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!
With hopes of some walleye willing to bite, a buddy and I were on the water for sunrise. The bite was slow but with enough water to keep us occupied until he had to go to softball late in the afternoon, we figured that we would find something to save the trip. We fished spot to spot that had produced in the past with very limited success.
While the rockbass were willing to bite just about everywhere, it wasn’t until we got in some shallow water that we found some bluegill and perch. Big gills too! Anywhere that there was woody debris in the water with weeds nearby seemed to hold quite a few biters.
After locating several new spots that the panfish were holding up on, we spent the rest of the day scanning the bottom looking for new structure. We marked some new trees and bottom irregularities that looked promising. While this part of the day was just about wrapped up, I had plans to hit the water later that night with Bobby for some trout!
We motored around a good deal of the lake as neither of us had been there before. We never found much promise but after a seeing a few fish in a tight area we anchored up and submerged the Hydro Glow Fishing Lights.
Fishing before the sun set was pointless. It was nearly impossible to keep the small perch off the hook. Once it was dark things changed. Although we didn’t catch a ton of fish, the perch more than doubled in size and the water below us loaded up with smelt. Lake trout were the only trout species we caught even though rainbows were our target. The lakers that we caught were spitting up tons of smelt when we brought them into the boat.
One of the key points from the night was that lakers wanted the bait moving. Maybe only a few inches up and down but constantly. After a few hours of tough fishing we decided to pack it up and make for home. We learned a new body of water and caught a new species at night.
We will be back soon!
With spring on the way, the fish patterns start to change a bit. Knowing this, I thought that it would be fun to go and try to locate some perch. I was on the water for sunrise and the wind was already whipping. I covered about 1/4 of the pond before realizing that it wasn’t my day. While the perch were everywhere, none were over 7″. I tried deep, shallow, and everything in between. It didn’t seem to make any difference where I was.
To compensate for the lack of perch, I headed shallow hoping that the the bluegill would bite. The wind was still blowing hard and after punching holes, I was contemplating heading home! All the water on top of the ice made it so I didn’t want to bring my shack out and get it soaked. Toughing it out wasn’t much better of an option though!
As I started working through the holes, the number of fish I was catching was decent. Although harder to fish, smaller jigs seemed to be producing better. I found most of the fish today in shallower water in the mix with tall weeds. The more holes that I fish, the more refined my pattern became. As I pushed on to the deepest set of my holes, I located a good numbers of rockbass, All winter they have been MIA so this must mean warmer weather is near!
The day began around 8 am. We knew that the fish were around because they bit yesterday but the odds of them sitting still overnight is slim to none. Starting out our search in the productive holes from the day before, it didn’t take long to realize that they had moved. We checked a few other locations that they had bit in recently with no real success. Starting to parallel the shoreline working through the weedbed seemed like the best odds of getting on them rather than waiting.
Shortly after our search began, we found them. The gills were biting well and the crappie bit as they moved through. With a chilly temperature and a breeze in the air, I was fortunate enough to find a nice opening in the dense milfoil patch that I could set up my shack over. For the remainder of the day, I sat in that same hole picking at the fish as they moved through. The water was clear enough to see the fish move in and I was able to see how they wanted it moved. There was a steady stream of bluegill and I ended up releasing 45 crappie that were about 9″. Many of the larger crappie that I saw were cruising right under the ice and weren’t too interesting in my presentation. We left the ice with enough time to get to the bait shop for minnows as we had intentions of a nighttime trout bite!
I ended up taking a few crappie and perch home for a meal on the ice tomorrow!
With hopes of a night bite, we packed up the two man Clam flipover, a vexilar, minnows, heater, and a Hydro Glow Fishing Light. We targeted mid lake humps and sharp breaks near shore. The mid lake humps seemed to hold the most fish so we stuck with it until heading for home.
