Once May is here the fish begin to move up to build their nests and drop their eggs. The bluegill will be up on the beds shortly and the crappie are usually up on the beds by now. The water temperature is a little colder this year than normal so the spawn may be held back by a week or so.

If you know where the bluegill normally nest in a given body of water, look for the fish just off the beds in about five to six feet of water. These fish suspend just off the beds and are very vulnerable to baits like bee moth and live crickets fished with a tight line and moved slowly in the deeper water.

Bluegill beds are usually in very shallow water and these fish eventually move up as the water temperature moves toward the optimal spawning temperature.

These fish are hungry as they are turning much of their energy into the spawning process. Males come up first to build the nest by fanning the bottom of the nest with their tails, carving it out as a circular depression in the sand and gravel. Females come up later, dropping their eggs as the male swims over, dropping the sperm.

The females drop a lot of their body weight and come off the nests very hungry. Bass spawn in a similar manner. Once a female drops all this weight, she needs to put that weight back by quickly feeding and gorging herself.

Once the bluegills move up on their nest, live crickets cast into these nests or slowly moved over the nests will bring on some fast and furious fishing. If you love the flyrod, you can’t beat popping a popper over these pockets of nests. Many flyrod anglers live for this time of the year!

When a big bass comes off the nest, she has dropped a good portion of her body weight and gorges herself to get her weight back up. Taking a female bass after she has dropped her eggs can cost you a pound or two in body weight. Taking an eight-pound bass after she drops her eggs may well put her in the seven or heavy six-pound class; it’s all about when you catch this fish!

Will Illinois spring turkey hunters break the 15,800 birds taken last season? I’ve received no results as yet from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources other than the youth season in which 1,280 birds were harvested; 6 birds were harvested in Vermilion County compared to 5 birds harvested last turkey season.‘

I have seen some mushrooms this past week and this weekend should be a great weekend to hunt as the rains on Wednesday finally put some moisture into the parched ground. The woods have quickly become covered with green plants as the mushrooms will be more difficult to find.

Has anybody had any hummingbirds this year? I haven’t seen a single hummer as yet this year and our feeders have been out for quite some time. If you have had hummingbirds, please send me an email.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Saturdays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net

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