Do you love big bluegill?
20170324-it’s been 32 days since I last felt the tug on the line. Ice transition to open water fishing dragged out to what seemed like eternity. Recently we finally got a break in the weather with a string of 40 to 50° days where it finally freed up a small local natural lake of 60% open water… enough to launch the boat and hit a few of the hotspots.
It’s the start of the “Cold Water Period”… last year at this time it just happened we hit the lake on the full moon and literally the 42° BOW was on fire… Earl hit a PB (9) total LMB with panfish limits between the two of us.
I freed up enough time to fish about 3 hrs and we had to be off the lake at 16:30. Checking the “Fishing Points” App the outing would include a Minor Period during the final third of the trip, 15:30 to 17:00pm. I had very little time to set-up … I grabbed a 3600 series stow box (yes… all the tackle I need fits into one 3600 pro-latch) and 5 Ultra-Lite rigs 1 slip/float and 4 long-cast jig rods tied the boat down and was off to the launch.
Within 25 mins I was launched and ready to go… not bad. Firing up the sonar I registered a 44° temp at the bank and 42° surf temp on the main lake… 40% ice covered water at the south shore with a good strong breeze from the WSW at 10-15 mph. Sunny skies with a warm air temp of 55°.
This particular lake gets pounded by the locals during the warmer periods as well as ice but very little activity during the cold water periods! I love it!!
I positioned the boat favoring the wind to accommodate the long-cast rigs with 1/64 - 1/32 oz jigs to work over some favorite waypoints. There is a significant distance advantage with the featherweight baits with the wind.
I recorded many fish on the sonar but they were not willing to give up the bite. The Fishing Points app showed neutral fish activity and that certainly was the pulse on the lake.
the slip/float/jig/waxie set-up proved futile and I gave up on the effort. I thought about switching the set-up over to the drop-shot setup but decided to concentrate on the Long-Casting the tiny jigs.
My first bite came in close to the start of the Minor Period at 15:24 with the first open water fish of the season tagging a nice B.Crappie at the 11” mark on a long casted 2” Power minnow. The first fish on my new 6-0’ Long-Casting setup… really felt good. The system is proving long on the cast and very sensitive. I never really lost feel of the 1/32 oz jig at all during the retrieve. I will be posting an ongoing review here at this link in the group PATTERN-RIGGING-PRESENTATION FOR BLUEGILL during the rest of the season.
Even though it proved to be a very slow day on the water it was nice to get out.
With all this spare time on my hands due to weather and ice transition to open water, I’ve had a lot of time to study, investigate and socialize on media pertaining to my favorite topic … fishing. Looking over my picture folders… ice fishing was incredibly short in length but very productive! ... I’ve noticed an incredibly thin picture folder for March with only one trip on the books!... usually March is my most productive month for the ice fishing segment of my sport. With the two major winter thaws in January and February initiated the unsafe ice mid-Feb. thru mid march with some open water in mid-month, shortened my ice season by about a month. Tomorrow is April 1st!! Feeling confident I’ll be able to gain ground thru the month of April.
I sense 2017 will easily top my record season of 2016. All indicators are pointed in that direction with a record ice fishing four certificate fish during the ice fishing season! I’m hoping the roll will continue thru out the open water season. I have 2104, 15 and 16 to fall back on for the knowledge-base… one year outdoing the previous. With that knowledge base in mind serious game plans have ensued with some serious agendas and target goals. Number one on the list Earl needs that first registered certificate fish. He came so close within fractions of an inch on a few species… I predict B.Crappie then P.Seed will fall quickly for Earl followed by B.Gill late spring early summer.
For me that 14” B.Crappie hopefully will become registered this spring. I came so close to exceeding the Rock Bass certificate it became almost laughable… vertically jigging the tiny Lil Minnow opened up that door. I came close with a near 14” Y.Perch vertically jigging the Lil minnow. I am predicting that bait will satisfy us this open water season with a few tagged eye-openers.
The trailer hitch will be installed the first week in April and then I'll be on a roll. Good weather is predicted for the weekend so I may dust off the winter on the old kayak and fish a small protected natural lake… health permitting.
