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!
Catching gills is always fun but it can also be very frustrating. When my buddy Tom called me up and said he needed some fish for a work related fish fry, I had just the spot in mind. While I hadn’t checked on the pond yet this winter, the timing was exactly one year from when I had found them last winter. I figured that they would be either in the weedbeds or closely adjacent.
After walking out to a weedbed that I had outlined in the summer, I cut out a large area hoping to find the fish on the edges suspending over short weeds. After only a few holes, I turned to see Tom with a beauty already in hand. Things were looking up and after I finished shredding a small area, I returned to find Tom with a nice pile of fish already started!
The bite stayed strong until around 10:30 when the sun poked through the fog. While bluegill were the main target, we also caught quite a few bass that were aggressively feeding in the mix. Throughout the course of the 5 hours that we fished, we released quite a few nice gills that broke the 9″ mark.
Things couldn’t have gone better. We had enough fish for his needs around noon so we packed it up and headed for a warm lunch at the nearby diner.
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!
It was an interesting day to say the least. After a short morning of trolling boards, I headed to Champlain for some crappie, Launching my boat around 11 am, things were as usual. I had my gear loaded, unhitched, and had my rope clipped on to the bow with the excess rope secured in my tailgate ready to back in. Everything went as planned until I hit the water. As my boat started to float, I heard a loud pop and slowly watched my boat float away deeper and deeper into a dense mat of weeds.
Now in my defense, I hate swimming. I don’t go unless it is completely necessary. I actually contemplated waiting for another boat to come in to rescue me. I though for probably longer than most would have before stripping down and taking a plunge into the nastiest water I have every been in. It took me several tries to get in the boat but I made it work. It was a lot harder than I would have imagined! I spent the next few hours in my underwear drying off which lead to a wicked sunburn on my pasty legs.
Fortunately, after my hardships of the day, the fish were willing to bite. I ended up putting together a limit of nice fish over the next few hours with many throwbacks and some nice bass to boot. There wasn’t any color the fish would hit other than white. All my fish were caught on “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures and the crank bait was dead. With the warm water, it had to be moving slow.
One week after a full moon = go crappie fishing. Everything about this trip seemed right leading up to it. Along with our buddy Mark, we loaded the boat around 8 am with plenty of snacks and drinks and headed back to southern lake Champlain. The theme of the day was “click it” on the counter, which is what we said each time we put a crappie in the boat.
The strategy for today was simple, fish structure. It took us a little while to get dialed in but once we did it was pretty much non stop catching for the three of us. While the plastic bite was good, the interesting part of this trip is that we figured out a little way to prolong the bite once the fish become conditioned. We’ve seen plenty of shows and articles on trolling small crank baits for crappie but we tried our luck at casting them.
After the plastic bite tapered off at each spot, tossing a small crappie crank bait made by Arkie Jigs made the difference. Being on the small side, we were able to rip the bait right along side and on top of the structure we were set up on with very few, if any snags. They were also very useful when the fished decided to take a “lap” off the structure which crappie seem to randomly do. The crank bait allowed us to locate the fish from a greater distance than a jig. While most colors worked, bright plastics and shiny cranks were the best bet.
We finished the day just shy of our goal of 238 with 222 crappie put in the boat and released. A large majority of those fish being keepers. It was refreshing to learn something new as it becomes easy to get stuck doing the tried and true over and over again. Remember, next time you’re out on the try to switch it up every once in a while to put more fish in the boat.
It seems like a yearly trip now that a buddy and I go up for a day to the islands on Lake Champlain and chase bowfin sun up to sun down. It is hard to beat their action!
After catching a dozen or so bluegill, pumpkinseed, and perch we headed for a sheltered bay trying to escape the high winds. With large octopus hooks tied on under medium bobbers, we chunked up our bait and send it out.
While the pattern that produced fish didn’t take long to establish, fine tuning it did. We found bowfin at all depths out to about the 9′ mark but they were very loyal to weeds and wood. Especially where the two were abundant. As we worked the shoreline, any indent in the shoreline with duck weed, wood, and at least a foot of water was stacked up with multiple fish
Going spot to spot, we found that some were better than others. In many cases, we were getting bites every cast when they were placed correctly but the sweet spots were very specific. Hooking up with 10-15 fish per spot was common but as usual, we seemed to lose quite a few. Luckily the numbers of fish put the odds in our favor!
After we worked over the entire area over, we decided to change up species and hit some bass waters. Although they were mostly unproductive, we located a few spots with some pumpkinseed and bluegill still sitting on beds. To pass the time until heading home, we posted up and casted out some bobbers for some hot action.
It was a great day on the water with many fish over 26″. If not again this year, we will certainly be back next summer!