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Ksam1234

Help after ice out ..

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So I went out today for 6 hours with no catch.  I fished two small lakes about 60 acres and 83 acres. I tried jerkbaits , cranks, ripping lipless cranks. Jigs of different kinds. One has a lot of trees and I flipped trees and tried to crash cranks into them.  Other is very grassy and tried deep diving cranks and shallow.  Deep jerkbaits etc.. water temp is around 40 degrees.  Why won’t they bite. The one lake is called new Albion lake in New York and other is bear lake New York Incase you wanna look them up. This is always my hardest time of the year and can’t ever figure them out. One lake Is only 16 feet deep max and I fished the deep and the shallow with no luck

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35 minutes ago, Ksam1234 said:

So I went out today for 6 hours with no catch.  I fished two small lakes about 60 acres and 83 acres. I tried jerkbaits , cranks, ripping lipless cranks. Jigs of different kinds. One has a lot of trees and I flipped trees and tried to crash cranks into them.  Other is very grassy and tried deep diving cranks and shallow.  Deep jerkbaits etc.. water temp is around 40 degrees.  Why won’t they bite. The one lake is called new Albion lake in New York and other is bear lake New York Incase you wanna look them up. This is always my hardest time of the year and can’t ever figure them out. One lake Is only 16 feet deep max and I fished the deep and the shallow with no luck

Hard to say for sure.

Something that helps me when the water temps are that low (high 30's & low 40's) is to remember how SLOW bass move in that.  It's like slow motion a lot of times.  So if I'm not fishing 'in slow motion' often times I don't get bit. 

Check out the attached clip.  It's an ice fishing deal but it shows how slow the bass are in cold water.  And even though the lake shown is frozen, the open water here is probably close to the temp you were faced with.

 

 So maybe slow down - pause that jerkbait for 10 or even 15 seconds - Slow crawl that jig with long pauses.

I know it's hard to do but sometimes it works.   

:smiley:

A-Jay

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For reference, I'm in Iowa, where there is usually a prolonged period of cool water with a sudden increase in temps after one or two nice days.

 

Prior to these 70+ degree days that spur more bass to move in little more shallow, I find that bass are really scattered.  It pays off for me to fan-cast all over with search baits.  Good choices for me are medium to small lipless cranks, spinner baits, Mepps style spinners, and jighead/twisters.

 

I generally keep my rod tip high and reel as slow as I can to still keep the bait suspended above bottom.  An occasional rapid turn of the reel handle triggers lots of bites.

 

It may also pay off to fish really slow with a jig or plastic, but I find that covering water bags the most fish, even early in the year.

 

The bass seem to surprise me every year on how hard they'll hit a bait before I expect them to be that aggressive.

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If it really is 40F, then you probably are not far from ice-out. Your lake is isothermic -all the same temp top to bottom. I have always checked two options:

-Wintering habitat: main lake, steep grades, cove mouths, deeper weeds, inside turns, are good bets.

-Spring feeding habitat, preferably heating. Protected cove mouths, inlets, productive bays and coves.

 

Where these are in your lake is your job. Can be tough when catch rates can be low. 

As surface heats, bass fish will become more surface oriented, and you can expect bass to show up in/near good feeding areas. Sounds like you are not there yet.

 

At 40F you will likely need to fish mighty slow much of the time. It's "winter" so I'm using finesse gear with hair jigs and Ned grubs. Gotta fish soooooper slow. Slower than you probably even think. My under ice videos show bass moving, even hunting, but they look like they are swimming through molasses. (I did video one make a good 8ft bolt after tiny sunfish. So, they can move, if they are so motivated.) Slow swim, and killed (pauses) baits. Then there are moving baits but they should not have much horizontal speed. So, yo-yoing, killed bladebaits and lipless perhaps. Brian Waldman @Team9nine does really well with blades through winter so maybe he'll pipe in here. For jerks, prioritize pauses, minimize horizontal movement, and make it more a short rip, rather than wide darting. Twitch type jerks that give a rolling kick may outproduce darters. These have a larger bill, such as Rogue, Husky Jerks.

 

Good luck with it. 

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Jerkbaits and blade baits make up 99.9% of my ice-off bass fishing here in Ohio. In fact, both baits have caught me plenty of fish with skim ice still on the lake. Once water temps reach 45-50, I start to bring other baits into the mix too (flat-sided cranks, A-rig, spinnerbaits. Chatterbaits, lipless, jigs).

 

You may need to fish slower than normal if water temps are still in the upper 30s, however I don’t necessarily agree when people say you need to pause for up to 20-30 seconds between jerks. I usually fish the same cadence year round and it catches fish equally well in 40 degree or 80 degree water. Experiment with your retrieve until you find something that works on your lake. Sometimes they want a single jerk, sometimes multiple jerks, other times just drag the rod tip about 6 inches to the side and don’t jerk at all.

