Spring ahead into late ice madness

Randin Olson, Lock Jaw Guide Service
Warm weather is finally here! Coming with the warm up, is some great fishing opportunities. Now that Walleye, Bass, and Pike season are closed, its time to hit the lakes in search of those all to great tasting panfish and every bodies favorite Tullibees.  Before you can load up the grease with some fillets, you are going to have battle the lake. With 30+ inches of ice and up to 30 inches of snow on top, we have some flooding happening on a lot of area lakes. The flooding is making it very difficult to move around on the lakes leaving you walking or taking a track machine where you would like to go. Snowmobiles are a possibility, but the slush is even making snowmobile travel difficult. I would advise packing light and walking to where you would like to fish, unless you like getting stuck.
Panfish Paradise is going strong. With Gills invading the weed flats, they are grouped up and hungry. You will have to search for them for a bit though. A good underwater camera can be an invaluable tool this time of year. It will allow you to scan a much larger area and also identify fish from debris. Large weed flats are a prime place to start your search. Using small tungsten jigs like Northland’s Fire ball, you will be able to stay in contact with the school and keep them interested for a long time. Plastics can play an important role this time of year by limiting the amount of time you are out of the water, thus keeping the fish under you for a longer period of time. Crappies are playing both sides of the fence right now. There are fish both shallow and deep. With all the snow cover, the lakes oxygen is starting to deplete which will cause fish to move to more suitable areas. Keep in mind, when things do start to melt there will be an abundance of oxygen in the shallows due to runoff from the shorelines.
Tullibee’s are on the prowl in large numbers right now. Be prepared to move. look to the lakes mud basin for these roamers and drill lots of holes. There are a bunch of ways to catch tullibee’s, but my favorite system is a dropper rig. Tie on a mid-sized spoon and remove the bottom hook. On the bottom of the spoon, tie on a 6 inch piece of line with a small tungsten on the other end, tip with a waxie and start jigging. Don’t spend to much time in one hole. These fish move fast and often.
Don’t put your gear away just yet! the best fishing of the season is starting. Be careful of lake travel and take a friend with to lighten the load. It looks like we will have ice for a while so lets enjoy it!
Randin Olson
Lock Jaw Guide Service

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