Does anyone like slush? I don’t think so. The slush today was bad and it got much worse as the day wore on.
We began the day in the dark and set up in a new location. It took a few extra holes to the a good layout of the area but when all was said and done, our spread spanned a depth range of 5-24 feet of water.
The flags started immediately with a few run and drops, bass, and pike. The target were walleye but they sure were playing hard to get.
As the day passed, the action remained slow and flags became more scarce after about 11am. We made a small move with a few tip ups in the early afternoon after seeing a walleye on the underwater camera which my buddy jigged up almost immediately after. The move proved ineffective but it was closer to walking off none the less.
At dark we gave the bait a few more minutes to soak in hopes that the walleye would move in. The final few traps yielded a walleye and a bass. Whether they were on for a bit or us moving closer made them finally move, it’s fun to see a flag spring up under the bean of a headlight!
It was a tough day but even a tough day is good. It makes you appreciate the good days that much more!
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!
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!
Here is a video compilation from earlier this winter while we were searching for walleye.
I was greeted with a -11 degree temperatures at a body of water I had previously never seen. The lake could be classified as a basin lake with some other interesting contour/habitat around. I figured that I would begin my pursuit on the first slope into deeper water that I would cross.
The first hole I cut was over 20 FOW. I sat in my flip over shack for a few unsuccessful minutes before moving on. My second hole was in 5 feet deeper and stacked with fish. I dropped down a spoon because it was all I had tied on so far. I had lots of reactions and even a few bumps but no hook ups. I quickly tied on a smaller jig and threaded on a micro plastic. After dropping my jig down 15 feet I was hooked up. I reeled in an 8″ crappie. With fish still on the graph I quickly dropped back down to them and hooked up again. With two fish released, it seemed as though they had moved.
I sat still for a while longer and about 20 minutes later another pod of fish moved through. Again I pulled two fish out of the 6 or 7 that I marked. Figuring that I would see that pattern throughout the day, I gave it one more go. I sat for close to the same amount of time without a mark and then they popped up again. I pulled three fish this time but they were still in the 8-9″ range. I decided that it was time to cut out further.
Over the next couple of hours I explored the 25-40 foot range. While I caught a few crappie, they were all near the 25 foot mark. I abandoned the deeper water to cut the entire perimeter of the 25′ contour. My success continued with just about any hole I cut at the right depth. The only time I saw anything different was in one hole over 40 feet of water. It was stacked with 6 feet of fish suspended 15 feet of bottom. I figured it was a pod of bait but the only thing I pulled out of it were crappie.
I fished just about an entire day and highlighted my Navionics chart with waypoints varying from 24-26 feet of water where the majority of the fish were cruising. Although the biggest fish I caught was 10″, I see the potential for larger specimens. I will be back in the spring with my boat to see what else the lake has to offer!
I ventured out with a buddy well before daylight today. We set up base camp in a saddle between two humps and began placing tip ups along various contours on both sides. Our depths ranged from 14 out to nearly 30 and as the sun rose we were surprised that the flags weren’t flying. It wasn’t until nearly 7:30 that we got our first flag, and walleye. After putting it back, another flag popped on the other end of our spread. Sled in tow we made our way over and pulled in another walleye within only minutes of the first. With two fish caught and released, we had high hopes that the rest of the day would follow suit.
While waiting for flags, we set up a two man flip over shack on one side of the hump trying to jig up perch, bass, walleye, or whatever else might swim by. The jig bite was slow but we stayed plenty busy chasing flags from end to end. Mostly the action was run and drops so we figured the perch were moving through in small schools. However, the perch that we were catching were tanks!
As the day passed, we cooked up a meal of venison sausage for a lunch. The fish were nice and allowed us to eat in peace with no action. After filling our bellies, another slug of perch came through not giving us time to settle and digest. Could be worse though!
As the daylight started to fade, we checked all of our traps to make sure that we were squared away for a successful evening bite. Again we had a back to back walleye episode as well as several more perch. The night was concluded with an after dark, sure bet on walleye flag that turned out to be a rockbass. After the bite abruptly ended, we decided to pack it up and make for home.
We ended the day with 8 or 9 walleye, a bunch of smallmouth, and a couple meals of perch.
Champlain can be a tough place to stay motivated but its a great place to hone in your hook setting skills when you find the fish. With the fish constantly moving being able to get on them can be quite the chore. We mainly fish the islands for the giant pumpkinseed that roam the shallow weedbeds but on this trip they were no where to be found.
The day started well before sunrise and with holes cut, we started hopping around trying to find a hot hole. I was on the ice with my buddy Andy and his two younger brothers. It seemed that the entire area that we shredded held fish you just had to sort through a ton of smaller ones. The ratio seemed to be 1 keeper for every 5 fish caught. There were also a ton of bass and pike around!
As we fished in circles, the fishing never picked up or slowed down. It was constant catching all day. Every once in a while you would you could get in a hole and pop a bunch of fish with decent size but that was rare. The biggest trick to the day was to stay high in the water column. While the crappie bite was lacking, the larger gills seemed to cruise above the smaller ones.
As things started to wind down for the day we had iced some nice fish and got some good pictures. The wind had blown all day and our faces and hands were beyond ready for a break from the cold!
I hit the water alone this morning. The plan was check out a new location and see what it had to offer. The walk in wasn’t as bad as previously thought and within a few feet of shore, I was punching holes. Planning on a cold day, I was dressed warm with my shack and all.
I didn’t end up using the shack or even wearing the jacket. The wind hadn’t picked up yet and the cold was overcome with warmth from punching holes. Luckily, after cooling down, I stayed warm catching fish. Within only a few holes, the number of perch that I had caught was pushing past 75. While they weren’t all keepers. I was averaging 10″ with a few over the 12″ mark.
As I started working through more of the holes, I found very limited weeds and perch just about everywhere. A subtle change from 5 to 4 feet brought different species under my feet. While bass were the predominate species, bluegill started to show up as well as weeds. The shallower I pushed the more bluegill I started to catch. Fishing only inches below the ice, I stumbled into some crappie. The size was lacking but I knew in time that I would find some better fish if I kept at it.
After spending the majority of the morning, I packed up and headed with a buddy to the North East Kingdom to look for some cusk.
I was on this water this morning around 5:45 for the first light bite with my buddy James Vladyka. The target for the day was crappie and the weather was going to cooperate!
Up until about noon, the lake was dead calm. As we worked spot to spot, we quickly realized that the fish were finicky to say the least. At any given spot, we would catch 3 or 4 before they shut off. We tried various colors, baits, depths, and techniques with none being more productive than another. With the recent full moon, the fish are still settling back into a normal routine. It was frustrating to go over the area we were fishing only to see piles of fish sitting there!
The hot bite for the day was on “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures and Northland Live Forage Rippin’ Shad. Bright colors seemed to be the only consistently productive selection. We were also targeting 12-20 feet of water as the smaller fish seemed to be shallower.
Regardless of the “slow” bite, we put some nice fish in the boat and each went home with a generous portion for dinner!