Behind the Bite Ep:5
SD Recap JUMBOS! Set out with hopes of catching colossal Perch. When we got onto the water, we were finding that all year classes were present in the several different bodies of water we fished. The bigger fish would come in schools of 2-3 while smaller year classes were traveling in large groups. Presentations that worked the best for us were using tungsten jigs and dead sticks. We used several different baits on our tungsten jigs from plastics to spikes. The spikes worked well and gave us the ability to catch multiple fish on meat.
The best application we found was "loading up" 6 or 7 spikes at a time to ensure we still had bait if we missed the first bite and there would still be bait present when the fish came back for round two. We also used the Northland Tackle “Punch Fly” in 4mm Gold on our jigging rods. For our dead sticks we tied on demon or frosty jigs tipped with a minnow. We also used the Snare rod from JT Custom Rods tied up tungsten jigs and minnows which also worked well for us and brought numerous perch through the ice. We found that the fish were still up shallow (6’-8’) and still very skittish. The LiveScope has shown time and time again this year that fish are aware of activity above them. Cleats were still necessary with the slick ice and no snow cover this year, but foot traffic and noise made fish spook easily. To overcome this, we would drill a grid of holes before we planned on fishing them. Drilling holes and returning to an area proved to help the fish filter back in and limit the threat that they perceived from us.
Ice conditions were fair to poor. Places with 8-12" and spots that quickly went to 0"-2". Many lakes had spots that were opening after the recent warm spell and winds. Pressure ridges should be avoided as that was where the weakest and most unpredictable ice was. Multiple reports of vehicles, snow bears, and UTV's falling through. Still urge caution!