 

When the ice first comes off, many of my best early spring spots are shallow (6-8ft), protected coves with mucky bottoms and vegetation, which help hold heat. If you can find bait in these areas, you can bet there are bass nearby too. 

 

Good luck and let let us know how you do on the next trip out!

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21 hours ago, Pickle_Power said:

For reference, I'm in Iowa, where there is usually a prolonged period of cool water with a sudden increase in temps after one or two nice days.

 

Prior to these 70+ degree days that spur more bass to move in little more shallow, I find that bass are really scattered.  It pays off for me to fan-cast all over with search baits.  Good choices for me are medium to small lipless cranks, spinner baits, Mepps style spinners, and jighead/twisters.

 

I generally keep my rod tip high and reel as slow as I can to still keep the bait suspended above bottom.  An occasional rapid turn of the reel handle triggers lots of bites.

 

It may also pay off to fish really slow with a jig or plastic, but I find that covering water bags the most fish, even early in the year.

 

The bass seem to surprise me every year on how hard they'll hit a bait before I expect them to be that aggressive.

Pickle hit the nail on the head for most of the Midwest. The shift from high 40's low 50's seems to have displaced them. I can see them lazily nipping at things on top of the water, and boiling on bait in the shallows. I've almost exclusively caught all my fish thus far slowly retrieving a lipless crank and ripping it out of the grass.

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I'm having the same problem, even fishing real slow. I think a lot of my problem is the lakes that I've tried so far all have shore access in very shallow areas and I imagine the fish are still in the deeper portion of the lake, which is the other half the lake which I don't have access to or is still frozen over.

 

If you can get to the western side of New Albion Lake, it looks like you might be able to get them on a craw jig there which from the lake map looks better than anything I have access to.

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Thanks everyone , I went out again yesterday and still skunked. There was other fisherman out who also had no bites even using real minnows and worms as bait. I don’t have a fish finder yet so I can’t locate them using electronics but I fished the entire lake. Slow jerkbaits with 5-15 second pauses. Slowing crawling jigs. Just hard to locate anything I guess.  I’ll keep trying!! And it truly is just after ice out because there was still some snow covering the hillside. This is always the hardest time of year for me. @Boomstick @Paul Roberts @Pickle_Power @wcjohnson

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1 hour ago, Ksam1234 said:

Thanks everyone , I went out again yesterday and still skunked. There was other fisherman out who also had no bites even using real minnows and worms as bait. I don’t have a fish finder yet so I can’t locate them using electronics but I fished the entire lake. Slow jerkbaits with 5-15 second pauses. Slowing crawling jigs. Just hard to locate anything I guess.  I’ll keep trying!! And it truly is just after ice out because there was still some snow covering the hillside. This is always the hardest time of year for me. @Boomstick @Paul Roberts @Pickle_Power @wcjohnson

This is actually the first time I got out this early when the water is this cold. Last year, the lakes were still frozen and once they thawed, the weather was consistently warmer and they got up into the mid-upper 40s right after thawing.

 

But I am fairly confident that my problems is the design of the lakes I have tried so far -- which are not the best for shore access this time of year. Even so, I did find a slightly deeper spot I had access to yesterday and did manage to get a couple of rather weak bites, one fishing a colorado bladed spinnerbait as slow as I could and the other on a craw jig which is better than I did on Saturday or last week.

 

In 2-3 weeks, we'll be pulling in bass like it's going out of style. My first trip of the year for the past two seasons has been at a small lake where once it gets to about 64 degrees or so they move to the other side of the lake which has no spots you can cast from shore due to low overhead tree branches. I never get big ones there, but they usually slam a spinnerbait, crankbait or topwater pretty nicely, cook up dinner and it's always a good time :)

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6 hours ago, Ksam1234 said:

Thanks everyone , I went out again yesterday and still skunked. There was other fisherman out who also had no bites even using real minnows and worms as bait. I don’t have a fish finder yet so I can’t locate them using electronics but I fished the entire lake. Slow jerkbaits with 5-15 second pauses. Slowing crawling jigs. Just hard to locate anything I guess.  I’ll keep trying!! And it truly is just after ice out because there was still some snow covering the hillside. This is always the hardest time of year for me. @Boomstick @Paul Roberts @Pickle_Power @wcjohnson

"Just hard to locate anything I guess."

That right there is the key. Even if you are on fish, they can be tough to interest.

 

"And it truly is just after ice out because there was still some snow covering the hillside."

Another way to tell is, since the water is now all the same temperature, the water often looks soupy, gunky, with little bits of sediment, daed, algae, ... rolling up. This has been called "spring turnover" but it's not much of one like it can be in the fall in lakes that develop a good solid thermocline. I've not noticed the spring isothermia affecting the fishing.

 

"This is always the hardest time of year for me."

I'd say me too. Only thing that might make the fish even less responsive would be adding muddy water to that frigid water.

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Next time out, try something different and go to any really shallow bays you have on those lakes.  I've done pretty well in upsate NY fishing super shallow soon after ice out.

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