I didn’t do either of these things before my first venture out on the ice this season. I got out to my spot, drilled my first hole, and dropped my transducer down. I marked fish for about two minutes before my battery died. Then, as I was setting up my pop-up shelter, the roof braces fell out. It was a cold and windy day and I had to listen to the roof flapping in the wind as I fished without a flasher.
Luckily, I was able to catch about a dozen fish and take home a couple of keepers, but it was not an enjoyable trip because I didn’t take my own advice. Check your gear before you leave. It’s easier to do it at home than managing malfunctions in below-zero temperatures in the middle of a frozen lake.
The window for ideal fall fishing seemed to open and close more quickly than usual this year. High temperatures across much of the ice belt have been below freezing for about a week now. Some overnight lows have approached zero degrees. Skim ice has formed on ponds and the shallow bays of some lakes. This has some people champing at the bit to get out on hard water and drill their first holes of the year. Read more
It’s been a busy couple of weeks between school, work, and other commitments so I didn’t let 30+mph wind and occasional rain deter me from getting out and catching fish this afternoon. Though the conditions weren’t great, the fishing was good and got better as the day progressed–likely due to rising water temperature. Read more
Before the lakes froze up, I posted an article on preparing gear for use after it had been in storage during the off season. Last week, I posted an article on late ice safety as it seems spring will be arriving early this year. It won’t be long until the ice is gone and we put away our ice fishing gear for another year. A little bit of preparation before stowing your gear in the attic can help add longevity to the life of your gear, and make things easier for you next season. Read more
We got a little rain last week which softened up the ice in many places throughout the midwest. There was a lot of standing water on the ice where we were at in Southeastern North Dakota on Saturday and the ice was slushy. The ice fishing season isn’t over, but its days are limited. With several daytime highs above freezing in the forecast for the coming week, the ice conditions will continue to slowly deteriorate.
My biggest piece of advice for ice fisherman is to Read more
We arrived at a small lake near Fergus Falls, MN just before 2pm so our fishing time was limited to a few hours of daylight. Having never fished the lake before, we set up near the crowd on a drop-off from 10 to about 20 FOW. The fishing was slow in the first spot which prompted a move slightly deeper into the basin which was about 25 feet deep. As soon as I drilled my first hole, I marked a school of suspended crappies as well as Read more
Despite 25+ mph wind, we got out on Leaf Lake near Audubon, MN on Tuesday. We checked the ice thickness every five to ten yards on our way out to the first drop off from the access and there was an even 5-6″ of hard, clear ice. There was one hard-sided spearing house set up shallow and there was one snowmobile on the ice. With that said, the majority of the traffic was people on foot with portable shelters. Always be extremely careful on the ice. Read more
We’ve had quite the change in weather between Saturday and now. Several days in the low- to mid- nineties quickly shifted to sixties and low seventies overnight. With that we’ve seen the water temperature drop four degrees over the last couple of days. My guess is that the rapid change in temperature messed with the metabolisms of the fish. Fishing was slow, but not bad. I still caught plenty of fish, but they were infrequent. Smaller, bite-sized baits were key. I wish I could have found some frogs since it had just rained. After the temperature stabilizes a bit over the next few days, fishing should continue to be excellent.
UPDATE (8-20-15): Fishing is still slow, but the fish have been bigger than earlier in the week. Several times fish came up and tasted the bait and passed it up. Be patient and use smaller presentations (goldeye guts worked well). Warm weather tomorrow and Saturday will hopefully get things going again. Good luck!
Rain + warmth has been the equation to produce a hot bite. Catfish are on fire right now. Catch big ones on fathead minnows or suckers. If you fish with nightcrawlers, you’ll catch a mixed bag of carp, drum, bullheads, and channel cats. Suckers will produce the biggest fish. Fish in current seams where the fast water meets the slow water. I had one large catfish hit a 1/4oz jig tipped with a single fathead minnow in about a foot of water right near the bank. They are aggressive!
The water temperature is still low from the cool down over the past week. The rain has been great for the bite, but a few days of sunshine to raise the water temperature would do wonders. More water means faster current (still very manageable) and heavier sinkers to keep bait in place.
I still managed a mixed bag today. Lots of small catfish, a few drum, a few bullheads, and one unlucky goldeye that became a meal for a 31″ channel catfish that was the highlight of my day.