With warmer than normal tempertures at this point of the ice season and the bite is HOT......who couldn't take these conditions? Right, and the ice conditions are very good on most of the small and mid-sized lakes. But on the larger lakes in the area you should still be careful in the areas where it just froze up in the last 7-10 days. The bite has been great when is comes to panfish and the walleyes have been good as well.
We started our morning like we always do, waiting to see who will show up first and to see where we wanted to start fishing. Well, Rich got to the lake first and I was only a few minutes behind him. Then of course Mike shows up about an hour later. Have to laugh, but we work well together and it's all about having fun finding fish. The area Rich and I started in produced fish but not what we were looking for, so when Mike arrived we fished a little longer before we decided to look at another spot. We did a split and Mike went to one area of the lake and Rich and I went to another to see what we could find. You know that saying, "Stay away from the crowds"? Well, Mike called in about 20 minutes to come over to an area that was empty of people, so we did and it was a great move. Fish that aren't pressured will bite.
Once we arrived, we saw Mike catching a nice crappie and the real funny part of this is there was a small area of snow pack that was holding the fish. We drilled about 5-8 holes and didn't leave that area until we decided to call it a day. The bluegills and crappies were suspended from 4-8ft off the bottom in 17FOW. The bigger crappies at times were 7-9ft. off the bottom and they were some very nice crappies. The sizes were 11-13+ inches for the crappies and the bluegills were all sizes and it was just a great time feeling the tug at the end of the line.
The presentations were the Clam Outdoors Tungsten Gold Drop XL Jig and the Drop-Kick Jig tipped with either a white or red tail. I usually will start with the 1/64oz or the 1/32oz jig the see the mood of the fish and the bite was so good I stayed with the smaller presentation. Mike and Rich were using a variety of presentations and I don't know if they switched either. The rod that I was using and that I'm very impressed with is the new St.Croix Rods CCI Tungsten Tammer and the Micro Spoon Rods. They are very sensitive and the bite detection from the tip of the rod is prefect. Just what you need for either aggressive and finicky bitters. Pair that with the new Piscifun ICX 5 reel and what a lethal combo. The overall setup is light and is very smooth.
The average ice was 9-12 inches and it should stay that way until we get another cold snap and I hope we get that before a snow storm. The travel is awesome and there are some vehicles driving on the lakes but I would definitely check the lake you are thinking of driving out on first. Personally, I'll walk and not take the risk!
Until next time, be safe and always fish with a buddy or a group of friends.