With a day like I had on Sunday, it was hard not coming back up the last two days to fish for the white perch! Although the bite was great, handling all the fish that I caught took a toll on my hands. They needed a bit of time to get nursed back to health.
Once again, I wasn’t on the water until about 9 am but it didn’t take long to get into the fish. Other than for about an hour in the morning I sat in one hole and pulled fish. The bite was just as good as Sunday but the I began fishing a different technique and found that I had better hook ups. The fish were stacked in 15 feet of water so I used my normal panfish approach of fishing top to bottom. I would start at the bottom of the ice and slow but steady drop. Any tick in the line was a bite and just about every bite resulted in a hook up.
The aggressiveness of these perch amazes me. With the high sun today, I was able to sit over the hole and look down to watch them bite. While I have never given them the credit they deserve, I will certainly be back for me!
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I put some hours in on the ice today. I started early looking for a bite in the dark. I caught a bunch of fish most of which were bluegill. The fish were suspending high and very aggressive. As sunrise approached, the number of crappie increased. As the sun came up, the bite slowed up for a bit.
When it was bright enough to use my underwater camera, I began looking for better size classes of fish as most of what I was seeing were small. It seemed that the bigger fish were in smaller water with crappie in the mix randomly. I spent a great deal of the day looking with the camera and targeting individual fish. While just about every hole had a crappie or two it was hard to get past the bluegill and pumpkinseed. In general, I would only fish holes that 5 or 6 crappie to better my odds.
While the fish were there, the numbers that I caught were not a great representation of what I saw. It was a tough bluebird day but at least it was warm! Before it got dark, I made my way off the ice to get home in time for dinner.
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With spring on the way, the fish patterns start to change a bit. Knowing this, I thought that it would be fun to go and try to locate some perch. I was on the water for sunrise and the wind was already whipping. I covered about 1/4 of the pond before realizing that it wasn’t my day. While the perch were everywhere, none were over 7″. I tried deep, shallow, and everything in between. It didn’t seem to make any difference where I was.
To compensate for the lack of perch, I headed shallow hoping that the the bluegill would bite. The wind was still blowing hard and after punching holes, I was contemplating heading home! All the water on top of the ice made it so I didn’t want to bring my shack out and get it soaked. Toughing it out wasn’t much better of an option though!
As I started working through the holes, the number of fish I was catching was decent. Although harder to fish, smaller jigs seemed to be producing better. I found most of the fish today in shallower water in the mix with tall weeds. The more holes that I fish, the more refined my pattern became. As I pushed on to the deepest set of my holes, I located a good numbers of rockbass, All winter they have been MIA so this must mean warmer weather is near!
In general, white perch provide us with nothing but frustration. For this day, trying something new meant pounding on white perch for about half of our time on the water. They had been biting good all winter but with other bites and species occupying our time, getting after something different was appealing.
The weather was less than ideal. Throughout the day, we got plastered by rain, snow, and sleet. Wind too! The day was a rough one but in the end it paid off.
Getting on the water around 8:30, it took about 2 hours to consistently get on fish. After finding fish, the bite was good for close to an hour. Getting up and down quickly was very important to keeping the fish interested and not moving on. The main bait choices for the day were minnow tails and maggots. The maggots were about as nasty as could be without being hard but they worked. Also, we tried eyes, plastics, and small fillets of fish unsuccessfully.
After the first run of fish, they disappeared. Over the next hour we picked and poked at fish moving out towards deeper water. After a slow hour, we hit them again. For the remainder of the day, one hole provided action as quick as the jig could get back down. After two hours of steady catching, all minnows and usable maggots were gone so it was time to pack up and head home. Nothing wrong with running out of bait by 3!
The cold in the air kept us moving in search of the nomadic pods of white crappie. The bite didn’t start early like we had hoped but the quality made up for it. The first fish up the hole was just shy of 15″. Not too bad!
As we covered more and more water, the bite stayed slow but we picked at fish as we moved. At times, we would get into small pockets of fish but never any big runs. After covering about a mile of water, we stumbled upon an area about 50 yards in wide that was holding a decent number of quality fish. They seemed to be working back and forth across a few holes that we had punched.
The hours were passing and we were content with the fish we had put in our buckets. What sounded better than continuing to fish? Maybe crappie for lunch! We had a bag of fillets from the night before so we headed home to fry them up. After chowing, I headed for home to clean some more fish for another day later in the week!
A well and long planned trip for pike turned out to be a hellish day on the ice. Although the temperatures were suppose to be warm the 30 mph winds would make things interesting. Arriving on the ice with a bucket of bait, we opened up holes from the day before and started setting traps in about 5 feet of water.
Quickly, we learned that the “warm” temperatures weren’t warm and the breeze cut right through all clothing. It was so cold that for the first time since Minnesota back in December, I felt the need to wear gloves and my balaclava!
Luckily, the action came in 2-4 fish bursts so we got time to warm up in the truck between sessions. Because of the cold, many of the fish that we caught never came out of the water. Of all the fish that we caught, I took one medium sized fish home as I have never tried a pike.
Highlight of the day started with a few pieces of bacon to grease the pan for the venison that was to follow. Nothing like a hot meal on a cold day!
After spending the morning alone searching some bays on Lake Champlain that I don’t fish much, I made my way to fish with my buddy Jamie on the southern part of the lake. We had hopes of catching the evening bite for some crappie in deep water.
With a few tip ups soaking, the jigging bite was decent. The tip ups kept us quite busy but not with hook ups. Many of the flags were from the bait getting knocked. Many of the fish that were marking on the graph weren’t willing to bite. It was immediately apparent whether or not a fish would bite though. The bites were hard and most of the time came in short bursts of 3 or 4 fish. Using heavy jigs were important to speed fishing that is requited for these roaming crappie.