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OKAY GUYS, I KNOW IT'S GONNA BE A LONG, COLD WINTER, AND NOT ALL OF US ARE GOING TO BE ON THE HARDWATER.

So... with that in mind, let's hear what you all plan to do, nationwide, to get the fix you need to put some fish in the boat, on the bank or in the pan. John Sheehan digs pickerel, some do blue cats. Tell us...FROM BLUEGILLS TO PERCH TO CARP...

WHAT'S YOUR FISHING GAMEPLAN LIKELY TO LOOK LIKE?

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I HATE skim ice.....what a tease! Skinny ice gets my blood pressure up, waiting for a harder freeze or warmer temps.

John, I'm afraid I'm not much of a moving water fisherman! I'm lost when it comes to current!

Happy Thanksgiving guys!

Happy thanksgiving Tony !

use a 10# pounder weight Jim !

I fish year round but my opportunities dwindle during the winter because of the shorter days.  I have learned to map out my area rivers and keep detailed journals and you would be amazed how often things repeat.......An important factor on the tidal rivers is "water movement" and this holds true in the winter too.  Often we will experience days and even weeks of northerly component winds.......The key is to track and time the wind shift from the south and capitalize on the resulting incoming tide known locally as a "wind tide"........don't be confused and expect a rushing effect rather just enough movement to impact food sources and setting up the ambush........I work these deeper locations and creep my presentations up the slopes and close to the abundant cover.......Often the days with a south wind will warm up a bit and full sun is not despised as much as during the spring and summer........With our waters dominated by a Florida strain bluegill species the fishing gets very tough but fish can be taken with small offerings from patient anglers.......The Black Crappie bite never stops on the Albemarle with fish being taken in the holes from now through Valentine's Day.....live bait and bottom bouncing will take crappie and don't rule out the cold fronts, speckles will bite behind this weather if Mother Nature allows you to reach them safely.......Football Yellow Perch are available from a winter spawning pattern on an abundant variety of offerings.......And should I get to visit family in the Low Country......the big cats of Santee Cooper always keep me interested..........Hope all the ice fishermen get to enjoy their past time as I begin to count down to Spring 2015.......... 

Don't have access to tidal Rivers but fish (like us),are  creatures of habit. Big Cats sound great !  Would like to fish bigger waters but don't really have the means .

Hot water discharges are a great way to get in on at least some kind of winter fishing if the ice is too thin else where. We have two in my area...the Pepco Power Plant on the Potomac at Dickerson, MD and the Brunner Island Power Plant on the Susquehanna River north of York, PA.

Both can be excellent, or duds, depending on water levels, turbidity, power schedules and runoff. Standard species include smallmouths as a main target, crappies, walleyes, carp, cats and maybe a shot at a musky. Site member Greg 'Zig' Ziegler put me on to some decent winter gills and sunnies a few seasons back below the BI Plant.

Below are a couple Brunner Island catches we made in the 2007 to 2010 winters...

Matt with a 4 lb class smallmouth on a 1/8 oz Kalins Grub below an undercut bank. Nice!

Big carp can be a winter option at the hotwater.

Matt with a surprise big largemouth from Brunner Island...cool!It's not for everybody, but winter wading for smallies and more can be rewarding, with the possibility of big fish always on our minds!

Like Tony said...small ponds and lakes can indeed be productive during mild, iceless winters in the Mid Atlantic and other areas of the nation. Find gills near the deepest water around the earthen dam faces and drop small, tiny even, tipped jigs to them on sensitive floats...bonus bass as well.

Winter gilling...you gotta' love it!

Listen up here everyone!!!

When the gills go deep, the successful angler must follow. And if you're fishing from shore, this may mean long distance casts, with the need to fish deep once you're out there. I use a slip float for this, but there's a hitch....big bluegills are wary, and will shy away from a bait that doesn't look "right". Added weight, necessary to overcome the surface tension restricting free line movement on a long cast, can be a real turnoff on wary, pressured fish.

If possible, I would recommend taking a boat out to deeper water when the fish move out. This will allow you to keep your offering small, and more natural looking. You may even be able to straightline below the boat, for the ultimate in sensitivity.

Jim, I'll be fishin Buggs Island for Crappie on the 500 brushpiles I have marked on my GPS. Also plan to do some Cat Fishing for the huge Blue Cats there. Will be making several trips to Smith Mountain Lake to fish for the Big Stripers at nite, casting 1/4 oz jigs to the bank up the Roanoke arm. I'll also be hittin Philpott for the winter Walleye, Big Bluegill an Small Mouth Bass! Been catchin a few 10-11 inch Gills an Crackers there this yr. hope to get out 4-5 days a wk! I'll be Guiding for the crappie on Buggs to help finance the rest of my fishing! If we get any ice, I'll be visitin the local "hot hole" lakes, Hyco an Belews creek for bass, crappie an bluegills!

Keith Wray...I've heard about you! Fish Doc? I hope I got it right!!

Anyway, those are fabulous options! I've fished Buggs several years ago with Bud Haynes in November and we caught a lot of good crappie with some niece 13 to 14 inch fish as the better ones. I hear the size structure is a little bigger now...is that true? Never spider-rigged...is that a late Feb early March gig?

That striper thing sounds exciting, as they always are! Thanks for sharing!

i try to ice fish as much as possible .im of the not working any more generation 39 years in a steel mill were enough .if no ice we try open water as long as we can get the boats in. you mentioned mosquito lake ,we fish it and have had great sucess on what we think are nice gills .if you are willing to walk a little walleye is there also .good luck to all .oh i also dream up those absolute killer baits for gills ,and then try to make them ,and in reality some actualy work .good fishing to all

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