Normally this time of year I’m fishing the last bit of ice, or fishing open water from shore somewhere. Well, that is certainly not the case this year. With cooler than average temps we have quality ice similar to late January, 30+inches of ice. With no real warm up in the 10 day forecast, I don’t see why we won’t be ice fishing well into April. I think most people are ready for open water and for spring weather to finally get here, but I say, “When life gives you ice, you might as well fish!”
The late season ice fishing has been fantastic and it should only get better as the ice begins to melt, eventually. Not much has changed pattern wise since my last report. I’ve still been able to locate the crappie relating to the deeper basin areas 18’-30’ foot of water (FOW), as well as mixed in with the blue gills in some of the shallower areas 16’-10’FOW. Locating the fish is the biggest part of fishing no matter what time of year, but especially this time of year because, if you can find the fish, chances are they will bite well.
I’m starting to see more and more people moving from hole to hole checking for fish with their locators, rather than just sitting in one spot amongst a group of anglers waiting for the fish to come to them. The fish this time of year are normally very active and at times they will only stay in your hole for a couple of minutes. Usually they’ll stay in the area but the fish might roam up to 300yd in a day. That’s why it’s so important to locate the fish. It’s very common for me to check 30 or more holes just to find my first fish. Then, once I’ve found fish, depending on the day, I’m either able to follow them from hole to hole catching fish along the way or they can simply vanish and I’ll start the hunt all over again.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t that bad because in most cases there are many people like myself willing to drill 100’s of holes. With temps being right at freezing or slightly above, the holes do not freeze over very quickly. This allows you to fish 100’s of holes that you didn’t even have to drill. All you really need for equipment to catch fish right now are the following items:
Something many people don’t realize is the power of the sun reflecting off the ice can be very strong this time of year. It doesn’t take long to get a bad burn if you’re looking into the sun. The other day I had my four year old niece out fishing with me and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. She said, “It’s like we’re on the beach!”. This time of year the warmer temps feel so good there were actually people ice fishing in shorts! I have to believe only in Minnesota would you see this.
There should be quality ice for some time yet, so if you’ve always wanted to get your kids into ice fishing there’s arguably never been a better time. Good fishing and plenty of good weather to come, so get the family up to Alexandria for a great ice fishing experience!
For current ice conditions and fishing reports please listen to the audio reports by clicking the link at the top of the page.