Kevin Dahlke's Outdoors

New England Fishing and Hunting

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Fishing Report June 20 2016 Massachusetts

The sunfish spawn here in the Northeast is on its downward slide. There are still beds around but active fish on them is getting less as each day passes. Water temps are finally rising and mainly getting towards the mid 70’s in many locations.

With only limited times for fishing, been resorting to fishing from shore. The other day I had hit a number of local ponds and was catching the sunfish but there just wasn’t any size to these fish. Wanted to see if we could find those larger breeder fish before they start heading for deeper water.

The final pond has been the ticket for the last few days. For the most part, the fish were on the small side but there is one spot that there was a large number of the bigger sunfish. Upon closer examination, it was a deeper bowl shaped hole area compared to the surroundings and there was some weed growth in there as well.

By making long casts and using a Clam Caviar jig and Kenders jig and tipping these with Northland Impulse Mayfly and Stonefly plastics, these combinations were the ticket. By offering them this changeup, they don’t get too accustomed to a particular bait and shy away from them.

Since these fish are still occupying some of their beds, all of them had been released to fight another day for another angler. This keeps a better gene pool going and offers the angler a much better fishery.

Fishing Report August 7 2016 Massachusetts

Species: Largemouth Bass
Water Depth: 8-25 FOW
Water Temperature: 78-80 degrees
Technique: Plastics/Texas rigged
Weather: Sun/Breezy/85 degree air temps

Water temperatures are fairly high at this time of the summer and in the shallow waters, the weed growth is getting out of control with the drought that we are experiencing. By working deep water structure, this is giving you an opportunity at catching better sized fish that many anglers aren’t even bothering.

Many anglers’ fish shallow throughout the open water season and if you understand how to find and fish deep water structure, this is another advantage for you. Finding these structures, if on a new lake, takes idling around and watching your electronics closely for changes in the bottom contours. Once you locate these key areas, set a waypoint on your GPS or throw out a buoy for your reference point.

Now you can fish this area very thoroughly from fishing deep side and coming up the hump or fishing on top and fishing off of the sides into deep water. Either way, if the fish are there they typically will take the baits that you are presenting as they are not seeing nearly the numbers that the shallow water fish are seeing.

The lake I was fishing has a mid-lake hump structure that one of the humps is in 25 feet of water and comes up to 12 feet on top, while the other one next to it, is in 20 feet of water and tops out at 6 feet deep. The deeper hump has minimal weed growth compared to the shallower one, but both of these were holding fish.

The bait that was working on this trip was a Northland Tackle’s Impulse 5” Jerk Minnow in a Smelt color pattern that was Texas rigged on a 3/0 hook with a 1/4 oz Kenders Tungsten Flipping weight. Having the boat positioned off the side in deeper water, making long casts across these humps was how we were enticing the bites.

Working the bait slowly over the hump and when you would encounter either weeds or rocks, work it very slowly over and through these types of items as they were key to the fish that were relating to them compared to the more barren areas that didn’t have these things. You may not get that many bites doing this, but typically when you do, the fish have a much better quality to them.

If you want to catch numbers of fish, fishing shallow is typically what always works but size wise you will be dealing with a smaller fish. If you get to fish these deep water structures, you may not get the quantities of fish, but your quality will definitely go up. It does take some practice as now you are fishing with a lot more line out, but if you get comfortable with it and put some time into it, you have just added another piece of information for where to look for catching fish on tougher days.

Fishing Report August 6 2016 Massachusetts

Species: Crappie/Bluegill
Water Depth: 4-12 FOW
Water Temperature: 78-79 degrees
Technique: Jigs/Plastics/Floats/Trolling
Weather: Sun/Clouds/Rain showers/Light breeze

We like switching up the species that we chase and today we stepped back from the bass and targeted sunfish and crappies. In this particular pond in the spring and winter, these fish are very predictable as to their locations, but in the warmer months, a little searching is always needed.

Since we are experiencing a major drought this summer, our waters are fishing smaller than usual, but these fish still make you work to find them. You are able to catch sunfish in many different areas but finding the nicer sized ones, there were a couple of key locations.

Best locations were where the coontail was growing and the larger bluegills were thick in these areas. Definitely is fun catching these on ultralight gear as they make their digging runs, your drag is screaming and can’t get enough of these fish.

