Here's everything you need to know about spring fishing in Kansas whether you're angling for monster pike, slabs, walleyes or bass.
Reservoirs along Kansas' northern tier of counties may still have ice on them in March. As soon as the ice disappears look for slab crappies to begin moving into the shallows on reservoirs like Glen Elder, Kirwin, Lovewell and others in search of minnows and warmer temperatures. The specks won't spawn until May or later, but the closer it gets to the spawn the more the crappies will be relating to structure. Concentrate on south-facing shorelines early in the spring. It's pretty hard to beat a lively minnow for spring crappies, but jigs excel when crappies are concentrated.
Kansas' biggest reservoirs take a while to heat up, so savvy anglers would be wise to concentrate on smaller, more shelter bodies of water in April. Council Grove City Lake doesn't get the fishing attention it deserves. On most days, you won't see more than a couple anglers on the lake. That's especially true in early spring. It's not because the fishing is bad. Just the opposite is true. And the variety is incredible. Multiple species can be caught by casting twister-tailed jigs or grubs or classic Roadrunners. Just flip to the docks and run and gun. If you hit on a spot that produces several fish, spend a little more time or come back a second time. Key is to cover water.
May brings out the best in Kansas' booming brown bass fisheries. A subtle climb in water temperatures puts smallies on the prowl in reservoirs like Lake Wabaunsee, Coffee County Lake and Wilson Reservoir. Look for back bays, rocks and bluffs that reflect and absorb the sunlight to attract schools of foraging bass. The reservoirs will produce plenty of smallmouths that will average 12 to 15 inches, but bass up to 5 or 6 pounds are not uncommon. Light spinning gear that can toss 1/8- to ¼-ounce jigs adorned with some kind of plastic are perfect for spring smallies.
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Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
MSRP, Jacket $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
ABU GARCIA REVO SX
Abu Garcia's Revo SX baitcasting reel is now 25 percent lighter than before. The SX frame is crafted of a strong alloy while the handle sideplate are built with weight-reducing C6 carbon. Holds 145 yards of 12-pound mono.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.
Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.