The current status in the metro is that it’s been cold for too long! There’s up to 30” of ice in spots and we’re starting to have to dig out the extensions on some lakes. As always, be safe on the ice because it’s unpredictable at all times of the year.
Bluegills have been feeding up shallow in 5 to 12 feet of water around standing milfoil or coontail. Small tungsten jigs are the best way to target these fish, some of my favorites are the black/red Clam Half-Ant and the Green VMC Hexie fly. The objective is trying to make the bait look and act as natural as possible. To do this I use light line, 2 to 3lb test, and start out with spikes or wax worms. Plastics can also work if you find active fish.
Crappies have not left the basins. You can find them suspended over 20 to 30 ft. and maybe even 40ft with the arctic conditions we have had. I’ve been using a 1/16 oz. spoon a lot, Northland, Clam, and Lindy all make good spoons. It is very important that they glow after dark. Again, light line is important. I use 3 to 4lb test with spikes or a minnow head regularly. If the bite is hot, I will use plastics.
If you just want to sit around and watch flags all day, there’s been a good tip-up bite for pike. Look for a sharp weedline that leads to deep water. The best depth range for me has been 8-15ft with any type of green weeds. If you can find cabbage, that will be the best. I prefer to use an octopus or circle hook, a 3-foot piece of 10-12LB MONO line (stretch helps), a couple split shots above your hook 6 inches or so, and a medium to large shiner. The reason for using these hooks is that when you set the hook it tends to find the corner of the fish’s mouth, not the middle of the jaw where the teeth are. Plus, your minnow looks more natural this way. You’re going to break off a few more times, however, you will increase the amount your flag goes up and chances to hook more fish.
Of course, we can’t forget about the walleyes. Minnetonka has been putting out good fish during the day on the 30-40 ft. flats. They need to have scattered rock and some sort of bait on them, either perch or bluegills are the best. You can also find walleyes mid-day cruising underneath the massive schools of bluegill, which are in a majority of the holes/basins on Tonka. At night, some of the fish will stay deep and others will move up to 10-20 ft. on rock flats or sunken islands next to deepwater. The tip-up game has been excellent with a shiner or small sucker. Rattle spoons that glow are always working but it’s never a bad idea to have a deadstick rigged up. Rippin raps have also produced fish.
And as always: drink milk, never sleep in, always fish longer then you can, remember the fishing license and practice catch & release.
Team Yukon Outdoors
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