I had plans to fish alone for the day but a buddy was getting out of work early for an evening smelt bite. I figured it made sense to be in the area so I headed to a nearby panfish pond.
It was a beautiful morning with temps getting into the mid 30’s by the afternoon. The fish bit well to make things even better! I found fish in a concentrated area and only had to cut about a dozen holes for the duration of my time there.
I fished above the weeds with an orange Caty teardrop and maggots. The fish were aggressive and I was able to sight fish once the holes stayed clear of slush because of the sun. While all the holes had different weed layouts, there were a few with weeds almost to the surface. Those holes with tall weeds allowed me to catch the fish within about a foot of the ice. What fun! Around 3, I packed up my gear and made way for our rendezvous point at 3:30.
The smelt spot we selected was ideal because of a plowed area nearby that kept us from having to risk getting stuck in the 16″ of hard packed snow that blanketed the entire lake. We guessed that the depth would be around 40′ deep.
The fishing began slow with a few yellow perch being the first guests coming through the hole. As darkness approached, the smelt showed up in force. At first, they were staying loyal to the bottom but after landing a few, they began to suspend higher and higher.
While the fishing was good, it wasn’t as good as when Mary and I went recently. The fish tonight were much more hesitant of coming right to the surface. They still bit hard we just couldn’t sight fish!
The fish are starting to stage up in the areas we wait to see them in all winter. These are the times when big catches and big fish are the norm. Whatever you enjoy fishing for, there aren’t many times better than this!
I had a relatively slow morning for keepers but the number of small fish was unreal. As I neared the limit of small fish coming through the hole, I started to scheme where else I could go. I settled for a nearby cove.
It took a bit to find a concentration of fish but I was rewarded with big seeds and footlong crappie. They were set up in sparse weeds with a large thick mat nearby. As the hours passed the quality never changed. I hole hopped until it was time to head home and had a mess of quality fillets!
The weatherman called for a nice day and was right but he was way off on the wind forecast! We set up on a recent bite that we had located with hopes the fish hadn’t moved.
The fish were there but no concentration remained. We fished round and round searching for something better. We cut in all directions but only one or two quality seeds would come from a hole.
As we got further from our initial waypoint the number of perch in the 7-9″range was unreal! Happy to be catching fish as quick as you could pull them, we posted up. The fish bit until the cold wind drove us home around 4.
While the flatfish weren’t there in numbers perch saved us. Maybe next time things will be better!
Mary and I had to postpone our Valentine’s date due to weather issues but we finally made up for it. It was a cold night but with the Clam Bigfoot XL4000t and a Mr. Buddy heater, it was comfortable.
We hadn’t been smelt fishing together yet this winter and on this particular lake, our experience was limited. Regardless, we set up the shack after shoveling a foot of snow so we could have some smooth ice. It was still light out and there were no fish on the screen. but we had to start somewhere.
After setting up the Hydro Glow Fishing Light and rigging up our rods, the sky was dark and we started the first descent. As we neared bottom, flickers appeared and the night bite began. The fish were biting but stayed loyal to the bottom. The goal was to move them towards the surface so when we did hook up we tried to reel them in slowly so that the others would chase up.
We were able to move the fish up after only a short while, but any commotion nearby scattered them right back down. Even someone just shutting a car door ended the bite! Fortunately, they were aggressive enough to come back up with little effort.
Around 8, things changed for the better. Everyone settled in for the night and the fish came right up under the ice! We sight fished for the last couple hours before heading home. It was a great way to end the night
I hooked up with a few buddies for a morning lake trout bite on Champlain. It was much calmer than the last trip and the temperature was going to be warmer.
During our last trip, the jigging action was good as soon as we started after setting up a few tip ups. We figured that things would only be better if we started right at sun up! We were slightly wrong. While we marked fish, they were far less aggressive than the time frame between 8-10.
I hooked up with 3 other fish before finally landing one. For some reason they are very good at popping out treble hooks at the hole! The large slender spoons were the ticket once again!
We mainly stayed set up in 25 feet of water but we tried bouncing around out in deeper water for a while when the fish disappeared. The fishing wasn’t any better so we packed things and made way for home. I had a fishing date, night bite planned with Mary!
Cusk are a fun fish but man do they stink! I was greeted by the first stench only minutes after the sun set.
We had our spread of tip ups set out spanning depths from 20-60 FOW. The set up was large sinkers a foot above size 4 hooks baited with cut shiners. One key feature that we noted while setting up, other than the steep drop was a small finger that cut through part of the spread. Last year, the bite was slow but we were earlier in the season this time around and were hopeful that things would be just getting started.
