We've hit our solid mid-winter patterns over the last 8-10 days. There's a month of quality fishing ahead.
If you've paid any attention to the news, you know that there's been a series of go-throughs this year. Always, always be careful out there, especially over deeper water and in areas with current or springs. Ice thickness varies greatly this season, and 6-8 inches might be right next to 3-4 or less.
Midwinter Tip: To
have Productive days, anglers need to be prepared to move around and
re-set up over active fish multiple times during the day.
Pike: The size of
fish has dropped off a little over the last week, but anglers continue
to connect with decent numbers of fish. Fish are starting to roam weedy,
flat areas and having a wide spread to your gear is the best way to
connect with active fish. While I have been recommending the use of
larger live bait the last few updates, you might want to mix it up a bit
now, baiting with different sized shiners to see what the fish are
chasing. Our lakes have incredible baitfish populations, and shiners are
one of the key forage species, but if the fish are keyed in on a
certain size, they may not chase bait that is smaller or larger. We're right on the cusp of switching to deadbait as well.
For now, stick to a mix of shiner sizes, using heavy flourocarbon leaders with a red treble.
fishing has slowed a bit as most anglers are still trying to target them in
early ice locations instead of looking for the suspended over deeper
Look at a map, or remember your summertime structure fishing.
Look for structure in 12-22 or 25-35 feet of water, chances are if you focus your
efforts in these areas you will find fish. Electronics: flashers,
graphs or cameras can really cut the searching time down. Right now I
suggest drilling a series of holes around structure then going back for a
look-see with you gear. Be ready to move around to find active schools. Tip: Remember the biggest gills will be at the bottom of a school, so if you're working an active pod of fish, but they are small, try to get setup a little deeper with your presentation.