Tag Archives: Bullhead

5-18-14 – A Little Bit Of Everything

I got on the water with my buddy Dan around 7:30 am. With no wind yet, we figured that crappie fishing was a better way to start the day than for catfish.

We found some fish early but for the most part they had vacated the shallows. The ones that were still remaining were loyal to trees and shade or if nothing else, dense weed patches. Color didn’t seem to be a big deal as long as it was placed on the sweet spot. With enough crappie in the boat for a good meal we headed out to fish for bait for the bigger fish.

After putting a few bluegill, sunnies, shiners and perch into the livewell, we headed to a main lake point in 6 FOW. We chunked up our bait and started tossing them out using the wind to our advantage.

While the target species was catfish, we also caught largemouth bass, pike, pickerel, pike-pickerel hybrid, bowfin, and bullhead. The catfish weren’t concentrated. It seemed like we would only catch one per spot but the bite usually came pretty quick. On the plus side, there was plenty of action with the other bigger species as well as many panfish while casting bobbers.

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2-25-14 – Another Long Day

Today was a long day for one of us.  The plan was to head to the river to check on a sure spot and then head to a different lake for the evening Hydro Glow bite.  We hadn’t been to this spot this year so we checked with the owner of the yard that we access it from if it was still okay for us to park by the gate.  She was very pleased that we were asking, it’s important to appreciate your privileges to ensure that you’re able to maintain them.  We were pleased to see that we were the only two on the ice that morning as we unloaded the truck.

Our plan was simple, we were going to set up a few tip ups for pike in the shallows while we jigged the deeper water for crappie.  We had seen plenty of big pike in this area in years past while fishing in the boat but we had never targeted them, we were hoping for a good one.  As we set our flags, Bobby began to also cut out our search grid in the deep water for the crappie.  When we’re trying to locate the school we usually drill and pattern of two along the channel edges, this allows us to cover a lot of water quickly.   With all of our tip ups set we began jigging through the holes we had cut.

The spot is typically very productive for insane numbers of crappie suspended throughout the water column.  We have noticed though in past years that the more ice we get through out the course of the winter the water seems to get dirty and really cause problems.  As it was this day, the majority of the fish we were marking and catching were within three feet of the bottom of the ice, and the fish we were catching were small.  Finally Bobby hooked into something with some weight, it doubled his T7 custom rod right over.  To our surprise we found a Pike/Pickerel hybrid on the other end of the line.   We now know that this spot is an early ice spot before the water turns over in mid winter.

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While the morning bite wasn’t spectacular, I had high hopes that the night bite would be better. I was on the water for 4 pm headed to a spot that produced some crappie last year. Using Navionics, I found the 10′ depth that I was looking for.

I hoped that I didn’t have to cut many holes so that the fish wouldn’t spook. My first hole was the winner fortunately. Dropping my Vexilar in, the weeds came up to about 6′ in 10′ of water. Wanting to see what the weeds looked like I dropped my camera down the hole. Before I reached the weeds, a red mark came shooting up and when my eyes switched to the camera, I confirmed that there were crappie were in the area.

After getting everything set up, the sun was starting to set so it was go time. My first drop yielded a crappie immediately. Good start to the night so far. As time started to pass, the number of fish that I was both catching and seeing on the flasher was surprising me!

It didn’t take long to key in on a pattern. I would catch crappie then a few shiners would come through. This pattern continued throughout the night. I found that the shiners were anywhere from inches below the ice down to a foot above the weeds while the crappie came anywhere from the bottom to the weeds tops. One of the coolest parts of the night was that when the crappie came in the weeds seemed to explode on the graph. They were super aggressive.

At one point I had a lull in action until a big mark came it. It took about 5 minutes to get it to bite but when it did it started screaming out drag. To the hole and out again a few times we battled. I figured it had to be a bass but I was pleasantly surprised when a 16″ bullhead came up the hole.

Around 8:30 the fishing started to slow and just after 9 I decided to pack it in and head home for the night. I had iced over 50 crappie, as well as some pumpkinseed and that bullhead.

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1-8-14 – Switching It Up

I fished with a buddy today at a spot that I usually stay away from because of the trek in. With hopes of suspending crappie and some pike on tip ups, the walk in wasn’t so bad!