The temperature was the only drawback to the night. With temps below 0, constantly wet hands made it tough to keep moving. Fortunately, the truck was close so we were able to hop in when we needed to warm up. The headlights also illuminated the reflective tape on the flags that tripped!
It was pretty much non stop action until we left at 11pm. While many of the fish we caught tripped the flags, probably a dozen didn’t. The fish got bigger as the night went on but with 6 keepers on the ice and nearly 20 others released, we called it a night. Glad the bait dealer talked me into the extra bait!
The day started off terrible. We were on the ice with two buddies and cut a ton of holes over a large area that usually produces this time of year. For the hour and a half that we were there, two of us cut while two ran under water cameras. We saw two small perch and one pike. Not what we were hoping for!
We made plans to check a few other spots depending on the foot traffic and to keep moving if it was busy. The first location was a bust so onward we went. The second stop wasn’t much better but there were a few holes between tip up fishermen. As we walked out, we knew the water was shallow but cutting shallow to deep is a good strategy so that’s what we did.
The first hole was in just over 3 FOW. Nothing. Second hole same depth, loaded with pumpkinseed. We decided to cut out a small test area. Things were looking up and there were also crappie, perch, and bluegill. The fishing was slow but most holes offered up a few fish. As we fished in circles, we found a few directions to cut in. The fish were all over but no concentration was evident.
Throughout the course of the day, we had some good runs of fish and the quality was decent. Action was constant all day as long as you never posted up in one spot for too long. All fish were high in the water column excepts the crappie. Kind of strange!
As the day faded, it was time to head for home. The wind was picking up and there was no need to get cold!
I met up before sunrise with a few buddies in search of lake trout. We trekked nearly a mile to an offshore reef where we hoped they would be.Trying to get the layout, we cut holes over a large area checking depths as we went. As we moved around, we set out a few tip ups in hopes that we could better our odds of a few hook sets.
Once we had a small spread of traps out, the high winds drove us into shacks. Within 5 minutes, I hooked up with the first fish of the day. It was on a large jigging rap and I have never had much landing fish with them. I always lose them during the fight or hook the side of the holes with either end of the bait. While I was disappointed, It was nice to know we were in the right area.
After a short while, I switched tactics and put on a Slender Spoon. The flutter drew fish in well over the course of the next few hours I saw quite a few more fish and hooked up with 3 more. Still, I was unsuccessful with landing fish but I did get several into the hole.
It was a fun day and we toughed out the wind as long as possible. Around 3:30 the snow really started to pick up so we decided gathering up out gear and heading home before the roads got much worse was the best plan.
Yesterdays limited results and cold temperatures had me excited to sleep in a bit. I had a few errands to run in the morning but I was still on the ice around 10. I cut out a large area on a dated waypoint from a few years ago but was disappointed to see that the weeds were thick and right to the surface.
About two holes in to a patch of sparse weeds that I found, I heard voices from kids coming my way. I poked my head out of the shack and saw a mother with two little ones. They were looking for someone to let them fish some holes so I found a good looking hole and helped the kids land a few fish before the cold drove them away. The were bummed their trip was short but at least they didn’t get skunked!
I spent the rest of the day huddled in the warmth of my shack sight fishing gills as they moved around. It was possible to sit in one hole and catch a fish on average every other minute but it’s hard for me to be content with that. I kept cutting trying to locate the weed edges that ranged from nothing to dense.
Towards the end of the day I found a good concentration of big gills in just a few feet of water. I spend the rest of my time sitting in one hole pulling fish after fish until I needed to get home.
My scouting mission was a success and now I am ready for when someone needs a good bite!
I started off my day with a trip to the dentists so things were off to a late start. The snow was flying and with past experiences, many of the best bites have come under similar conditions. The worst part of the day was the 30 mph winds that were predicted to blow!
I hooked up with my buddy around 10:30 and we started fishing on a spot that we hadn’t cut up yet this winter. Things were slow and the few fish that we found were sitting over the top of short weeds in 10+ feet of water. The weedbeds for the most part were almost too thick to fish! After a few slow hours, we packed up and made a move to a new bay hoping things would improve.
After arriving at the second stop, we made small talk with the only guy in the area. He agreed the fishing was slow but told us to cut where ever we wanted. As we worked through the fresh holes, we picked away at the few fish that were around. We knew we weren’t on the spot so we moved in multiple directions until we found a concentration of better sized fish.
We worked over the area pretty well and were content with the results that we were seeing. We were even able to find a few crappie in the area. Things were looking up for an evening Hydro Glow bite!
Around 4:30 the wind really started to pick up and the bite shut off. From then until about 8 I could mark fish on my flasher but getting them to bite was nearly impossible. It was time to call it a night and rethink strategies for tomorrow!