Well, it's that time of the year that I call it the dog days of winter. Fish start to slow down and finding them isn't the problem, but getting them to bite is a challenge. On many of the lakes in the area, there's a definitive area where the groups or community holes are. But, I'll always take a different approach during these dog days.
Stay away from the crowds and start looking for other areas to fish. First place I go is away from the crowds in similar depths, but one of my favorites is shallow. Shallow water with green weeds is money this time of year and you'll get some privacy from other anglers too.
Once you find the green weeds, get setup and start fishing. The fish will come back after drilling a few holes, and it's so much fun when they come back. You may ask what is shallow? Well, it can be 4' to 12' FOW. It really all depends on the weeds. I'll typically drop the camera down to get a look and if I see the weeds,I start fishing.
The presentation is small. Down size the presentation and tip it with plastics or euro-larva. I don't usually use bait, but at times its a must. The Clam Outdoors Dropper Spoon 1/32oz. and the Drop XL 1/64oz were the sizes that used mainly, but also used the Northland Fishing Tackle Mitee Mouse 1/64oz to catch the fish this weekend.
Most of the fish were a foot to two feet off the bottom in 10FOW. A few things, I was fishing a foot below the ice to see if there was any high fish and there was. When doing this, I will just sight fish until one comes in and usually it's crappies. It's just fun watching and waiting for them to cruz through. Also, you can see how they react to the presentation.
Most of the day, the fish were somewhat active, so when this happens, I'll just slow up the jigging action to a softer jigging motion and another thing to remember is to switch up to a lead jig especially when your in shallow.
The lead jig like the Northland Fishing Tackle Gill-Getter Jig will have the slight fall and will look more natural to the fish. Now, if your fishing deeper, use tungsten to get down to the fish faster. But in the case of fishing shallower, the lead presentation allows for a slower falling action.
I did have some success out in deeper water where I used tungsten and had to make the switch because of the mood of the fish. So always keep both lead and tungsten in your arsenal for situations like this. Overall, it was a pretty good day and you should be prepared to change if you have to and by letting the fish tell you what they want will always result in success. I guess I've been listening to Rich to much.....lol. He says you have to change things up in certain situations and this weekend was one of those times.
February is the dog day's for ice fishing, but it doesn't have to be if your willing to be patient and find the areas where there are green weeds. The old saying is "Find the Green Weeds, you'll find the fish". That is so true!
By the looks of our ice conditions, it's going to be a late ice off and that's a good thing. Late ice is the best time for panfish and I'm looking forward to those day's ahead.
Remember to practice selective harvest and until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors.