Tag Archives: Northern Pike

4-7-12 – Limits On The River

We were packed up and on the road this morning shortly after 6am. We hit the baitshop on the way thinking that fatheads would be the ticket. Upon arrival to the Connecticut River, the weather was calm, partly cloudy, and the temp was in the low 30’s. The water was glass so we figured using the small rooftop boat would be no issue being that our only motor were the oars.

We launched the boat and quickly realized that we were in for a quick, cramped trip if the fishing was poor. We slightly over packed for the room we had. Funny thing was, we only used about a tenth of what we brought. The rest was just for added weight.

The beginning started slow with only one short crappie and some decent perch being caught. We had one boil on a perch by a large northern pike as it came towards the boat. Fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, it didn’t grab the perch causing a commotion we certainly didn’t need in the tiny, flat bottomed boat! It took maybe a half hour for us to actually find the crappie in the large area that we were fishing but once we did, it was on. Here is the first keeper crappie in the boat for the day.

In about two hours we were both able to get our limits of nice sized fish. The numbers and average size today was outstanding. One of the better days either of us have had in this hole. We had 43 true doubles and who knows how many dropped fish that could have skyrocketed that number! The total number of fish for the day was well north of 300. Can’t ask for much more than that!

This is what I look like when I don’t bring food…

We tried to take a shot of the two of us for the blog but we need a better photographer than a bucket on a side hill. Any takers? ha

Other than crappie, we were only able to catch perch. They were moving shallow for the spawn. Although most were in the 8-9″ range we caught some pretty decent sized males mixed in deeper with the crappie. Fishing the shore line with 5′ under the bobber was most effective. As soon as the bait was deep enough to stand the bobber up, the fish were biting. If we would have fished the shore line more, I think we could have each gotten a few meals.

We didn’t bring a thermometer but the water was still extremely cold and the fish were still holding tight in their winter pattern, suspending in deeper water. We both brought out Vexilars so we were able to know when and where the fish were cruising through. The majority of the fish we marked were down 10-14′ in 20+’ but we had the most success with out baits down only 5-6′.

We had brought the fatheads thinking that we would be able to target larger fish. This proved to be a waste of money for the day. We caught one crappie, one perch, and ended up dumping the rest on shore at the end of the day. We caught the rest of fish on baby shad by Bobby Garland. We only tried two colors today so its hard to say what worked and what didn’t. I ran chartreuse and red glitter while bobby used the albino shad. With the feeding spree going on today I think any color or similar shaped bait would have been effective.

1-31-12 – Champlain Again!!!

After a sad showing yesterday attempting to night fish pathetically lethargic crappie, a few of my buddies and I decided it was a good day to make up for it and chase flags on Lake Champlain. Of course, we would pass the time between flags by jigging panfish. Overall, we had a fairly successful day. The weather was decent but it didn’t take long to change to snow though. Better than rain I guess!

We stopped at Dockside to pick up bait and headed for the ice around 7am. We got three dozen medium/heavy shiners and were set up with about 20 tip ups out by 8. The flags didn’t take long to start popping. I forgot how much action there can be fishing like this. I wish I had wore a pedometer! At the beginning of the day we were pretty civil approaching our traps that had been tripped. We took turns and walked fast at best. By the end of the day it was an all out sprint with plenty of stiff arms to be had. We all had plenty of chances at fish in the end.

We had two different set ups on our tip ups. One set was rigged with steel leaders the other had straight 8 pound fluorocarbon. None of us noticed any difference in the number of flags on one style or the other. The only difference was break-offs. Obviously, when fishing the toothy critters of the Esocidae family (northern pike and pickerel), line durability is a big concern. The fluoro had several break-offs while the steel leaders had none. Makes sense right? I have read stories and articles about how in certain locations using a steel leader will completely shut off the fish from biting while some times they prefer it. Obviously, the fish today were not too worried! Perfect!

Throughout the day we landed quite a few bass, pickerel, and northern pike. Although none of the fish were huge, two of the pike were over 30″. Jigging pannies was decent all day but they never seemed to school up like the did the last few days. Lots of hole hopping was necessary! At the end of the day, all the guys jigging were spread out far more than normal in a large area.

I could think of a million worse ways to spend a Tuesday! If nothing else, we provided entertainment for all the guys out there as we ran for flags!