Do you love big bluegill?
The past few seasons it’s been season outdoing the last. Knowledge base on top of knowledge base. Building on some great info from this site and time on the water. I’m anticipating and looking forward to even better results with more citation fish. Anyway that’s the game plan.
Last year was the season of fishing TINY. Thin UL Lines loaded on tiny 50 series reels and light UL rods tossing tiny baits in front of fish targets…quantities of quality panfish and trophy SMB. Tossed the baits into thick cover with reckless abandon. Tiny presentations under slip bobbers thrown next to thick weed slop and weed pockets. Mid day fishing out of the kayak in less than two feet of water and tagging quality fish. Never really had another fishing boat come close to me fishing. it was like i had the lake to myself. looking forward to making some more good memories in the upcoming season.
Looking forward to any hints suggestions or comments from the BBG membership… sharing is the best way to learn and progress!
hope everyone a successful "2016 Open Water Season"
20160113 - Had a great time out on the ice despite poor weather… frigid conditions
at 12 degs with blowing at times blizzard conditions.
Got to punch a few dozen holes. The new power auger is an awesome tool. Event though the ice was only 6 inches in depth it was a pleasure producing a number of holes to fish. The increased diameter of 8” was also a blessing to fish out of.
We basically went out despite the poor fishing forecast and reports obtained from Michigan sportsman forums... couldn't find anyone posting any success other than dink perch low in numbers
Earl ended with the best fish of the day caught on UL pan-fish rod with 2# test…. How he was able to land this fish on that tiny jig was a small miracle in itself. we usually end up catch a few bruiser on the tiny rigs... we expect it.
Caught quite a few mixed size YP and one lone B’Gill. More hits were obtained on the Pink Waxie than live mousies.
We ended up keeping the pike for the table as well as a few med YP’s. the northern had 3 small fish in its gullet under 4” 2 shiners and a yellow perch
20160114- continued reading this morning on the forums of poor fishing in the area...
curiously out of the many holes we cut yesterday we did not spot any fish off the bottom with our sonars... the fish we were able to tag were coaxed into striking. this leads me to believe the fish were in a neutral position on the bottom that sonars heave difficulty detecting.
with temps moderating upward we are tempted to get out there again to see if fish activity has increased.
20160114- went out again today... fishing went from not so good to worse...
just a handful of pan-fish ... 8" B'gill tops...
drilled lots of holes looked for them deep then went shallow.... saw very few fish to be coaxed off the bottom.
ice was near 6"
today the only place they could of been is heads buried in the weeds
20160121- well its been awhile since I was able to satisfy the tug on the line from my favorite panfish…B”Gills and P’Seeds.
Transition between open water and hard water seasons could be long and excruciating for us mid Michigan anglers. It shortens our ability to safely fish for them by months out of the year. So after a week of Polar Vortex activity of single digits at night we have very safe ice over 8” nearly everywhere in my county. Earl and I took that opportunity to one of our favorite panfish lakes.
We hit the bite early with dozens of perch up to 9 inches and a couple junior pike…. one N.Pike was caught on a tip up quick strike rig searching for that 42" Master Angler. Very fun on the micro UL ice rigs we were employing. We were still frustrated with the non-gill bite so we drilled dozens of holes to extend this search. Even though we caught a lot of Y.Perch to keep us busy not to mention loads of fun we were in search of the target B’Gill and P’Seed.
The deep basins were vacant of fish so we continued our exploration shallow or shallower. I drilled a series of holes in the 9” ice in the direction of the weedy bay. Working my way shallower from one hole to the other I found the bite at 8’ in a depression surrounded by a flat at 6.5’. Earl drilled a series of holes around me but found no activity. It was one fish after another including a athletic LMB that took me on several scorching runs on the 2# test braid. These preds often crash the party while im fishing the micro lites that we expect it normally. Big fish on micro lite jigs and presentations. Its been a rule of thumb for me this year.
The depression ended up being about 20’ in diameter. At my direction Earl drilled a hole five ft away to get in on the action. The bite discontinued. Spooked by the hole drilling the action quit
We were successfully rigged and employed with UL panfish ice rods with 50 series Micro lite reels loaded with 2# braid dropping tiny tungsten jigs tipped with Gulp Pink Waxies, mousies and waxies. Finding the “soft sticky bottom” was key… al the Y.Perch were caught hard sand and gravel bottom.
collage of yesterday's outing...
one of yesterdays BFOTD!!! B'Gill
one of the Lunker P'Seeds at 94% Master Angler Rating...
a LMB that crashed the pan-fish party caught on a micro jig tipped with a GULP Pink Waxie...
Thanks for sharing Slip....it's crazy that 1.5' made a difference.....
Jeff Abney made the comment above on the collage of my fishing trip of 20160121and it got me thinking further on my unusual success in this spot which seemed like a concentrated amount of gills and seeds in such a small area…
Sooooooo…I went and checked my lake map (I created the topographical map for this lake) and turned on the bottom composition layer for this waypoint. It showed a softer bottom composition than the remainder surrounding flat and may have been deeper a time ago but slowly filled in as natural lakes do. I keep hearing the term “sticky bottom” as a bluegill holding area. When the jig hit the bottom in this area it was slightly held down by short green grass. I now actually think the bottom composition was more of a factor than just depth. Like Jeff states above…now just a theory both factors were working in this area bottom composition and the slight pothole change in depth
Recognizing the bottom composition layers I believe aided greatly in my P’Seed quest in the past. I’ve caught more and larger P’Seeds in areas where bottom composition hard and soft meet distinctly. The result for today was two lunker P’Seeds in the mix. I would have never discovered this without the aid of my sonar and its mapping qualities.
So in my ongoing ice fishing season I am taking a serious consideration to the bottom composition layer…
20160123-For the past 5 years I have lived just a short walk from the reservoir known as Wixom Lake….
A 90 year old reservoir holding a great population of fish species at above avg size. It’s a better SMB/Crappie lake than a LMB/B’Gill lake due to its bottom composition and current. Since ive moved up here ive only seen one ice fisherman in this area of the lake and very little open water fishing pressure. This one ice fisherman puts out 3 tip ups out and does well on the N’Pike.
Today I decided to solve some actual on the water curiosity fishing on the ice. My strategy was simple… start out fishing the deeper weed edge near the creek channel and test the creek channel itself in some of the deeper areas.
The locals started sifting out of the background and approached me for conversation. I love it. A great way to recon some info is to talk with the locals living on the lake. As it seems the fishing particularly ice has never been good for ice fishing in this area of the lake as I suspected. Just tip ups and pike as a rule.
Using a tiny tungsten jig tipped with a live waxie I started hitting some aggressive Y’Perch straight away up to 9” with the majority of them under 6. After a short period I decided to move to look for larger targets or stumble upon a school of crappie. The two creek channel spots did produce some sniffers detected on the sonar but nothing else.
I look back at the outing and it did solve some curiosities but not completely. I had just about an hour of actual fishing time to do this recon and some areas still need to be explored. The soft bottom shallow flat areas. B’Gill love the soft bottom and vegetation.
Also the day was wrapped in a cold front condition… always a negative when fishing for me.
Tomorrow promises better weather.
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