They put these massive log cribs out in 20 feet of water, and they stand about 5 or 6 feet high. It’s almost like a log home for crappies, bluegills, perch and bass. The larger predator species will even come and feed around them, creating a very diverse fishery around these sunken cribs.
There’s a lot of different baits that we’ve been using today, including several that most folks would use for ice fishing. We’ve been using a lot of small tungsten jigs with meat or plastics. But one of the things that work great when the fish get finicky in this deeper water is ice fishing spoons tipped with wax worms. When that thing flutters down towards the bottom, it attracts fish from a distance.
The versatility of spoons is actually quite impressive. You can cast them and swim them back along weed edges, put them underneath a float and actually fish them at a certain depth. All I’m doing fishing around these cribs is loading them up with a few wax worms and vertical jigging it. You can see that nice, slow flutter, just vertical jigging it right over that crib, just like we’re finesse fishing them through the ice.
I just think about it like this: I have a seven foot ice rod in my hand with a small spoon and we’re going to ice fish for these bluegills in the middle of July.
Explore new waters and use new tactics, that’s half the fun of fishing. When you can use a new technique to catch some impressive fish, that’s one of the most rewarding things you can do in fishing.
This time of year is great for panfish, but we do want to remind you that selective harvest is critic to the long-term health of our bluegill and crappie populations. Releasing big bluegills, especially the males, is imperative if you want to see large bluegill size structures in your favorite fishing lakes. Removing those large fish will actually cap the maximum size fish can grow in a system, but stunting the hierarchy of what’s required to own the most prime breeding locations.