February 1, 1998
It seems like ice
fishing late in the season is a morning sport. I've read many articles which try to
explain the fact that the oxygen level in the lakes drops, the longer the ice is covering
This is supposed to occur for two reasons:
- The ice does not allow the transfer of Co2 and oxygen at the surface
- The ice and snow significantly reduces the amount of light which reaches the plants in
the lake, thereby practically eliminating photosynthesis and thus the production of oxygen
But hey, I'm just a stupid ice fisherman with a couple of beers and some time to waste,
so what do I know?....... All I know is that the fishing becomes worse as the season
lengthens and the afternoon bite all but disappears after 2-3 months of ice.
Two weekends ago we set out to catch some bass with no luck. This weekend we had the
same objective and actually succeeded. We executed the same game plan as regards to
depth and and technique, but differed significantly on bottom contour and location.
Last weekend we fished some sunken underwater structure which a friend had identified
during the summer on his depthfinder. We have no idea what the structure is (grass
bed, brush pile, stone pile,
or sunken boat), but is is approximately 4 feet high and 15-20 feet in diameter.
Last weekends structure was located on a gradual sloping bottom in about 8-12 feet of
water. No sharp drop offs existed anywhere nearby. We caught only perch and a
couple of pickerel during the entire day.
This weekend we fished 8-12 feet also. However, we fished a point off of the
biggest island on the lake.
The other major difference was the presence of sharp drop offs nearby with some underwater
ridges in about 20 feet. These major contour differences are what generated our
The contour visually shows what I've been describing. Fishing this point was
truly the reason for catching the bass (and many pickerel, I might add). This point has
historically been a very productive spot.
So, the next time you're out fishing and the fish aren't biting, don't be
discouraged. Just locate a different area on the lake which has a different bottom
contour and give it a try.
I've found that yellow perch seem to like gradual sloping areas while white perch and
largemouth bass prefer drop offs during the ice fishing season. Pickerel seem to be
everywhere, and I don't go after trout very often. Smallmouth seem to hang out in
boulder fields with deep water nearby. All of this is generalizations, but this should
help for the next time you're on the water.