Fishing report 11 March 2023

Good morning, weather all over the board starting with another winter weather advisory starting today and lasting through early Monday morning.  Total snow accumulations of 5-9″ is what I am hearing.  Then a low in the single digits, and highs at 40!  “March comes in like a lion” as the saying goes certainly seems to be holding true so far this year.  Ice travel is about as expected with the snow we have received recently…’s doable, but not very easy unless by machine.  If traveling by machine be mindful that a lot of the creeks/rivers are open and flowing water into the lakes so there may be thin spots on your travel routes.  Always check ahead of you if you have a snowmobile or ATV/UTV that you are taking out on the ice.  Most lakes should still have a good amount of ice. My guess would be at least 12-15″ but I have heard far less by moving water.  Only around 6″ is what I was told by the Teal river.  Again, check and be mindful of where you are on the ice.  Enough rambling here is the report:

Largemouth/Smallmouth bass–I know it’s not very common to target either of these fish this time of year, but I have had some folks calling who are traveling up to ice fish and inquiring about catching some bass right now.  You can fish for bass right now, however you cannot harvest any until the open water fishing seasons.  May 7th for largemouth and June 18th (northern zone) for smallies.  Tip-ups rigged with fathead minnows/shiners in and along weed beds would probably be the best bet to catch largemouth right now.  Smallies will probably be holding off of deeper points with rocky/hard bottoms.  Jigging with bigger jigs/plasitcs or lures such as rapala jigging raps would be a good choice.

Crappie–I have not heard a lot on a crappie bite lately, but fish should be starting to transition from deeper water into their spring spawning areas.  I would look for deeper weed edges that relate to a basin or the main lake if in a bay.  On lakes with a general basin bite fish may still be holding out there but may be more scattered vs. schooled up. Look for fish in the basins just outside these deep weed edges.  On lakes with a shallow/structure related bite look for fish deeper into the weed beds especially where there are creek inlets or any kind of moving water stirring things up under the ice.  The approach is pretty much the same in both systems with small tungsten jigs tipped with plastics/waxies the most popular way to ice fish.  

Perch–Perch will most likely be in these shallow areas where things are getting stirred up as well.  They will feed on spoons tipped with minnow heads or loaded with waxies that are getting pounded into the silt and lifted.  Using a slightly bigger offering will help catch the biggest fish in the group and deter smaller fish from taking the bait.  Live bait seems to produce better than plastics for perch in most situations.  

Bluegill–Bluegill will also be in these shallow water areas as all of these panfish are starting to transition to spring spawning locations.  Fishing for big gills can be quite different from crappie or perch though.  Much more subtle, smaller jigs with plastics that “match the hatch” or jigs tipped with just one waxie or spike.  Less aggressive on the action and just twitching baits a lot of times will get gills to eat.  They also bite very light so ultra light action rods can help detect bites you cannot feel.  

Have a great weekend, enjoy the snow if you can 😉 and we will talk soon!!


Fishing report 04 March 2023

Good morning, looks like temps above freezing during the day until next weekend and then a slight drop but not major.  It also looks like Sunday night through Monday we could be in for another round of moderate snow with 4-8″ possible.  Battling the snow on the ice this year has been a constant struggle and wet heavy snow will not help that situation any moving forward.  The “late ice” panfish season is upon us as the gamefish (walleye,pike) closes at end of day Sunday.  When ice conditions are good this can be a great time of year to catch some fish.  Fun fishing on light tackle in warmer conditions can keep the kids or significant others that may not be into fishing out on the lake longer.  Crappie/bluegill/perch all make for some pretty good table fare as well.  

Crappie–The crappie bite has been good and should continue to be for a while yet.  Most anglers have been finding crappies in the basin and using small tungsten jigs tipped with plastics/waxies/spikes.  With the higher sun and longer days the fish will start moving into some of the shallow bays/areas they will use during the spring for spawn. Look for neckdown areas of the lake where basins transition into shallow bays.  Jigging small spoons this time of year for crappie can also be a great tool to catch aggressive fish.

Bluegill–You can find big gills up in shallower water around weeds and structure.  Also look for creek inlets where things are getting mixed up and more oxygen is entering the lake.  Small jigs with plastics is deadly to ice the biggest gills in the bunch.  Spoons without rattles or extra noise can be great as well and won’t call in predators as much as a rattling spoon.  Using an underwater camera can also help to see how fish are reacting (or not) to your offerings, so you can change it up to get on more.  Look for fish as shallow as 4-5 FOW and work through weeds from shallow to deep.  

Perch–Perch are the predators of the panfish world and fishing them fast and aggressive is the way to go.  Smaller spoons tipped with waxies/minnow heads are a great bait for catching bigger perch.  Bright colors and glow colors can work well for perch as well.  Most times perch will be mixed in the structure/weeds and chasing small invertebrates and minnows.  Dead sticking with a full fathead/crappie minnow on a jig is a great way to ice more perch as well.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.