Winter ice is about fishing and learning new waters that you can’t do on the open water season for a variety of reasons. Ice fishing keeps everything basic and anyone can do it with minimal equipment and still be able to catch fish.
Every year the goal is to learn a few more new waters and that in turn, gives you more varieties and options for fishing all depending on how the winter season goes. Learning local waters, waters that are an hour away to longer distance destinations will allow you to cover your whole season no matter the conditions.
This trip was two hours north, there are a couple of other waters that we fish regularly in the area but always looking for something new. Friends mentioned that the bite for crappies had been good so was time to make the trip and give it a try.
Upon arriving, there were a few anglers fishing the deeper hole and they called me over and asked to join them in working the area to finding where the crappies were hanging. The bite was a tough one for the morning and most of the fish were on the smaller side.
Using the Clam Drop-Kick jig with a Maki Minni in white seemed to be the combination that worked best for me. Tried a handful of other plastics and colors and kept downsizing the plastics to finally getting to this setup to produce the fish.
There were a lot of finicky fish that would come and look and stare with no movement no matter how I tried to entice them into biting. More productive fish were riding higher in the water column and those were feeding, and you could typically catch them, with my best one coming that way.
With the bite dying off, the other anglers were leaving early, but gave me some information about an area in this bay that offered larger sized pumpkinseeds. Towards the lead-in channel, there is a flat that drops off into 15-17 feet of water.
Drilling around the area, finding that the 16-foot range was what these fish were relating to, they wouldn’t be on the flasher right away, but work the jig and wait a bit and these schools would move in.
There were several fish that would come at a time and they were hitting very lightly, and line watching was key. They didn’t slam the bait, but you could see that they were lifting it as the line would go slack and that was when you had to set the hook.
With that hook set feeling, you knew right away that you had a good fish on and all these that were caught, were of the same size. I haven’t fished a spot that had this many of good-sized fish, as most places you only get a couple of this size.
That tip from some new friends about this location, paid off and made for a good ending of a day of fishing. Ice fishing is about learning, meeting new people with the same passion, and never gets old as mostly everyone out on the ice is out to have a good time, catch some fish and create some bonding moments.