Spring has begun and some days it even feels like it. As much as everyone wants the lakes to completely melt it looks like we may have areas with ice for some time yet. Even with highs in the low 40’s, we haven’t been melting much ice with lows below freezing at night. The forecast looks to be a bit warmer, so I promise it will melt eventually!
There is still 12”+ of decent ice on specific areas of lakes in the area. Of course anywhere there’s moving water the ice is melted or in very poor shape. The accesses that are located on the south side of the lakes are in much better shape due to less sunlight (see access picture below). You can get ATV’s and snowmobiles out on the ice in these areas, but always use caution and ask around if unfamiliar with the area. Even some north accesses could be in good shape, but they will be much softer so make sure to be extra cautious. The ice really varies from lake to lake this time of year, so be sure to exercise extreme caution. There is good ice left out there though. I expect there to be fishable ice in our area through the end of the month.
We have been catching a lot of panfish over the past week and they sure are hungry. My best depth for both crappie and sunfish has been 10’-20’ feet of water. As we continue to get warmer weather and the ice continues to melt the fish will keep moving shallower. Generally once the ice gets too weak for ATV’s the fish will be only a couple feet under the ice in about 5 feet of water. My best lures have been a 1/16oz jigging spoon or #12 jig tipped with a waxy or Euro larva.
I like to drill a lot of holes this time of year and stay on the move until I find fish. I will fish a hole for only seconds before moving because if the fish are there they will generally be quite aggressive. Like I said earlier, we currently have plenty of fishable ice in Alexandria, but you still need to watch where you are going. Now is actually a great time to see where the ice can be weak midwinter as well. Anywhere there is no ice or poor ice now, the ice can be questionable there during the coldest winter months too. The more you get out on the ice and learn what’s happening beneath you the safer you will be the rest of year. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. The fish are here and hungry!