Right now the fishing is as good as it gets for bluegill(sunfish) and crappie. We have around 30 inches of quality ice on most of the lakes and vehicle travel is quite easy right now. The 10 day forecast shows below freezing temps at night and low 40’s to low 30’s for highs, so the ice is going nowhere fast. I expect we will have fishable ice for weeks yet. Many of you may be more than ready for spring to come but, if life gives you ice, you better just go fishing!
We’re consistently catching eater sized crappie and sunfish in very good numbers. Including a decent number of sunfish 9”-10”+ and crappie 13”-15” that we are letting go. In fact just yesterday we let go a pile of sunfish around 9.5 inches and some crappie as big as 14 inches. It sure is a great day when you can keep a bunch of medium sized fish to eat, get a tan and still let go a good number of very large fish to spawn another day.
The sunfish and crappie are still holding tight to their mid-winter locations. I’m sure some fish are moving shallow but I haven’t had to chase them yet. There is still a very large number of panfish in 15’-20’ foot of water and they have been very willing to bite most of the time. The past couple weeks have been some of the best panfishing I’ve had all season and I expect them to just keep biting until ice out.
The best technique has been a small horizontal Lindy Toad(#12) tipped with Euro larva during the day and at night I like to use a small jig or plain hook tipped with a crappie minnow. Generally I like to be very active and look for fish during the day. The more holes I drill and the more I move, the more fish I normally catch. Whereas at night, I try to locate an area holding a few fish and then set up with bobbers and minnows to simply wait for them to come to me. These two strategies are very different, but they both work very well when used at the correct time of day. Have fun and see you on the ice!