Chill Fishing Report

Cody Hill

Sunday morning when I started my vehicle it read -27 outside temperature and the first thing that I thought was hole hopping was not going to be an option for the husband wife team that I had for the day. 

When mobility is restricted, paying a little closer attention to where you decide to set up for the day becomes a lot more important. The way this year is going it’s hard to get away from the crowds, but it might not hurt to look at basins or sharp breaks leading into basins as focal points for fishing.

I set up this weekend between a sunken reed island and a main shore flat. Weeds are dying quickly, and a lot of fish are schooling up and hitting the basins/flats or deeper holes in a lake to find food and higher dissolved oxygen levels. For those that hunt look for funnel areas leading to the holes and that’s where we set up for the trip. Saturday’s trip they brought a Livescope and it was interesting to watch the fish interact down below. You could see big crappies swimming around above the blue gills, but the blue gills were so aggressive that they would push the crappies away from the house. You seriously had two or three chances to catch the crappie before the gills would push the crappie away. 

Most of our trips end mid afternoon maybe hour or so before dark, but I had friends try the same area along the weed edges/breaks and they didn’t catch as many fish as we did but instead the crappies came out and were willing to bite. I’ve heard from multiple sources on different lakes that the gills are out more in the basins/holes, but the crappies are coming up to the weed lines in that 15-20 feet of water. Also hearing reports that due to the aggressiveness of the gills people are having to focus on crappies first thing in the morning and last light into the evening or they wouldn’t catch a crappie. I’ll be testing that concept out Saturday night.

Even though I fished the same area both days this weekend we had the tale of two different bites. Pink, white and chartreuse are my go-to colors and this year I have been expanding more and more and I usually start one person on each color to see what the fish want to bite and if the bite gets tough after being hot on a color, I’ll switch types of plastics to see if that works. Saturday, they wanted bubble gum pink on a white jig head. I bet we tried 10 different colors and it kept coming back to Bubble Gum Pink. 

Sunday, they didn’t want the same color for more than an hour.  Sunday they only wanted the Zoid soft plastic but color choice I went through every single option I had at one point in the day, and it even mattered the shade of color. I have a puck of 4 different color pinks, and it did matter the shade of pink.

What worked this weekend was 4 mm tungsten’s with white, pink, or white with yellow being top jig colors. The Zoid plastic was the number one style followed by the Ripper in second, I tried three different styles after that, and they didn’t want anything to do with it unlike the day before. Saturday color choices were Bubble Gum, Green, and White but Sunday was too inconsistent to get a top color. Neighbors that are walleye fishing are noticing they are doing better after supper through the night instead of the traditional “Prime Time” of dusk. They were finding 8 or 9 till early morning was working best with their spots.

Lake travel is getting very difficult on some lakes we received fresh snow and strong winds and the next day we get a little more snow and a wind from the other direction, and it did wonders on filling in roads in a blink of an eye. Slush pockets are still appearing in areas so please use caution while traveling on local lakes and just because the road or area was good yesterday doesn’t mean that it will be good today. I towed out multiple vehicles again Friday as people were trying to check their fish houses and no one had a tow strap in their vehicle.

Good luck and stay safe!