We were doing a couple of different tactics with one of them, Clam Ant Drop Jigs tipped with a Maki Plastic Maki underneath a float. The other, trolling a size 3 Salmo Hornet along the weed edges and this was catching some jumbo perch as well as the bluegills.

We did manage finding a few crappies and these were suspended along a deep shoreline weed edge but they were constantly on the move. With a little searching, leaving fish that are biting to find larger sized fish, putting in some work, will always pay off in the end.

Nautic-Sport: Power Source

As a sportsman, we still carry along some of our electronics into the field for capturing what we are doing, or for precautionary measures for getting us back home safely. Many times, these items will be drained of their power as they are constantly trying to get or keep a signal, rendering the usability if the need arises.

So how do we keep these items powered up while in the field? There is a product that was developed with the sportsman in mind just for these cases, Nautic-Sport, came out with an item called the Sportsman Emergency Power Source.

This rechargeable pack, allows you to keep your electronics powered, in the event that they are drained during your time in the field or on the water. While at home, you plug this unit into the wall and charge it to its full capacity.

It comes in a small hard sided case that fits easily into a backpack and doesn’t have much weight to it. It comes with a variety of phone connectors, so the variety of brands on the market will be covered and you can charge an Apple and Samsung, for example, at the same time.

There are other connectors that can take the cigarette adapter as well so I you have that type of plug for your outdoor items, they can run off of this unit as well. Also, if you were to drain the unit and have access to your vehicle, there is a connector that allows you to recharge it back to full charge.

One of the other features that may help you get out of a bad situation, there are battery jumper cables that work with this as well. This unit comes with a plug adapter that has the battery terminal clamps for allowing you to jump start your battery. This alone could be a life saver for getting you back home quicker than having to try and getting someone to your location.

I know for my situation, having access to power for keeping my cell phone charged, as many bodies of water that we fish, there is very little signal and that kills those batteries very quickly. Definitely a great item for the sportsman, for those that camp off the grid, this will be a great feature to have in your pack.

Ice Fishing Vermont January 8 2017

This past weekend, we started off our ice fishing tournament series with the Champlain Valley Hardwater Series in Vermont. This is our second season and after last season, we were very excited at getting back up there and seeing and fishing with so many friends.

This series is growing with each tournament and is becoming a very popular event with a number of different states being represented. Everyone is super friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand and make you f...eel welcome to being a part of this community.

This first event was held on a setback of the Connecticut River which is known for having nice sized panfish. Pre-fishing for us was tough, as this was a new body of water for us and spent most of that time, looking at what the different areas consisted of.

Our main location that we concentrated on during the tournament, had a depth of 4-7 feet of water with good concentrations of weeds with a few areas of clear sand spots. My son had the hot hand right from the start and before I had my first keeper fish, he already had 3 in the bucket.

You had to keep moving around the weed beds while watching the Vexilar Inc flasher and with the power setting on low power, this allowed you to distinguish the difference between the weeds and the fish that were inside of the weeds.

Every now and then you would go and check the sand spots and typically catch a decent bluegill. The bait that worked the best for us was the Clam Outdoors Drop-Kick Jig and tipped that with a variety of grubs.

As the day wore on, we were able to upgrade all of our fish and for us the bigger fish came in the middle of the day. Our biggest bluegill was .75 of a pound and we had a six fish limit of 3.40 pounds which put us in 16 place out of 44 teams.

We were happy with our results, as our pre-fish was dismal, but, that is why every day is a new day when it comes to fishing. We had a lot of fun with everyone and always look forward to making our way back to Vermont and fishing with our ice fishing family.

We want to send out our congratulations to the top 3 teams and also to the big fish winner. This tournament series should be looked at by anyone in the New England region that wants to get into competitive ice fishing, while having a lot of fun at the same time.

Biggest fish was a crappie at 1.45 pounds

Post Spawn Bass

Waters are reaching warmer temperatures, finally, and that means the spawning beds are vacated and the shallow waters look like land mines have been set off. These times of the season can be a bit tougher for finding actively biting fish, as they are in the transition mode from spring to summer.

Waters we were recently fishing, the deeper waters of the lake, are very structure-less to say the least and cruising the shorelines, there is high evidence that the spawn is recently over. So with the post spawn happening, what baits would you use for seeking out some of these fish.

We tried a variety of baits and presentations for the few days that we were fishing in a row and the Northland Reed-Runner Tandem Spinnerbaitseem to prove itself over and over again with a number of the largemouth and smallmouth bass that were caught.

