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Panfish Depth...

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What depths have been producing good panfish action for people? I went out today trying different things, but the wind was really tought and it was hard to hold positions. I tried minnows, worms, and waxies on plain hooks and ice jigs (under floats) in 2 to 10 feet of water. I had almost no luck (one nice bass in 8 ft and a couple small sunnies in 2 ft.) I tried all of this on Stieger Lake.

Any thoughts??

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Matt Johnson

I've been doing well anywhere from 2-6 feet lately, right up and in the weeds. Try to find any pockets or openings and fish those. I've been using plastics mostly, not much live bait. Try throwing 1.5 inch tubes and finesse plastics. All white, white/red, pink, or chartreuse have been working pretty good. 1/32oz jighead about 18 inches below a light float, and pop/twitch the plastic back to you, with a couple second pause after every twitch/pull. Get that plastic to bounce and glide back to its original position, sort of like a free-fall/feather approach. Let the plastic finesse tail trigger the fish into striking. If I added livebait it was just to add a little flavor/scent, not intended to be the main course. Bio-Bait worked great, because it actually will lighten up the load slightly, allowing the plastic to fall slower, which drives those panfish crazy.

If you don't find the panfish up in the shallows, then slide off the nearest break, and work the 8-15 foot areas right where the breakline starts to level for the first time, assumming that it does. No float for this presentation, just a free-falling jig/plastic. Slowly drift along the contour breakline, working your jig 1-3 feet off the bottom. Might not be a bad idea to try a small beetle spin type spinner either, you can draw out the more aggressive fish and it can act as a search lure and call in the fish with its noise and vibration. Once you locate a school of fish or develop a pattern then you can slow down your approach and work that particular area with finesse plastics.

A day like today can be tough out on the water, but pay attention to the wind blown areas where you think forage might get trapped by a weededge or shoreline. I've found that on days like today you can have your best luck drifting over areas where the bottom rapidly changes, as if the bottom contour is shaped like a wave, going from 10 feet to 13 and back to 10 again repeatedly. (not necessarily those depths) You want your jig to barely glide a foot or so over the 10 foot areas, and you will pick up a lot of your strikes as you drift over the 13 foot areas where the fish will typically hold. Any sort of new grass/vegatation is good too.

Sometimes it can take a lot of trial and error on days like today, but keep moving until you find fish, they are out there.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson Outdoors
Metro Area Ice Fishing, Team Catch-N, and more...
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait
Stone Legacy
JR's Tackle

[This message has been edited by Matt Johnson (edited 05-31-2004).]

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Thanks alot! That was great info!!!

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