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IceHawk

Dog Days of Winter

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eyeguy 54

got out from 3 to 5 today to check a spot and color selection was the key. had lookers and after 4 different combos finally got 9 to commit. all growing up to get bigger. :) tried a combo from 3 days ago and they would not touch it!  that really surprised me. great info  chris. 

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Tom Sawyer

Another factor to contribute to the dog days of February definitely is fishing pressure. Was out on an area lake last week targeting basin crappies. A community hole that has seen a fair amount of pressure since the first wheel house set down. The fish still want to be in the basin to feed, but showing themselves during the day suspended half way up the water column is not happening anymore. They tend to huge bottom, or just a couple feet off at most. You can throw everything at them, and they laugh and swim away. They've been fished so hard for so long, that they change feeding activity times, and take insects closer to bottom it seems.

 As Chris mentioned, line diameter helps detect light bites and along with converting line wary fish. Live bait presentations can be the only way to go, or plan on going home defeated. Fishing away from the wolf packs with a small tail hooked crappie minnow just off bottom, at prime times and well beyond o' dark 30 will help ice fish from these same areas that produced crappie earlier in the season. Prime time for good fishing, usually coincides with a NHL, or NBA game on the radio, 7pm -10pm, or just before the sun wakes up. FISHON!;)

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monstermoose78

This whole winter has been a struggle for me. I fish away from crowds and use light line. I have never struggled like I have this winter. I have tried all kinds of plastics and tiny jigs to huge jigs. Live bait has not helped either. I have lightly pressured lakes and pressured lakes nothing wants to bite. This not just me many others are saying the same thing.Today was I was on lightly pressured lake and marked fish but could not get many to bite.

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Wanderer

We had to work a lot more today to get on fish than what we expected. And having a biting wind didn’t help.

I still wouldn’t say we crushed them but managed to sort out a dozen keeper crappies.  Once we found em, the first flurry was easy but that didn’t last real long.  We changed, and changed, and changed presentations to keep those lookers biting.  One thing would work for a half dozen or so fish and then it would die.  Make a change or two and get a half dozen more.  Lots of small ones to weed through.  Another thing I would do when they started ignoring my bait and disappear was just pull it out of the hole and wait until I marked fish again before dropping back down.  I don’t think you can ever over estimate the first drop on crappies.  

Later on, the thing that worked for us to draw them in was very aggressive jigging.  I mean 2-3 foot rips with small jigging spoons.  Blade spoons, rattling flyer, and forage minnows tipped with plastic at times but needing to be minnow heads at the tail end.

It turned into being a fairly odd bite but change kept us in the game.

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bassman186

I too went out all weekend with very tough results... I would see them all schooled up on the camera and couldn't get them to commit 

AQUAVU (2).jpg

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IceHawk

Great tips guys lets keep it going. 

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gimruis

Wait for the ice to melt then get out there during open water.  That's the best advice I can offer!

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Wanderer
7 hours ago, bassman186 said:

I too went out all weekend with very tough results... I would see them all schooled up on the camera and couldn't get them to commit 

AQUAVU (2).jpg

We saw the same thing in one area we tried.  They were perfectly content doing nothing.

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eyeguy 54
1 hour ago, gimruis said:

Wait for the ice to melt then get out there during open water.  That's the best advice I can offer!

haha!  :)   why wait?  fish on! :):) 

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backinblue

Your point about going to a lighter rod is very timely.  I was working thru my rigs and moving more toward my heavier combos thinking more about solid hook-set rather than feel.  I have found springs and walleyed didn't mix, but lighter tip action will get a try next week.  Based on your comments may start with light action on my jigger and medium on my deadstick.

Thanks

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Borch

I would add that mobility is your friend.  I can almost always pluck a few of the more aggressive fish out of the hole.  Then it gets tougher.  Sometimes switching colors or profile will get the bite going again.  But often moving just 20 feet will get you on fresh fish.  Do this enough times and it turns into a pretty good day.  :)

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Wanderer
      My recollection of Sylvia is it being a nice, clean looking lake that would have nice views.  Bass were plentiful when I last fished it but ran pretty small on the weedlines.  You had to fish the slop to get better sized bass.  Couldn’t tell you a thing about walleyes there. I agree with Tom, Clearwater is a more dynamic fishery.
    • Wanderer
      We had to cut the hooks on one of my fish this year.  Caught on a Cisco Kid, 2 of 3 sets of trebles in the fish.  Just by how they were twisted, the leverage made removal by pulling very difficult and the fish would thrash when I attempted to work them out.  Made the decision pretty easy to cut the hooks. I’m honestly considering going barbless on everything.  Half the time the lure shakes free in the net anyway so the pressure is what keeps them buttoned until netted.  The plus is if one of us gets one in the hand when working on a netted fish, it won’t hurt so bad getting it out!
    • Wanderer
      Thanks for the feedback.   We have the time from hookset to release pretty short I think.  I read earlier this spring the average fight these days lasts 90 seconds or less.  I’ll admit I was amazed to hear that but after a half dozen muskies that have come to net this year, that’s no bull.  We usually have em netted on the first pass by the boat.  My 48 inch net allows one to do all the handling in the water while the other gets the bump board laid out and phone ready for a pic. A quick measure and quick pics and back in the water they go. Thats about as much as we can do.  70 degrees is lower than I expected to hear.  We were seeing those temps on opening weekend in Ontario.  We didn’t like seeing 80 last Friday on Leech.
    • delcecchi
      What do you think of the "cut the hooks" method of dealing with Muskies?   Small bolt cutters to make the process fast.   Just wondering.  
    • guideman
      Typically temps over 70 degrees are considered dangerous for handling Muskies. The length of the fight and the time you take handling the fish will make a difference. That is one of the reasons we use heavy line and big rods, you don't want to battle the fish to the death. Skip photos on smaller fish and remove the hooks with the fish in the net, in the water, not on the bottom of the boat. "Ace"   "It's just fishing man"  
    • Tom Sawyer
      Sylvia would have been my 1st choice, until it recently was discovered to have Stary Stonewart. Pretty devastating invasive. I'd bet Clearwater holds a state record large mouth bass. It also has strong walleye year classes.
    • Wanderer
      I was able to get back out on Leech last Friday the 13th.  Had to take a day off work to get some fishin’ in! This time was strictly for muskies but bass and pike showed themselves anyway. 🙂  The morning waves were still rolling from either the night or Thursday and the lake was rougher  than expected at 6 am.  The forecast said 0-5 and eventually the wind did calm from the northwest, switch, and then proceed from the southwest.  The effect for us was basically almost a 180 degree switch while we were out there and we didn’t see any fish of any size after that.  I think the switch was complete by roughly 1 pm. The other thing that raised our eyebrows was the surface water temps.  We started seeing high 76’s right away on the main lake but climbed pretty quickly to 78-79 mid day and was topping out at 81 by the afternoon/evening.  This made us really want to focus on deeper weeds but weren’t having much luck locating them.  We just weren’t in the right part of the lake.  But that’s how you learn - by doing. Total muskie count for the day = 2; 1 follow (mid 40 class) and one boated (41.5).  The day went SUPER fast for 10 hours of fishing.  Black bucktails raised the two for us.  I had the follow, my partner caught the fish. The temps had us concerned about the fish but my monster 48 inch net enables us to keep the fish completely in the water until it’s time for a quick measure and pic. Still trying to come to grips on what’s too warm for fishing muskies.  This one was on the line for no more than 2 minutes, including the net time before the hooks were out.  Maybe another minute to get the phone and board out and glove on for grabbing it up.  Less than 1 minute to measure and photo, then back in the drink for an easy resuscitation.  
    • Jeff Thill
      Looking for walleye  and bass fishing mostly.   I did hear good things about Clearwater Lake.   My wife has been looking at houses and her focus landed on West Sylvia.  She could care less about the fishing. Have any of you heard good or bad things about Sylvia Lake?    
    • FishinCT
      I looked up the Mille lacs hooking mortality study on walleyes and it started to dramatically increase around 65 degrees. About 5% mortality at 65 degrees but about 25% at 75 degrees. I have to imagine the numbers are higher for muskies given an extended fight with a large fish, having to take more care to not get cut up or hooked yourself while unhooking the fish, temptation to take lots of pictures, etc.  Here's the study if you're interested http://mnmuskie.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Reeves-and-Bruesewitz-2007_factors-influencing-hooking-mortality-of-walleyes-Mille-Lacs.pdf
    • DLD24
      Went out the last couple days on Mille lacs, we had no problem finding fish, but the big fish eluded us... We got all sorts of year classes from 11" eyes on up to 24", which is a good sign... That big storm they got must have dirtied the water up, all the fish we found were on the top edge of the flats no matter how bright it was... Rigging leeches and crawlers were the best until we got some waves then the jigging rap was taking all the fish. The fish were stacked up on points of flats and narrow ridges on the flats... We tried pulling lead for a little while, but I've never done it so I had zero confidence in it haha.