Matt Johnson of Clam outdoors breaks down his technique for targeting and catching pressured panfish through the ice.

Catching Pressured Panfish

As ice fishing has continued to grow in popularity, we have continued to see an increase in fishing pressure on our panfish populations.

As a result of all the fishing pressure, bluegills and crappies have become increasingly finicky. When targeting these finicky pressured panfish I tend to go to the opposite end of what most people would use. Instead of tiny jigs and spring bobbers, I like to fish aggressively with a spoon.

A small Clam jointed pinhead minnow in a 1/16oz is a deadly spoon for triggering fish into biting. I have found great success by using something different than most of the other presentations around.

Now if I can’t get them to go on a spoon, that’s when I switch over to a two pronged approach. A heavier, horizontal tungsten jig paired with a small plastic or a small, lightweight vertical jig paired with a plastic.

I prefer plastic over live bait, because I am completely in control. Now I like to start with the horizontal presentation, because I can fish it faster and stay on the move. But if that’s not working I’ll make that switch to the lightweight, vertical and really slow down how I am fishing.

Another key to catching pressured panfish is to use light line. I am talking about one, two, to three pound test at the max. In order to get the most action out of your baits, light line is key.

If you are heading out to a lake that gets a lot of fishing pressure utilize small spoons and plastics in order to seal the deal on some finicky panfish.