20170403-With snow coming up in the forecast later this week, Earl and I decide to take the boat to a small remote natural lake with DNR rustic access and put it on the map. Since no contour maps were available to load into the Elite 7 HDI we decided to create the map from scratch using the Insight Genesis Cloud.
It didn’t take very long to do a criss-cross mapping pattern with the boat on this little lake. It’s a great way to know a lake is to travel its shorelines and mark schools of fish in the deeper basins. Earl spotted schools of midsized B.Crappie in the 1-3’ shallows and noted its position with a waypoint to get back to later once the contour mapping was recorded. Once the mapping was completed the clouds opened up with light showers and drizzle.
We quickly fished the long-casted tiny jigs the waypoints, contours and structures of interest. Earl, Connor and quickly tagged Y.Perch, B.Crappie and some B.Gill where Earl visually spotted the crappies in the shallow NW corner of the lake earlier.
I sent a long cast towards the shore lined with laydowns and set the hook into what I initially thought was a log till it started moving methodically towards the boat. I spun the handle of the tiny reel desperately to outpace the fish and keep tension… I warned Earl it was big and he confirmed when he noticed the flash of the LMB in the depths below the boat. The fish dove into the depths below the boat and continued its journey to the center basin with some nice spool burning runs. Putting pressure on the Long-Casting set up spooled with 8# GLISS the fish was shortly brought to the boat. Earl quickly applied a lip lock to the beast. I immediately thought 20’s in length. The fish was quickly photo’ed and was eased back into the lake still full of piss and vinegar.
We continued tagging the panfish through the rain showers until we could no longer stand it. Rain soaked and cold we loaded up the boat at the rustic launch. I later discovered we were and on the start leg of a Major Solunar Period… since our original intentions were to get the mapping done for future trips and brought just enough tackle to fish a few test spots… we considered it a successful trip
Once home I loaded the mapping log data into the Insight Genesis cloud and had a completed map in less than 30 mins.
a nice LMB
a nice shoreline
got some weather coming in... 2-6" of snow with below normal temps for the next few days.
time to get the towing vehicle back on the road... will install a brand new hitch.
with great weather forecasted for the weekend, i might take the boat out and take a panfish pulse out on the lake.
20170411-We had an opportunity to spend time on a small deep natural lake I just recently mapped with the Elite 7 HDI. We timed the outing for a major/major period. A major day of the full moon and a major lunar period early afternoon. The weather projected mid 50’s cloudy and light winds.
Once out on the lake winds started kicking up at 10- 15 mph and air temps didn’t surpass 44°. We were surprised to see surface temps reach the 54° reading in the North West bay.
Marking fish on the sonar we struggled to get a bite on the long-casting jigs. Connor and I tagged a few small ones in the 1-2’ range SLIP/FLOATING/LIVE WAXIES next to wood and earl kept on the long-casting technique.
After an hour on the water, the wind chill started to effect little Connor so we headed back to the launch whipped and tails tucked… defeated.
I’m confident Earl and I could have stuck it out and found maybe vertically jigging the deeper zones if not for the weather having an impact on Connor.
Interesting waterbody scan. Lots of spawning ground, and tons of productive zones. It may be a hell of a time in proper targeting for large catches during windy day. Does the wind blows from the presumably NE to SW areas (larger shallow ground), based on the layout of this lake?
Leo…Wind blows most from the West and then Southwest in my neighborhood.
We’ve only logged about 3 hours total on this lake. Since the wind was so strong yesterday from the west we stayed close to the windward side offering some shelter and cast ability. The wind with 44° brought in significant wind chill
So far it is the N.west side of the lake that has offered some action including a 20” LMB.
When starting a new lake I’ll strategically cut the lake in half separating the deeper portion from the lakes shallower portion… then ill cut the shallow portion into half again. If in early spring we’ll fish the northern side offering warmer water temps usually… Like in the diagram below. So we start fishing in the quadrant where statistically there will be the most fish. (In-Fisherman tip)
Starting with (a.) first…
Hopefully one more trip on a good weather day we should be able to get a handle on this lake.