would make those rivers "previously frozen".


Maybe someone could break it Sunday the 8th? Forecast looks good. 

TonyS's picture
I know I've caught fish on

I know I've caught fish on March 8th on the Red Cedar in the past, I'm going to try and catch something on Pool 2 this year on the 8th.  Hard to argue with the forecasted weather...

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Earliest I recall open water

Earliest I recall open water fishing in the Northwest Territories was at the Kakisa River (south side of Great Slave Lake) on April 25, 2015. We had a heat wave in the mid-60s that month but the temps dropped to the low 30s by the time we hit the water. My first fish of the trip was this awesome longnose sucker caught on a red wriggler.I think I went backed to Yellowknife and ice fished for another two weeks after that trip.

mike b

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Some spots on the Cannon stay

Some spots on the Cannon stay open all winter long. Especially several years ago when we had that stretch of mild winters. Caught fish throughout the winter, mostly white suckers with the occasional greater or golden. 

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Early Spring

I've got my winter spot on the Des Moines River that holds fish and is at least partially open winter round. Last march, with snow still on the ground, I was taking advantage of the walleye run to go catch some predatory fish. To my surprise, I didn't catch any walleye that day, but instead caught this! 

Gotta love random muskies, right? No leader, 35 degree water, and a white curlytail. Fun times..

(caught this March 11, as well)

"I swear if you catch another drum"

Tyler W
Tyler W's picture
Broke my personal best

I broke my personal earliest today. I knew that if white suckers bite under the ice they must bite where the ice is melting. Had to skid the fish across an ice shelf. Glad I didn't bring a net since I couldn't reach the water anyway. 


RedSetter's picture
That is awesome. You are a

That is awesome. You are a crazy person and I wholeheartedly approve!

It will still be a week or so for me and I'll likely be hitting artificially warm spots first like Black Dog and Monticello.


Graceclaw's picture
March 1

This year I broke mine by a significant margin, catching 10+ White Suckers and 2 carp on March 1 (first day of the new fishing license season!)

Greenwood and Hannah both beat me by catching fish there the previous week (Feb 22), so I was really just a bandwagoner


Nice to see a side by side comparison between of the two species.

I spent half my money on fishing, gambling, alcohol, women and billiards. The other half I wasted.

SDfisher's picture
I am still waiting...

I am still waiting... hopefully this coming weekend.