Tag Archives: Fish

12-18-15 – Winter Prep Scout Trip

While we wait for some ice posts to  start up, lets talk about ways to improve your early ice success. In the past, we have written about scouting for productive weed patches before the ice forms but there is more to it than that. Knowing what makes them productive is key.

A few weeks ago, Andy and I spent time looking for crappie spots that would fire up for early ice on Lake Champlain. We went prepared with minnows and plastics. Knowing that there aren’t many fish that can resist fatheads, we planned on casting “Live” Baby Shad until we put some panfish in the boat, then we would anchor up and try to fine tune our presentations.

It didn’t take us long with the use of side imaging to find the main weed edges in a larger area and that was where we started fishing. While we had a strong wind from the west, there was a small bluff blocking that majority of what would have made it a very tough day. When the wind would let up, we could see the weeds. The taller weeds might have held fish but unless you can vertical jig, it is very tough to fish without constantly tangling up. Once we found weeds that were tall but tipped over at about 2′ off bottom, we started catching fish.

The crappie were suspending 2-3 feet below the surface in 5-8 feet of water and chasing minnows. Once we found the right depth to set our bobbers at, the bite stayed steady. We worked the “Live” Baby Shad all day and threw out a bonus rod tipped with a minnow. We caught pike, bass, crappie, and bluegill on it.

The bite preference changed several time over the course of the day. We had some wicked snow flurries that put over an inch of snow in the boat. Much of the day was spent in a white out! When the snow was flying and wind was blowing, the fish were super active and fishing fast seemed to produce the biggest fish with not many missed opportunities. When the wind would let up and the sun showed, dead sticking or the minnow was really the only way to catch fish.

We messed around on different types of weeds but only milfoil that was tipped over produced. Once we figured an area out, fishing the taller weed edges seemed to be the main corridors for movement. The fish preferred nastier conditions and we the best way to describe the bite was that we had to match the retrieval speed with the wind.

1219150959 1219151405a

Advertisements

1-5-16 – And We’re Back!!!

It’s a late start to the winter but we are finally ready for the 2016 ice season here in the Northeast. We apologize that it has been so long since we’ve made a post but we’re back and ready to share our adventures with you all once again! We’ve got new and exciting tips and tricks to share in the months to come.  The last year has been spent chasing new species and expanding our versatility to put fish in hand.  We are still chasing panfish but are focusing on less pressured waters and new techniques. Thanks for sticking with us and stay tuned for whats to come!

dylan8351_2015-04-27_07-11-12

3-15-15 – Mixed Bag

I returned to a place that I swore off for the rest of the year as the bite had been slow and very busy. With a heavy wind in the forecast , It was one of the places I thought that I would be sheltered though.

The fishing was as expected. It was slow but there were a few pickers in the mix if you hole hopped enough. With one decent fish per hole in the right area, it took a while for dinner to find its way into the bucket.

The majority of the fish were found cruising around open water suspended quite a ways from any weeds. Very backwards from a normal bite here. With late ice in the air, you can’t rule out any of the usual locations.

The fish were also particular with what they wanted. They liked a small gold jig and bubblegum plastic with one to two maggots stacked on top. From hole to hole the cadence also changed. Some liked it pounding while others preferred deadsticking.

It was a frustrating day but I ended up with a nice mess of fish to take home!

0315151219 0315151245

3-13-15 – Crappie Evening Bite

I took the day to catch up on chores around the house but made plans mid day to chase an evening crappie bite with my buddy Mark. We ended up on the ice shortly after 4 and got right into the fish.

The fish were cruising a weed flat in 10-12 feet of water. They preferred the holes with weeds that came up to about 5 feet but could be caught just about anywhere. When you found them, they were super aggressive! We tried multiple jig, plastic, meat combos but it didn’t seem to matter as long as it was moving.

As the sun started to set, the fishing slowed but with fish still cruising, you just had to wait. Just about every fish that went through bit. As time went by we iced some nice crappie with the biggest pushing 13″. While the majority of the fish came through 6-8 feet off bottom, we did pick several right out of the mud.

We released them all for next time and packed it in just before 10.

0313151844

3-12-15 – Gills, Cusk, And Smelt

The posts have been lacking lately but with a change in the seasons coming, times are busy!

After a solid solo morning trip for gills, the main focus of my day was an evening trip I had planned with a buddy. He wanted to catch some cusk but after a few weeks since my last trip, I was unsure how the bite would be. Regardless, I had a bucket of dead shiners and plenty of batteries for the headlamps.

We were set up well before dark with cutbait staggered between 20-60 feet of water. No action occurred before sunset and it took a while for anything after dark set in. With a super slow bite in progress, we hooked up the hydro glow and jigged up smelt to pass the time.

Fortunately, the smelt were willing to bite. With only a few cusk coming topside we at least redeemed our night. After a few hours we packed things up and made way for home!

0312151219 0312152319

3-8-15 – Good Thing For Persistence!

Our hopes were high that we were going to find crappie in a pond that we had never been on before. It was going to be a nice day the only X factor was going to be the snow conditions in a part of the state we hadn’t been to recently.

Our hopes were quickly squashed when we saw a lake untouched by anyone and a bout 18″ of crusty snow. Regardless, we packed our sleds and made way for a few spots we identified by means of satellite imagery.

The walking was miserable and the loads of small perch and bluegill were over whelming. The highlight of this stop was capturing some cool footage of crawfish in shallow water.

After struggling to make it back to the truck, we came up with a new game plan which included a well traveled spot that was sure to have had some recent foot traffic.

We grabbed some lunch and got back on the water. The walking was much better but the fish were still no where to be found. Our past experiences here were that the morning bite was the best but you could still pick all day long as the fish constantly moved around. Between three of us, we caught one fish from noon to almost 3. Things were not looking good.

We tried three other spots before coming up with a quitting time. As we returned to our first stop at the new location we said 3 was the cut off. If the fish weren’t biting we were going home.

Wouldn’t you know it, at 2:55 it happened. The big perch moved into the shallows and by 4:30 all three of us we were off the ice with limits of slabs!

We could have called it a bust much earlier in the day but our stubbornness kept us going and it paid off!

11056840_596407003677_1729489101_n

0308151656b 0308151716a

3-7-15 – Slush Is No Fun

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!
0307150854a 0307151830a