Ice fishing this season has gotten off to an early start compared to other years from the past. With the early start, those first ice fishing trips always seemed to have the fish in the feeding mode and catching numbers generally wasn’t too much of an issue.
But this season, as anyone fishing in the northern section of the country can attest, the cold temperatures that we all have been having seems to have the fish in their mid-winter doldrums already. Meaning, finding the fish typically isn’t the problem, getting them to bite is more of a chore and figuring out that right combination for getting them to bite doesn’t come as easy as it should for this time of the year.
Many of the fish will come in and inspect your presentation and either hang there looking at it, or slowly drop back down towards the bottom. Wanting to fish with the bigger, flashier spoons works well for hole hopping and when the fish are on the feed, but slowing down, downsizing the bait and plastic color combination, was what is needed for these light biting fish.
Using the Clam Outdoors Drop Kick jig with a Maki Leechi seemed to be more intriguing to the fish. But having to figure out a color pattern was another thing that took a bit of time. Started with a bright colored jig and a white plastic trailer, but after watching numerous fish come and inspect the bait and leave, found that a dark colored jig with the black Leechi was what they wanted.
Fishing in the shallower water, 6-10 FOW yielded bluegill and none of the targeted crappie. Moved out to the next water depth change and found the fish in the 15-18 FOW with the better sized crappie suspended 8 feet off the bottom.
Hole hopping is more of a chore with these colder temps as sitting in a house is getting to be more of the norm lately with the cold and winds. It may be cold out there these days, but with the right clothing, fish house accommodations with heat, there are still fish to catch even though they may make you work a bit more for them.