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.