I started off the day fishing with a buddy for perch with tip ups. We weren’t there early by any means but certainly early enough for perch! We skipped fishing Lake Champlain because they were predicting sub zero temperatures and there aren’t many days there that aren’t windy.
Arriving at the lake, it was -12 degrees with no wind and blue skies. We set out our spread of tip ups over a very large area with the intentions of concentrating them as we found active fish. Many of the holes that we were fishing had fish rise up as we lowered our bait down. The unfortunate part was that the fish weren’t feeding. By the time we packed up around 11am we had only had two flags.
One flag was a drop and the other peeled a bit of line before dropping the bait. I pulled it in, checked that the bait was still alive and started lowering it back down. As the bait dropped, about half way down, slack started to build. I started lifting the bait only to set the hook on the only fish we caught on a tip up all day. It was a 22″ pike. Other than that, only a few small perch were jigged up before we left.
On the way back towards Lake Champlain, we made a few calls to see if the fish were active anywhere. The reports were dismal but it was a nice day to be on the ice nonetheless. We settled on a spot that has been slow all winter but at least had a few fish.
We checked a few spots before settling in for the night bite. The fish were in there, thin at best. I looked in quite a few holes before even seeing a fish. After punching a new set of holes, I found a few flatfish in one of the last holes in the string. By the time I grabbed my rod the fish had mostly moved on. The bite throughout the entire day was not what we had hoped for. Luckily, for about 40 minutes leading up until we left the bite was decent. I had two holes that were productive and I kept going back and forth between them giving them a break and to replenish. The pumpkinseed in there were on average a good size while the bluegill were rather small. The fish that were in there were aggressive.
For the holes I was fishing, I would drop down to just above the weeds that came up about 3 feet off the bottom. I would start jigging there and unless a fish came right up, I would drop down into the weeds about a foot until I could see a fish start working up to my jig. I would then raise my bait up above the weeds and the fish would charge.