Contributed photo
Adversiting has been a common phrase used when hunting down a good bite on the lakes over the past few years.

Chill Fishing Report

Cody Hill

This year has been a head scratcher and has me using the ION searching for fish, but here’s what I have found so far.  We are finding perch in normal walleye spots.  We are finding walleyes in our normal crappie holes.  Oh, and we cannot forget we are finding bluegills roaming in 30 feet of water suspended from 5 feet below the ice to bottom.  Crappies…when I pattern them, I’ll give an update.

This past weekend I went searching for crappies and hit multiple holes that I normally find them at and what I’m finding is 10-20 ice castles on top of each hole and in years past most holes I fished didn’t have a fish house.  When I searched, we only found crappies in one hole, but the slush was 6-8 inches deep and the crappies we did find were less than 8 inches long with a few bigger ones mixed in roaming around, which didn’t make it worthwhile to stay.

Adversity has been a common phrase in the last few years, so we decided to switch lakes to one lake I haven’t fished in over a month. Ifigured we aren’t getting them where we currently are so what do we have to lose? We drilled one hole to check depth and we had over 12 feet of fish swimming below us.  Last year when I fished this little lake 80-90 percent of your catch was crappies with a nice array of age classes so we got excited.  

After fishing for nearly five hours, we had caught two crappies out of a hundred plus fish. The blue gill bite was amazing and kept us active till we decided to call it a day.

With that many fish down there, we were able to play with plastics and colors to answer that magical question “Does color make a difference?” I can honestly say some colors didn’t matter and some it did. 

I have 24 colors to pick from in my Panfish Pirate Treasure Chest and my typical colors are white, green, and pink but we tried black, red, yellow, blue, and purple.  The surprise for us was purple and we were really impressed with the performance of that color.

What worked.  Jigs 4 mm or 5 mm tungsten jigs depending on plastic being used in any glow color and FYI glow mattered. Soft plastic Zoid was our go to style with Ripper a close second and Bivy Bug taking up third, but we didn’t fish it till the end of the day and we had better luck with the Bivy Bug with crappies.  We started with bait either wax worms or Euro Larva to build confidence in the fishermen but after the confidence in using plastics the majority were caught strictly on soft plastics alone.  We were in basins/flats off of mid lake shallow sunken islands and large shallow flats in 22-32 feet of water.  

Bluegills were in huge schools but if you came to a hole that had solo high marks, they were usually crappies but because the bluegills were so aggressive if you didn’t get the high mark your graph was now full of bluegills and they would push the crappies away so we would leave a hole full of fish trying to find solo marks knowing they were crappies. 

When fishing that deep a very sensitive, light tipped action, rod makes the difference. We were using the Tuned Up Custom Rods Precision Noodle and that rod tip allowed us to see the bite and see the negative bite (bit coming from beneath lifting the jig up) where a heavier action rod we would have missed most of the bites.

Ice conditions were always changing on the bigger lakes with lots of vehicle traffic. People are driving 20-30 mph going across the ice and the wave action is causing stress fractures and causing roads to flood.  Slush pockets are still forming even away from the crowds.  So be careful if you are busting your own trail.  

Community holes are getting slushy because people are cramming in so tight to another fish house flooding the area.  I arrived to ours on Friday night and a new house was so close to my tongue I couldn’t have hooked up to my fish house if I had wanted to move.

Stay safe and enjoy the sport!