We were finding that on some of the other baits, if and when the fish would hit, they were striking the baits short. So seeing that, we would add a stinger hook to the spinnerbait to improve the hookup ratios. One thing with adding the stinger hook, after sliding that hook onto the baits hook, then add a small piece of surgical tubing, so that the hook stays put on the main hooks shank, otherwise you will lose that extra hook.

We were looking for actively feeding fish and cruising the shorelines in our search, not all of these fish will move away to deeper waters. So by targeting the rocks, weeds and overhanging trees, this proved for locating some bites and the Reed-Runner was definitely something they were looking for.

Key presentations was fishing steeper dropping shorelines and casting the bait right up to the water’s edge, reeling the bait at a slower rate and this was getting it down to a deeper depth. Fish that were caught were right on the wood or rock and at times, they would follow the bait back to the boat and hit just before coming out of the water.

Different times of the year always dictates different approaches for finding the fish that we catch. Certain baits need to be fished slowly and others at a quicker pace. The Reed-Runner allows you to cover water and in turn, putting the bait in front of more fish for more opportunities at catching success.

Game Plan for Fishing New Waters

Anglers get stuck in a habit of fishing the same waters over and over again and get into a comfort zone that they tend not to want to try other locations. By trying different waters as well as different scenarios, lakes vs rivers, this in the long run, makes an angler more versatile and able to adapt more quickly for finding fish at newer locations.

Not having much experience on fishing river systems, we have been frequenting one such system a few times already with more trips planned. The stretch that we have been trying to learn is above the dam, so there is some water movement and many of the banks have a steep drop.

One key that we are seeing more frequently is that by continually mapping every time that we are out, we are finding some locations that have shallower shoreline shelves scattered around and those have been key locations so far this year for finding fish. Most of these areas have been in the 3-6 foot range and there is an abundance of weed and wood in the water as well.

So far, have been using search baits, like the Salmo shallow divers, and this is allowing us to cover more water and in turn, the more water you cover, the more you learn about those stretches. The steeper shorelines have been having smallmouth on them and those shallower shelves is where the largemouth and northern pike have been.

One thing that you definitely notice, is that the river fish always seem to have more fight in them and also, there may be other species that are caught as well. Our area doesn’t have northern pike in them, but we did have a very nice one that we lost boat side on the last trip and that definitely made for some exciting moments.

Fishing Report September 24 2016 Massachusetts

Fall time is one of the prime times for fishing, spring is as well, for being able to catch numbers of fish, but more importantly, bigger fish. This time of year the fish, especially crappies, start schooling together and finding the schools that have the better sizes is key.
As the waters cool, their tendencies are to school up and start roaming the basins of the lake. Reading your electronics is key to finding these schools and once you do, following them keeps you in the action.

Water temperatures are key as well since if they are still in the low 70’s, these schools are still fairly small and scattered. Once the waters get into the 60’s to 50’s, this is when the schools increase in size and are somewhat easier to find.

Our waters right now are still in the 70 degree range so they are schooling up some, but these schools are smaller, but what I am finding is that these schools are smaller fish. The larger fish are in much smaller concentrations, but they are off to the sides of the bigger school.

You are able to see the schools on your electronics and if you keep looking, you can see where the bigger fish are laying. To target these bigger fish I have been using the Clam Outdoors Rattlin Blade Spoon and also the Pyscho Shad. By using these larger baits, this keeps the smaller fish away and you can definitely tell when setting the hook.

Matching these baits with 3 pound line and a St.Croix Rods UL Panfish Series rod makes for a very fun outing. One other thing is that when you do find these schools, putting out a buoy is a great reference point especially this will keep you in the area as you try and follow these fish.

Fall Striper Bonanza?

Fall time brings on a whole new fishing and exciting time for being on the water, fish are feeding for the winter months and moving towards their winter locations. The Stripers on the East coast are leaving their Maine locations and heading down the coast towards their wintering grounds.

We have been trying a bit more striper fishing this summer and have heard that the fish had been using the canal in southern MA preparing for their fall migration. The canal is setup very fisher friendly meaning, there are bike paths on both sides and you can fish the whole length of the canal that is about 7 miles long.

Never being there before, we decided to start heading east towards the ocean and the current was flowing in that direction as well as the tide was coming in. The goal was to cover as much water as possible and we were finding out quickly that different parts of the canal had different currents flowing through.