While these lights are killers on this body of water during the summer months, we had no idea how the trout would react in the winter. On our best set up, we were perched over 18 feet of water with a sandy bottom. Paralleling us to the front was a lengthy sandbar with deep water at our backs. We mainly worked the bottom 6 feet of the water column but when a fish flashed above we reeled up and tried to work them. Most of the trout came cruising 6-10′ off the bottom but one was picked right off the bottom in the mix with the crappie and rockbass.
All night long we ran gold tungsten jigs from the Clam Pro Tackle Line. It didn’t seem to matter what style jig was tied on as long as it was gold. A very steady but slow jigging action seemed to trigger the most strikes. As the clock neared 1am the fishing had slowed significantly and we decided that it was time to pack it in so we could get home and do it all again tomorrow!
The plan for the day was focused around getting a scouting report for some waterfowl hunting we intended to do the following morning. Rather than go with just one thing on our minds, my two buddies and I brought along some fishing gear as well.
While the ducks and geese weren’t flying with great numbers, one of my buddies wanted to set up and try out his luck with decoys and calls anyway. After leaving him off in a small cut, we putted out to where we could potentially catch some fish.
The first spot we stopped at yielded a few walleye, smallmouth bass, and rockbass. We were sticking to the vertical jigging in wood pattern that has proved successful all summer. One alteration to our approach recently has been to use a whole crawler, rather than half, but hook it in the middle and then hook each end one more time so that there is a little more meat on the hook.
We fished a few more spots before trying to locate fish in deeper holes. While scanning around we located a pod of fish in 35 feet of water suspending off a sharp break. We made a quick mark and back tracked with the trolling motor. After a few drops we both hooked up. Bullhead! Big ones at that! We caught a few more before deciding that we didn’t need any more.
With the boat suspended over 35 feet of water we started casting to shore. The first few casts produced fish. Walleye too! We were dragging bottom and the fish were smacking them! They were charging so hard that it felt like the jig had gone over a ledge and was free falling. Trying to get the slack up before the fish stole the crawler was a challenge!
We tried to continue this pattern throughout the entire deep hole but once we left the muddy bottom and hit rocks, the species changed and only perch, smallmouth, and pike were around.
My girlfriend and I spent the day on the water trying to get her to boat her first walleye. Even though it isn’t a tough technique, vertical jigging in timber can be overwhelming with the numbers of times you have to retie. Although she isn’t new to fishing, I don’t want frustrate her to a point where she won’t enjoy going with me. For that reason, she is allowed to nap in the boat! I figure more fish for me!
We were on the water for sunrise and catching fish wasn’t a problem. The rockbass, perch, and smallmouth bass were aggressive. Walleye on the other hand were very elusive. After working with her on techniques to detect bites vs snags and ways to potentially free the jig without snapping off, we were on steady fish.
We fished hard until 3:30 and only one walleye was brought in the boat. I wish I could report that it was her who caught it but it wasn’t. Probably the highlight of the day was one rockbass bite we were on in 30+ feet of water. The fish were on before we could reel up slack after closing the bail and they were slabs! Most of them were 11-11.5″!
Check out Quick Bite on our YouTube page for more action!
We hit the water today with plans of fishing until dark on a stretch that we have only seen a few times. We had a few spots in mind on where to look but planned on spending a chunk of the day searching for new areas and techniques. The weather was going to be nice but the wind was going to be whipping all day. With a good charge on the trolling motor battery and warms clothes on, we hit the water
We started off the day on a long stretch of rocky bottom with little success. Yellow perch and rockbass were the only fish holding up behind the larger rocks that the fish graph identified. With the strong wind in the teens, we figured that the fish had been blown off to their sheltered retreats
The next spot we hit turned out to be one of the top spots for the day. We located a small, subtle rise in 30 feet of water with lots of bedrock on the downstream side and steep breaks on the inside and outside. The fish were piled up on top and the first few drops resulted in walleye. After several walleye under the slot, the bite switched over to rockbass, perch, and smallmouth. We worked the area through and gave it a break to recharge.
From the next few hours we spent time searching for new locations and checking weed edges for panfish. Although nothing was overly productive, we located some great seasonal locations!
