How does that saying go.....If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. Or in like a lamb and out like a lion. Something like that I guess, but the one thing that is for sure is that March is a lion all month. Anglers, especially a panfish angler like me live for this month. This is some of the best panfish fishing before we have open water but open water this season will definitely be a while and that's fine with me.
Last week the crappies and bluegills were hanging in that 18-20FOW and it was a tough bite until I figured that they wanted fresh water shrimp. We also had 13" of fresh snow in the beginning of the week. As the week progressed the temperatures warmed up nicely and this weekend was prefect with temperatures in the 40's. The crappies and bluegills moved a little shallower-16-18FOW and look for them to go shallower as we get closer to end of March. The bite wasn't as tough this week and I came prepared with shrimp just in case that was on the menu.
Well, I had success with both shrimp and mainly a small Clam Outdoors Tungsten Drop XL jig (1/62oz) tipped with plastic. To be exact, a white and a red tail was the ticket this weekend. I really prefer using plastics so I can keep on fishing without re-baiting, but if I had to I would. Those fresh water shrimp are tricky to get on your hook because they are so fragile with there soft body. The crappies and bluegills were in different water columns and didn't see it until I moved in a little shallower. The bluegills were coming off the bottom up 2 feet. Now the crappies were suspended 9-10 off the bottom. I saw several red marks that were half way down and I just put the presentation right above them to see what they were. Boom! Big crappies and several of the bigger crappies were caught in the higher water column. Now, both bluegills and crappies were near the bottom but once I saw that school up high I know the chances of a nice crappie was in my favor.
What to look for in the next couple of weeks is that these fish will start moving in shallow. And when I say shallow we are talking 7-10FOW where the weeds are. The warmer temperatures will melt the snow that we have or will get during the month of March will regenerate the oxygen. The food will also move in too and when that happens it will increase activity. Of course, the shallows will still hold green weeds, which is always a plus. The other thing to look for when setting up is, these fish will move and may not be in the same area. So look for new areas that aren't being fished. With angler traffic, the noise will cause the fish move and you will get less bites. Once in the area you want to fish, get the holes drilled and wait. They will come back in to settle in there normal shallow pattern. I'll be patient in a few holes and won't move around like I would if I were fishing them deeper. Fish do get spooked from movement from crunchy ice and from the ice cleats that we wear. But we aren't at that point yet, but it is something to think about as the snow melts and when the fish move in shallower.
March Madness is here and some of the best fishing is in the month of March. It can also be the snowiest month so be careful. Remember to practice selective harvest and to clean up your trash when leaving the lake. Until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors.