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Ice out fishing tactics

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With the ice about to be gone, what kind of areas are best when the ice first goes off. I usually wait a week or 2 for the water to warm before I start fishing because in the past I have had a hard time finding the fish right away when the ice goes out. I am thinking that they are out just a little deeper then they are when they move into shallow water after it warms some, but I am not sure. I have heard some people say that if you find the right spot the fish move into the really shallow water right away when the ice is gone. Thanks for replies, good luck this year.

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big musk411

Here is my 2cents.

You are going to want to look for the warmest water. This is typically very shallow dark bottem bays or channels. I have caught crappies as soon a two days after ice out in these locations befor. Its good to have a temperature gauge on your boat to gind these areas. Another thing is that the warmest water is usually on the north east side of the lakes. this is due to the prevailing westerlies and the ambient light from the sun.

Hope this helps.


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Don't forget to check deep water - it is still 39 degrees and may actually be the warmest water around. Applies to crappies. Gills are already cruising around in 8ft or less. Find some green weeds and you will be golden. Look for creek inflows too. Water may not be that warm but it is washing edible stuff into the lake. And the fish are hungry.

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I think the time of day is important as well. I remember last year I went out after work on a local lake and caught about 60 crappies in a couple of hours. It had been a nice warm day and the water had really warmed up.

I went back to this very area a couple of days later and went out in the morning. I caught four. I think I got out too early, before the sun had warmed up those shallow muddy bays. The weather period over those few days was pretty stable as I remember so as I look back I think the time of day was key.


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I would target smaller darker waters early spring. But on any water you may want to try the north side first as it gets most the sun and tends to warm quicker. Wood and manmade structure seem to hold shallow fish early on. Like most said temperatures play a big role in fish locations, even a few tenths of a degree can be a big difference in how much you catch.

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