On the way back to the launch we checked the small rise we found earlier and found the same results. walleye bit first then switched to other species. While trying to locate where the walleye went on the second pass, we located a submerged tree adjacent to a deep water weed edge. We got bit our first few drops and when we got hooked up we each put our fish over the slot in the boat. With our limits complete we went back searching.
Before leaving we located a cluster of what we believed to be tires and other debris in deep water. We worked through the area picking up a bunch of walleye and rockbass. To our surprise, tires don’t snag as easily as one would think. Ending the day on a high note sounded like a good idea, plus it was just before dark. We loaded up the boat after a successful day and talked about how we could make the next trip better!
Another day of trying something new turned out successful. I hit the water with two buddies early this morning hoping to find walleye on a completely new section of river. Replicating the vertical jigging technique that has proven successful elsewhere, we were in search of mostly wood but in reality any irregularity that might hold fish.
Throughout the course of the day we picked up 25 walleye, a dozen smallmouth bass, some perch, and loads of rockbass. We found that white was the hot color for pretty much the entire day and a steady hand caught more fish a jigging one. Over the course of about 7 miles, we fished a few dozen spots. Of all the spots, probably 75% of them held walleye.
While that sounds like a lot of places to catch fish, we passed over so many that looked decent but had to keep chugging. The mission of the day was to explore and that’s what we did. While we didn’t fish every spot possible, we fished the obvious and ideal looking ones and just marked the others with way points.
We found that the smallest walleye were holding in deep water (30’+) while the larger fish were in between 12-20′. From 20-30′ was mostly a dead zone other than the large and aggressive pods of rockbass.
I hit the water this morning with a few buddies. We were on the water for sunrise and planned to only stay a few hours due to prior commitments. With the water flows in our favor and some nice weather up until about noon, it couldn’t get any better. That is until we put some fish in the boat!
For a short while, the bite was slow. Part of the problem with the spots that we fish are that the fish don’t hold in them over night so the mornings tend to take time to be productive. Each trip, a chunk of time is spent trying to locate them coming from their staging areas. Once the sun hits the top of the trees, locating fish is usually not an issue though.
Finally, on this trip, we had some success! The fish that we found were coming from a large hole through a gradual sand rise funneling to their daytime haunts. Though this path might not be the one they use every time, it certainly was today! Dragging 3/8 – 1/2 ounce jigs tipped with half crawlers was the ticket. With no significant flow, the trolling motor was set at 15%. This speed seemed to provide us the most production until we could see the sun.
Over the next few hours, we targeted several log jams in 11-16 FOW. The majority of the fish we caught were rockbass, perch, and smallmouth bass with walleye coming in closely just behind. While none of the fish were over the slot, all three of us took home a few eaters. My grandfather sure will be happy when he gets this delivery!
We got on the water at 5 am. We have been keeping track of the water flows recently, trying to align a day where we could get on the water early when there would be some slack above the dam. Finally the day came!
The morning started off cool and foggy with no breeze. As we started fishing, things got off to a slow but fast start. Before even boating our first fish we burned through a tub of crawlers. Although we were getting a lot of bites, none were good enough for us to bury a jig. As the tub quickly dwindled, the first fish came aboard. It was as we expected, a rockbass. As we put a few more rockbass in the boat, we began moving around trying to locate where the walleye were holding up.
The fog was thick and as the sun got a little warmer the walleye turned on. They were located very tight to woody debris in 12-14′ of water. They were relating to brush and smaller timber more than the large logs which usually changes as mid day approaches. Vertical jigging with 1/2 ounce jigs was the only way that we can pull these fish out from the trees without snagging constantly. Although, we did burn through our fair share of jigs!
The hot color for the day seemed to be chartreuse yellow and pink. The one big thing that we were able to confirm was that today the walleye wanted whole crawlers rather than the standard half that we usually offer.
Check out Early Morning Walleye on our YouTube page for more action!