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youngangler274

The "Ice Off" Grind

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Been really tough here lately in Southern Wisconsin. Ice finally got off most of the lakes a few weeks ago. Temperatures have still been pretty low with it dropping below freezing most nights and averaging around 45ish degrees during the day. Wind has been blowin real hard as of late but the past few days it has finally let up enough for me to get out. In the two days I have been out I have failed to connect with a single fish or even get a bite. Today I was out for 6 hours total from 7 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. without so much a sign of a bass anywhere. Originally thought maybe they'd still be on their winter patterns. So I tried deep water, rock piles and brush piles with nearby staging areas and spawning flats using small jigs, drop shot, ned rig with no success.  next I tried some staging area like water, shallow ledges, drop offs, Islands near flats using a wide variety of baits also with no takers. Finally just to give myself peace of mind, I tried some skinny water (3ft average) channels, docks mixed with laydowns, rock, again with no takers. Somebody give me some hints or tips here! I have no Idea what to do at this point then hope the fish get into a better temperament soon.

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Keep trying using a slow approach with jerkbaits or hair jigs. I usually find them after ice out in deeper water suspended as they transition into shallower water. Look for bait balls & target them at that depth. Their moving from deep water to shallow at this time in the cycle. Early in the season the bite is better as the day warms up later in the day. Don't get discouraged because once you get your first bite it will only get better, game on. 

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22 hours ago, Dwight Hottle said:

Keep trying using a slow approach with jerkbaits or hair jigs. I usually find them after ice out in deeper water suspended as they transition into shallower water. Look for bait balls & target them at that depth. Their moving from deep water to shallow at this time in the cycle. Early in the season the bite is better as the day warms up later in the day. Don't get discouraged because once you get your first bite it will only get better, game on. 

This is good info. And like he said, once you figure out this early sason bite, it's usually pretty reliable to pattern. And it's different on every body of water. On my home lake, just after ice out, you can walk across them in this huge cove where the main stream comes into the lake. It's mostly 3-5 ft with some pockets that get 9-11 ft deep; that's it, no deep water bite here, no ledges etc...just a big bowl where the water warms faster and bait starts moving up that stream in the spring and the bass follow in herds. And it's the same thing year after year; love it! Oh, and if you aren't already, throw a suspending jerkbait. And try different colors of it.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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On ‎3‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 8:15 AM, Smokinal said:

This is good info. And like he said, once you figure out this early sason bite, it's usually pretty reliable to pattern. And it's different on every body of water. On my home lake, just after ice out, you can walk across them in this huge cove where the main stream comes into the lake. It's mostly 3-5 ft with some pockets that get 9-11 ft deep; that's it, no deep water bite here, no ledges etc...just a big bowl where the water warms faster and bait starts moving up that stream in the spring and the bass follow in herds. And it's the same thing year after year; love it! Oh, and if you aren't already, throw a suspending jerkbait. And try different colors of it.

Good luck and keep us posted.

My favorite lake has a spot just like this too..

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On 3/25/2017 at 9:07 AM, Dwight Hottle said:

Keep trying using a slow approach with jerkbaits or hair jigs. I usually find them after ice out in deeper water suspended as they transition into shallower water. Look for bait balls & target them at that depth. Their moving from deep water to shallow at this time in the cycle. Early in the season the bite is better as the day warms up later in the day. Don't get discouraged because once you get your first bite it will only get better, game on. 

 

On 3/26/2017 at 7:15 AM, Smokinal said:

This is good info. And like he said, once you figure out this early sason bite, it's usually pretty reliable to pattern. And it's different on every body of water. On my home lake, just after ice out, you can walk across them in this huge cove where the main stream comes into the lake. It's mostly 3-5 ft with some pockets that get 9-11 ft deep; that's it, no deep water bite here, no ledges etc...just a big bowl where the water warms faster and bait starts moving up that stream in the spring and the bass follow in herds. And it's the same thing year after year; love it! Oh, and if you aren't already, throw a suspending jerkbait. And try different colors of it.

Good luck and keep us posted.

thanks guys for the info! hopefully I will get out there in the next few days and get after em. Ill keep yall updated!

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It's tough when the water's cold. Winter fish can be consolidated, often away from shoreline cover where most people are most comfortable. When water breaks into the 50s things should pick up. Bass are more mobile then and hungry. Prior to this they're still catchable, but you have to find them. And don't expect them to do much chasing.

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I miss spring.  I moved to Northern Ill. 22 years ago from just a couple of hundred miles south of here, and haven't seen a spring time yet.   Unless you count that one weekend we sometimes get in June.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A note on jerkbaits...am I am still a novice with them but I fished with a friend who is good with them.  He caught 5 in between 5 and 7 pounds during an early spring outing while I caught none.  Had I been by myself I would have sworn it was the Dead Sea.  What I learned were three things:

 

1) He was twitching and not jerking On SLACK line to keep the bait in place.

 

2) This day he was pausing 6 seconds in between twitches...an agonizingly long time for the lure getting back to the boat.

 

3) That particular day, color didn't matter, it was all about how slow he moved the bait.  He used 3 different brands and colors of jerkbaits. 

 

And finally, just because I didn't catch them doesn't mean fish weren't there or that they weren't catchable!  I got frustrated with not catching them on a jerkbaits and tried a jig (my specialty), and other slow moving baits with no luck. I learned a lot that day!

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