Crappie and Bluegill Spawn

Bobby Kuenen asks:

How far out from  the crappie/gill spawn are we? I've been fishing the lakes around Faribault and catchin bass but just starting to see some panfish up in the shallows.

Hi Bobby - I've been out a few times including opener, and just fished a bit yesterday.  All I can say is man, what a difference from near 70 degree water temps to the 56-58 degrees I saw on Thursday.  

On the opener, we had 80+degree air temps, and crappies were around their beds, appearing to be finished from the few lakes I was on.  Bluegills were starting to move in and were just off the weed edges eating everything.  Everything now is in a bit of shock from what I saw.  There were fish shallow on the inside weedlines, but much more inactive than I'd seen before the cold weather we've been having.

Generally speaking - crappies spawn first in that 55-60 degree area, with gills next in that 68-70 degree mark.  That said, this spring hasn't been normal with that big swing of cold and rain.

From what I'm observing in southern MN and western WI, crappies appear to be done with some visible nests still holding a fish or two.  Bluegills were just pushing into the shallows around opener but had not been building beds on the lakes I've been on, and they'll be set back here until water temps gradually get where they need to be and stay there for a week or so.  Should that happen, it'll all come at once!  

Keep in mind that each lake is different, and water temps both leading up to the cool down, and how quickly they've rebounded will play a strong role in the progression of the spawn for each species.  

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