The action started off with a pickerel before we got our spread of flags out. With short bursts throughout the day, We both stayed warm chasing the action down. We both caught some decent pike, pickerel, and bass but nothing overly large. The crappie on the other hand were almost non-existent. Mainly in the deep water were bluegill, pumpkinseed, bullhead and perch. Can’t forget about the mudpuppy too!

It seemed like the pickerel were in less than 7 FOW, the pike were 7-12′ and the bass were deeper. As the sun started to set the cold breeze really sunk in and forced us to pack up and head for home.

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7-21-13 – Panfish And A Drum

To start off a several day fishing spree, I met up with a buddy and his wife to fish for some panfish on Lake Champlain. The main target for the day was to be white perch but in the same area would be yellow perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill, and most likely every other fish Lake Champlain has. The weather was suppose to finally cool down after a two week heat wave and I couldn’t be happier.

We were on the water shortly after 7 and it was starting off as a great day. There was a slight chop on the water and the fish bit right off. Before the anchor was even set we had some fish in the boat. We used the anchors long rope to change our fishing spot for as long as the fish bit. When the bite would slow we would flag out further until we got on them again. The majority of the day was vertical jigging with a 1/8 ounce jig on the bottom and a hook tied in line a foot or two above. As the sun rose higher in the sky, I used a drop shot rig to hold the bottom thinking that the fish would move down the water column to stay in the cooler water. Not to mention, as it got later, more boats came out and the water became rough making it tough to feel bites with little to no weight.

The fishing was either really good or really bad and it became apparent very quick when we needed to move. It seemed like throughout the day, the larger fish were holding tight to the deep side of a weed edge while the smaller ones were in the weeds. Using electronics was huge in order to locate the weeds when they weren’t visible. The majority of the day was spent in 11-16 feet of water. While most of the fish were holding close to the bottom, the white perch were anywhere from 7-9′ below the surface.

Mixed in with the panfish we were after were several nice bass, bullpout, and drum.

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3-20-12 – It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Gets Hurt Then It’s Fun Again!

Morning

Today was a two part day on Lake Champlain. I began the day in the islands ditch fishing for bullhead. The setup for this type of fishing is simple. I run a 1/2 -3/4 ounce bell sinker with two snelled hooks in line spaced out above the weight. The height of the hook depends on where  the fish are running but a good place to start is with the first being tied in 6″ up and the second 6-10″. We used worms and Powerbait with success on both. In general, we caught more fish on the worms. My first cast with Powerbait on yielded a good crappie that measured in at 12.5″!

The bullhead shut off early in the day as the sun came up and only bit sporadically for the remainder of the morning. Comparing this year to last, the fish seemed to be in fewer numbers (could be timing of the run in regards to my trip) and larger in size.

We caught some huge sunnies and loads of perch. The numbers of perch were unreal! We were all pulling doubles throughout the day! Just being there for the sunrise made the trip with it.

Afternoon

For the afternoon part of the trip, I met up with bobby for a ride to southern Lake Champlain chasing crappies from a boat with Jamie. We left the launch around 2:30pm and headed to a spot that had been producing. We quickly got into the fish but found a lot of smaller sized between the keepers. We spent a few hours picking through the before it slowed down. During the excitement while in a run of big fish I stubbed my toe. The nail got jammed back and is completely black and blue now. I think it may have broke. Didn’t stop me from fishing the rest of the day though! This spot in particular is very tight as it is surrounded by low hanging trees and with just enough room for a boat to squeeze in. Because of the space limitations, we were using our ice rods by Austin Custom Rods for much of the time. It is a blast pulling in a slab that can run where ever it wants to!

On the way back to the launch, we decided that we should try another spot that had given up a few fish in a past year. It was a slow bite producing only pike, bass, and bluegill. The fish were exploding everywhere chasing bait. Even though we were all ready to go we motored a short distance to a third and final location. This spot had great results. For an hour, we pounded slammers. We were throwing back 11″ crappies because those were the “small” ones! We all ended up with some nice bags to take home for supper.

Some fish for the freezer.