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FishOn!GetTheNet

Where to find largemouth after Ice out

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 Hello I live in Northwest Iowa I will be fishing in the Okoboji open May 5  this will be my second year last year we only had about a week of open water before the tournament normally  I fish docks and weeds and do very well but  last year in the tournament The docks weren’t in the weeds haven’t  grown up yet and I could not find any bass I have no idea where bass go during the winter under the ice so I have no idea where to go to find them after the water opens up Okoboji is not a reservoir but it’s deep 110’ in spots with rocky points sandy/muddy flats mostly in 20+ ft it’s got some shallow canals and lots of Bass smallies and large mouth last year the biggest was 7+lbs and winning teams had 5 fish limits in the 20+ lb range it is an awesome spot I catch 4&5 pounders in the summer but only got one 3lb during the tournament im not trying to win but I would like to finish better this year the water was 40 serface temp I know I have to fish slowly but I don’t know where to go how deep do bass go should I be in 20-40-60-100’ ?suspended on the bottom? The main lake or smaller off shoots ? I should explain that Okoboji is a series of lakes connected west Okoboji is the largest And deepest with large bays East Okoboji is fairly large but only about 20 feet deep no reel bays then their are 3 smaller lakes about 8’ during the summer I can dock fish all day but no idea what to do without them Please help 

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Focus on primary points & secondary points for ice out Smallies & largemouth. Ideally ones next to deep water and that are adjacent to shallower flats, the ones that are rocky are going to be money for smallmouth. The first things I would be throwing if the water is around 40 are blade baits, Jerkbaits, finesse jig, or keitech easy shiner. Look on the Navionics webapp to get a better idea of the areas I marked on the map, those are the first places I'de look for winter/early pre-spawn fish. 

okoboji.png

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Thank you so much I will definitely hit spots you marked I’m putting them into the plotter today. and I’ve got all the baits but blades do you think rattle traps could work in their place also do you think I could go out and try ice fishing those spots with jigs and rattle traps or would I be wasting time 

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You got months of unpredictable weather ahead of you still. I wouldn't stress about it yet. 

 

Looking for promising spots applied to last year's scenario may help, but could also put you in the wrong spots.

 

You said only 1 week of open water last year. Is that the norm for the lakes? Abnormally long winter?

 

 

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I think it was a long winter but probably not I’m really not sure. I normally don’t get over there with the boat till late May April is my bussy time of year getting back to work and have to get the crews going so I’m not sure when the ice clears out 

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I’ve never fished the lakes you will be on. So I don’t know what’s there. Right after ice out, my first choices would be anywhere the water is a few degrees warmer than the rest of the lake. Incoming creeks, shallow dark bottom bays, often along the northern shoreline can warm (or cool) faster than the deeper sections. Any place you might have green weeds leftover from the past season. Those canals you mentioned if the sunlight can get to them to warm them up. After that, as the water warms, I always concentrate on areas that are near known spawning sites.

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3 hours ago, FishOn!GetTheNet said:

Thank you so much I will definitely hit spots you marked I’m putting them into the plotter today. and I’ve got all the baits but blades do you think rattle traps could work in their place also do you think I could go out and try ice fishing those spots with jigs and rattle traps or would I be wasting time 

A blade bait is a quite a bit more subtle than a lipless it has a tight wobble and doesn't have rattles, I find it works way better than a lipless in the super early spring. I do the best hopping it them off bottom a few inches and letting it sit a few seconds, usually the next time I lift theres a fish on it. Plain Silver and Gold are the best two colors for me in 1/2 oz, they also double as a good ice fishing bait for walleye.

 

Those spots wouldn't be terrible ice fishing spots, point with the big flat in the north end of the lake is where I would try ice fishing first. Also depends on what you're targeting, but perch and walleye might be all over those deeper flats. But I will admit, I'm not the best ice fisherman so take that with a grain of salt.

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I focused on the warmest spots I could find but only got smaller fish and not many of them 

ya I get plenty of perch and eyes but I was thinking about targeting bass now to help me during may

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Early spring I look for rock banks that have sun shining on them. That is usually the warmest area and bass will congregate there. Rip rap around bridges and Marinas always get my attention.

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