Finally, first decent ice fishing opportunity in weeks! Last weeks warm up knocked snow cover down to a level that made access doable. The cold nights since firmed up the top of the snow to a crust solid enough to walk on. Snowmobile, tracked ATV/UTV’s, walking, and even in some areas untracked UTV’s, are making it out there. Ice thickness ranging from 24-28” on average with some areas as low as 20” while others over 30”.
Bluegill: Very Good – With better accessibility and more anglers out, catch rates have improved. Standard teardrops, VMC Waxy jigs, Demons and Spitzfires tipped with wax worms, beaver tail or plastics (red, maroon, purple) best. Depth of 8-10’ best.
Crappies: Good – While most of the best bites are deeper (12-20’), where getting there is the battle, some migration up into 12-14’ standing weeds. Come dusk and early AM for bonus bites for Gill anglers. Slow dropping Lethal Cecils, Rockers tipped with white, yellow and pink plastics as well as strips of beavertail very good. Don’t be shy about fishing 3-4’ off bottom. Tip-downs using Crappie minnows or rosies good and only going to get better. As Crappies get more active with warm up small slender spoons, Vinglas and Z-vibes will also work tipped with a waxie or minnow head for flavor.
Yellow Perch: Good – Same as Crappies, best fishing still relatively deep, but migration should pull fish in as weather warms. Best in 16-24’ using wigglers for bait. Hang a lively one on a Hali, Flash Champ, pimple (#2) or Kastmaster. Bang the bottom a few times to stir up the mud, then raise 2-3’ off bottom. Aggressive Perch will rise, sometimes 4-6’ off bottom to eat.
Forecast looks nice, should give us two weeks of great pan fishing weather. Warm days to take snow down, cool to cold nights to firm things back up.
Despite 2’ of ice, in some areas that ice is not great. Good for now, but as snow melt seeps through it will become porous (honeycombed), by the end of next week, start checking ahead for travel conditions. As of now fair, but getting better.