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!
Here is a video compilation from earlier this winter while we were searching for walleye.
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!
With a slow morning chasing deep water perch I was hopeful that things would get better on a new body of water!
Our preferred spot was somewhat occupied by a single guy. Wanting to not crowd him, we headed to a second spot that we located last fall in the boat. We ended up with out tip ups spread over 8-14 feet of water that was healthy with milfoil and curly pond weed.
As we set our 4th tip up for the afternoon, our 3rd flag tripped. The bass were proving to be aggressive! With what seemed like forever, we finally laid out our 14 trap spread with jigging holes prepped. The fish were hungry so it was a good thing I picked up extra bait!
After only a short while, we figured out what depths certain species preferred. Pickerel were in the 8 foot range, bass were 8-12 and the perch were cruising the deeper end of our spread on the weed edge. The action was steady and very few flags weren’t successful.
As evening approached a white out rolled in causing difficulty seeing flags. We spent a little bit more time walking around tending to the flags that were on the outskirts of our visible area. During one of my tending breaks while jigging, I managed to land one rainbow and lose another in the hole while it spun around and around. We were hopeful that some more would hit our minnows but they never did.
Just before dark we picked up our gear and made way for home. It was a successful afternoon and it surely made up for the slow morning bite!
Deep water perch can be a difficult thing to pinpoint and at times will make you want to give up. When I head out looking for them I consider a good day ending with anything over 20 in the bucket but I don’t consider less a failed trip. I know that they move and sometimes it is just impossible to keep up with them on foot.
On my most recent trip, I started off in 35-40 feet of water but was unable to locate anything over 8″. The small fish were everywhere and very aggressive. Up until about 8 am I caught nothing worthy of going in the bucket. With the numerous small fish around I gave up on my drop shot rig and started fishing with tungsten and maggots.
I was marking a few marks suspended 6 to 10 feet off bottom so I figured that would be a good place to start figuring that the small found would be mostly loyal to the bottom. Before I made it half way down I had fish rising up and they were big ones! I was catching quality fish but missed quite a few because of the amount of time it took to reach bottom.
I ended up calling it a morning around 11 with 18 fish in my bucket. I needed to hit the bait shop for some minnows before moving on to the next body of water for an afternoon bass and pickerel bite!
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!