It's been a while since we've had ice before Thanksgiving, but it sure felt great to walk on water. That's if it was good ice and we found several lakes that averaged 5-7 inches. The small to mid-sized lakes are good and the larger lakes still have some spots of open water. And looking at the forecast, it looks great for making ice.
We headed out over the weekend to not only see what the ice conditions were, but to see what the fish were doing as well. Of the three lakes we fished, only one panned out. It was the last lake we checked, so we were relieved after working the other two. The lake we fished has a large bay that connects to it and we setup in 10-12FOW. Crappies and bluegills were cruising 2-4 feet off the bottom and trying to stay on them was tough.
Rich searched from hole to hole and had some success, where I sat in a hole for 15-30 minutes and had success. The reason I sat there was I knew the area was going to have fish moving through, but the most important thing was being quite. I believe the the less surface noise the better. Plus, we didn't have any snow pack so I stayed patient and waited. When the crappies and gills came through, they were very aggressive, especially the one's that were high in the water column.
The presentation that we used was the Salmo Chubby Darter and the Clam Outdoors Snow Drop XL tipped with a plastics tail. Either a red or a white seemed to work well with the Snow Drop XL. The times that I used the Chubby Darter was when I saw the fish high in the water column and it was pretty much a sure thing as they raced up and crushed it. This is one thing I look for when using it for crappies, when they are aggressive and high in the water column.
As it gets colder the ice conditions will get better and better, but right now we don't need the one thing that hurts the ice and that is snow. The long term forecast looks great and lets hope for no snow until we have 12+ inches of ice.
Here's a friendly reminder to be safe and fish with a friend. Also, be sure to have your spud bar, ice picks, and life vest during the these early ice adventures. Until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors.