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!
We got the go ahead from the women to hit the ice on Valentine’s day. After sleeping in just a bit, we were headed out on the ice just after 8 to find some panfish. The bite has been decent but the fish quality varies constantly with a lot of small fish in the mix. Only a few people were out most likely do to the cold temps, wind, and snow. After cutting our way out, the fish seemed to be located over one specific weedbed. To combat the cold, we shacked up and got the heaters cranking.
The fish bit. There was nothing you could do wrong as long as the kept the jig moving. We sat 15 feet apart all day once we found a decent pod of fish. The action was constant for gills and the crappie came through in the mix. We were set up paralleling a nice weed edge that the fish were using.
Although the bite was steady throughout the day, the best bites were when the snow came down hard and when the sun was shining. The extremes seemed to bring on the bigger fish. While these were the times to capitalize on, fishing high in the water column also seemed to weed out quite a few of the smaller gills.
We made it home safely after some slippery roads most of the way home!
I pulled my shack up to my desired first hole still in the dark with hopes of some healthy Champlain panfish. I cut a few holes so that I could hop to when the action slowed up but with the severe cold I planned on spending the majority of my day in the warmth of my shack!
After cleaning my hole, igniting my heater, and baiting up my jig, I dropped down. Immediately I was greeted with the red glow of a fish rising from the weeds on my Vexilar. I was hooked up with my first crappie of the day! Nothing to complain about with with a 12″ crappie on the first drop!
From there, the fishing never slowed. There was an abundance of various sized gills. The crappie were around but with the concentration of gills, they didn’t stand a chance! I could have sat in one hole all day but it is very hard for me to be content when I know that there are better fish nearby.
I cut in all different directions and used my underwater camera to search for a hole with a better concentration of crappie. When I found what I was looking for I shacked up and started fishing. The crappie were happy to bite and after putting about a dozen topside I hooked into something significantly larger.
The battle pursued for several minutes with multiple long runs. I was happy to finally see the head of the 30″+ pike poking out of my now cloudy hole. It was cool to land a nice pike on 2 pound test but I was bummed that the hole was no longer fishable. I had just about every weed within 15 yards laying in top of the ice!
Shortly after, I found another concentration of fish and shacked up for the remainder of the day. I packed things up for the day around 4 and headed for home. A long day on the ice put a few nice meals on the table!
I made way for the big lake while the snow was flying. I intended to set up in the dark with the Hydro Glow for crappie but struck out after forgetting my wallet and having to back track. With only an hour till day light and no starting point, I cut a short string of holes hoping that one would offer decent weeds.
None of the holes looked great but I set up in the only one that had decent weeds. They were standing about 4 feet tall in 9 feet of water. While I only stuck one fish before sunrise, I saw several fish marking high so I figured I was in the right area. As I started to see daylight through my Clam one man shack, I decided it was time to shred the area in search of fish.
After cutting out a rather large area, I grabbed my camera and started looking around. I went nearly an hour and a half without seeing much more than a few pumpkinseed. I knew something was off so I started cutting in other directions. I tried south and west first but finally found some crappie set up to the north of my initial location.
I shacked up after locating a nice pod of fish and tried my luck. I caught one within a few minutes and then another. The third fish, however, was a heart breaker. As the two pound black poked into my hole, I realized that it had wrapped up in my transducer. When I tried to remedy the situation, it backed out of the hole and made a run, snapping my line.
For a while the bite got tough. Be it a lack of fish or lack of focus. I ended up staying close to the one hole that produced crappie and caught a total of 7 more before calling it quits around noon to get home before the roads got much worse!
After a rough day yesterday I needed a little redemption. It was Superbowl Sunday so I figured things on the ice would be quiet. We were the first ones on and with holes drilled we started fishing.
The bite was steady but not hot. We picked and poked at lots of crappie and a few nice gills. They liked anything gold or white and when they got tight lipped a single maggot made a world of difference.
The bite changed a few times throughout the day. Early on they wanted things moving upwards very slowly. Around 9, jigging around 3 feet off bottom called in most fish. Towards the end of the day jigging down was the only way they would bite. Being able to figure out these different patterns wasn’t hard but if we hadn’t things would have been much less enjoyable.
When it was time to head home, we both had some nice fillets to cook up for a game time snack!
There is always a day or two every winter when you should just stay home. Today was cold, really cold, that was the root of all problems.
I knew things were amiss when I tried to fire up my auger. It always starts within 3 pulls no matter the temperature but it didn’t. I pulled and pulled until it finally fired but the pull cord didn’t coil back up. I had snapped the recoil spring and wouldn’t be able to get it running again until it was replaced. I figured that I better cut all necessary holes so I dealt with frozen hands to make sure that we could find fish.
The fishing was off and only a few holes showed suspended fish on the flasher. After setting up my shack, i started scooping my hole only to break the ladle clean off! Frustrated, I tried different jigs, plastics, and meat but nothing seemed to work. While working the suspended fish a mark appeared on bottom. I dropped down and landed an 8″ gill. While it wasn’t great it was better than nothing. For the next 20 minutes I caught a couple more gills, some decent perch, and one micro crappie. Nothing special but it redeemed the troubles from prior.
I figured that I would be better off sitting at home working on my auger than catching a few fish so I packed up and headed home. After a few calls, I found the necessary parts and was ready for the next day!
After a successful jigging new waters, we decided to test out the night time crappie bite. As many of your probably already know crappie can often be great night time feeders. Most fishermen choose to fish at night using some sort of illumination, anything from a lantern to a car headlight. For a few years now we have been fishing for crappie and trout at night use the Hydroglow Fishing Light. The Hydro Glow illuminates by using Green LED’s which are less abrasive to the fish and their feeding attitude.
We cut three holes, put the light in the middle hole and shacked up. As you can see in the pictures below the light really illuminates the ice and the water underneath it. It didn’t take long for the light to begin attracting bait-fish and crappie. Dylan hooked into a crappie within the first 10 minutes of the light being deployed. Night fishing requires a lot of patience. The fish typically are cruising at night searching out an easy meal. The longer you can stay in a hole with fish nearby the better chance you will have of putting a few topside. We fished them the same as we would during the day. Small jigs tipped with Maki Plastics and spikes.
The area we were fishing didn’t have much for weeds or any other kind of structure. When you would mark a fish on the bottom they were usually pretty easy to entice them into biting. We were able to ice a decent number of crappie with a few bluegill and perch mixed in a matter of a few hours. Not a bad first trip for a new spot.
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!
It’s always tough swallowing a skunk or anything close to it but usually you can find some good out of it. We searched out some new spots today. Spots that in the summer are decent at times but in general only for short time periods. With a mind set that things might be a bust, we made way at well before first light.
We caught some crappie and bluegill right off but things really shut off as the wind picked up. With the fishing slowing the final bit of motivation to leave came when a guy started setting his tip ups in the few holes that we had cut.
Our second stop for the day was at a local bait shop that we spend quite a bit of time at. We talked fishing, picked up some spoons, and traded some fish tales. From there we sat in the parking lot and made a game plan for the rest of the day. We picked out a few spots that produce decent fish in the summer but we had never set foot on after ice up.
We cut apart two more bodies of water before realizing that it wasn’t a day for searching out fish. Either they had gone somewhere completely out of the ordinary or they just weren’t biting. With a lack of hooksets, we decided to head to a deepwater bluegill lake that rarely disappoints.
After making the mile walk to the desired hump, we cut out a large area that they usually roam through. With holes ranging from 35 up to 11 feet of water we began fishing. The marks were present and aggressive. The first few fish that came up were bass. Within a few holes though we had found gills. The problem was they were small. Fishing about 20 feet from my buddy Andy, my Vexilar let up with 16 feet of fish in 35 feet of water. Confused I asked him what he was seeing. Soon enough both of our graphs were stacked up. He sent his underwater camera down surprised to see thousands of gills stacked top to bottom. With bigger ones in the mix we picked away until we got frustrated. Occasionally, we would pluck and aggressive largemouth of rainbow cruising through the bait.
With out heads sore from scratching, we packed up our gear and headed back to the parking lot. The whole day was strange and I think we can contribute most of the lack of fish to an off day. Certainly, we can’t give up after just one bad trip!
I was on the ice well before daylight searching for fish in an area that I had never set foot on before. I had been around with my boat but without catching anything I wasn’t all that impressed. The weeds were limited and from what I saw on my side imaging, structure was almost non existent.
I shredded a 100 yard long section in a grid pattern and started hole hopping. It was still dark and before dropping a jig I had marks on my flasher. They weren’t moving so at first I figured that I had found a cluster of weeds. As my jig broke the bottom of the ice though, the top line moved up quickly. Within only seconds of wetting a line I iced my first crappie. It was nothing to write home about but the 9″ crappie swam away unharmed.
For the next few hours, I put crappie and crappie topside ranging from 7-14″. The were hungry and very aggressive. Until about 2:30, I spent the entire day on the water by myself. By this point I had handled a couple hundred fish and was ready for a break. I packed up my gear and made my way back to the truck without giving my location or success away.
The day was bright and the water was murky. I found that anything bright worked well but the second something was dark under the ice the fish shut off completely. I also found a location where the fish are not spooky at all. They actually enjoyed noise. I found the best holes were the ones that skimmed over hard and I had to kick open. As soon as I stomped my feet, the fish came running!