We’ve all had the days when we arrive at our favorite fishing spot and realize that we have it all to ourselves, on this day that wouldn’t be the case. We arrived at one of our favorite spots greeted by calm skies with little to no breeze and temps in the 20’s, perfect day to be on the ice. Unfortunately, the recent cold temperatures had given the tip up fishermen enough confidence to haul out the hard sides and set up shop for the season. A few members of our group were able to arrive at day break and punched out an area as a way of “claiming” a spot.
The morning bite was hot, everything was right, the water was coming in, we had overcast skies, fish were active. We spent the first couple of hours chasing the school’s of pumpkinseed, bluegill, and crappie along the edge of the main channel adjacent to the thickest weed line. Early ice at it’s best however; Early ice also means everybody and their brother is itching to get out. The amount of tip ups in the ice was off the charts. This is not a big setback and every inch of the channel was spoken for. We were not able to fish our spots the way we normally would have.
A lot of people also brought on another dilemma. Noise. Once the morning had gone and the activity picked up we noticed that the fish were gone, well at least we thought so, we actually ended up learning a lot about this particular spot on this day. We found that instead of running to deeper water when levels dropped and noise picked up, that the fish actually moved shallow and found the thickest weed patches to surround themselves with. This made it a little more difficult using the electronic but we were able to pull some nice bluegill and pumpkinseed out of the thickest weeds while the sun was at it’s peek. Fortunately for us the fish stayed close and slid only 20-30 yards away from the “area” we had settled in.
As the sun got lower in the ski and the commotion let down, we noticed that the fish slowly worked themselves out of the weeds and back towards the edge of the channel. The fishing was fast times, chasing the feeding fish up and down the banks. Moving to stay on fresh and active fish, the rest of the night stayed successful with a stead increase towards dark.
The bite for the last 45 minutes consisted of mainly bluegill and crappie; favoring more heavily towards crappie. As we worked through the rows of holes we found that the fish were attacking our jigs as they worked down the water column. Anywhere for 2-5′ below the ice was stacked with crappie and occasionally a bluegill as you neared the weed edge. It was the time when we could do no wrong. The fish weren’t pick as long as it was moving.
A run like that was the best possible way to end a nice long day on the ice!