My Favorite time of the year.
Its that time of the year and boy did it come early!! I have had the privilege to fish a week before thanksgiving on ice but never around central MN. Most of my adventures have always been on small lakes close to the Canadian border and as most die hard's like me that is only a short drive. Finding time to get on ice we were already driving sled's and wheeler's on 5 to 8"'s of ice a week before thanksgiving which is unreal as if you are lucky you get out on 4 safe inches to walk on but the fact that we could ride machines made searching that much easier. As we set off early in the morning with snow cover only in small areas knowing the sun would be blasting we had to think of structure not only on bottom but above the ice as well. What I mean by above the ice is areas that snow had drifted onto. Our search was Big Crappies and Bluegills. We started the day hoping they would be in there usual early ice locations and early in the morning with over cast they were exactly where we thought they would be and they were on the chow!! Fish were coming in left and right with some true tanker Gills and some nice Crappies but as the Sky opened up and the sun came out our hot fishing came to a screeching halt. As we drilled holes only finding fish here and there we decided it was time to forget about the structure on the bottom and focus more on the top. we set of driving around the lake looking for areas with snow cover in 20 FOW and as we found an area instead of drilling holes and making noise we took our transducers on our Vexilars and a bottle of water searching the area by pouring water on the ice and dropping our transducers until we saw the Vexilar light up like a Christmas tree. Once we found them we drilled holes in an area and chased them for the rest of the afternoon. As that magical hour started the fish came in thicker and thicker and even more aggressive then they were in the morning. the technique was a fast quiver to get the tail of the plastic to dance for how stubborn big bluegills are cadence was everything . If you so much as changed it in the slightest bit they would back right off and swim away.
That is one thing I love about chasing these special creatures. They truely make you a better angler because you need to pay close attention to every interaction you have with them and if you make one mistake that will end it in a heart beat. As most of the ice belt is still waiting on safe ice remember that structure on the bottom is very important but when you have high skies and spotty snow cover look for areas where the snow will block the sun and I can guarantee you will find fish there!! This coming weekend I will be spending my time pre fishing Mille lacs for the North American Ice Fishing Champion next weekend so stay safe and have a great weekend on the ice. Happy Fishing Everyone :)