Typical baits that are used are topwater, shallow diving stickbaits and also large jigs for fishing towards the bottom. As we started at daylight, working topwater plugs, we had a couple of blow ups but could see that they were smaller fish.

One location, we had a school of baitfish right in front of us and seen a flash of a fish working on the outer edge. Casting in a jig/plastic combination, the fish nailed it and wasn’t the biggest at 18 inches, but these fish put up a battle like they are of a much bigger size.

As we traveled near the mouth of the canal, this portion widened out quite a bit more and had more depth as well. Topwater never emerged, but we used an eel imitator casted as far out as possible and reeled slowly back. This bait had a paddle tail for the action and caught a bunch of schoolies which are always fun.

We were hoping for a much better day for sizes of fish, as we had a tropical storm moving in and over us with high winds and rain. We caught a number of fish but wanted to see some of those over the 30 inch mark, but wasn’t in the cards and that is what makes you wanting to come back again and again.

Berkley Fishing "Pro Twitchtail Minnow" review

With the spring weather in full swing that has warmed the shallow waters and this in turn has brought many species of fish into the shallows. Today’s target was to see if the bass are moving in shallow and try out a bait from Berkley Fishing, the Pro Twitchtail Minnow.

This bait is an imitation that represents a dying minnow swimming just under the surface. Rigging the bait weedless and weightless as pictured, allows you to twitch and dance it through and over weeds, rocks or... surrounding wood while keeping the required action for a strike from the fish.

The retrieve used is the short pull and let rest on slack line which allows the bait to dart and slowly sink similar to that of a dying minnow. The weight of the hook allows it to sink at a slow rate and after reeling in the slack, get ready for the weight of a fish on the bait.

This is a compact bait at 3” that will not only catch you bass, as the crappie have taken a liking to it as well. With many varieties of fish swimming near the shorelines now, this is a great search bait and should catch you a number of fish as well.

Fishing Report October 15, 16 2016 Massachusetts Fishing Blogs

Fall time fishing can go either way when the waters start dipping into the 40’s, one day they are feeding and other days, you can’t buy a bite. But with the conditions right now, most water temperatures are in the low 60’s to upper 50’s and that means the feed bags are on.

Since we are still in these ranges, this allows us to target a couple of different species with crappies to start one day and moving onto the bass the next. So far this fall season, we haven’t had that many cold days or nights and this is keeping the waters warmer and the fish more active.

Crappies were first on the agenda and with the water temperature at 59 degrees, definitely hoping for some fast and constant action. This particular lake we have one area that has been producing some nice sized fish and the beginning of the action was great with a few 14.5 inch fish being caught.

Switching between a couple of different baits was the one two punch, as you would catch a few on one and then a few on the other. Water depth was 11 feet deep and these fish were laying fairly close to the bottom.

The aggressive fish were keyed on the Clam Outdoors Rattlin Blade Spoon tipped with a Maki Plastic and the fish that were a bit more lethargic, would fall to the Northland Tackle Mitee Mouse tipped with an Impulse Water Flea. Both of these baits had to be fished in a subtle manner as if you worked them a bit too quickly, they weren’t interested.

Next fish on the agenda was to target largemouth and smallmouth bass. We had driven by a river that looked very inviting and decided to give it a try. This type of water system we are very unfamiliar with as we never fish rivers so this is going to be a learning experience.

This section of the river is above a dam, so the waters had some decent depth to them and where do we start. Many of the shorelines have quickly dropping water depths so we wanted to try and find areas that had some irregularities and also shallower flats and green weeds.

Water temperatures were at the 59 degree mark and that means crankbait fishing is on the agenda. We like to run cranks at this time of the year as we are targeting aggressive fish and also want to cover as much water as we can. A crank is a great bait for learning new water as it allows you to find a variety of covers along shorelines and other deeper water structures.

We covered a number of good looking areas but it came down to one key location. Using the Salmo Hornet, we had found a fairly good sized flat that had a good abundance of green vegetation on it. The weeds went out to the 9 foot depth and cranking through the weed patches was key for locating the fish inside of them.

Many of the casts would get clogged with weeds but those times that you wouldn’t, those were the times the fish would attack. Being this is a river system, when a fish attacks, you don’t know if it is largemouth or smallmouth.

Smallmouth were the active fish this trip and they definitely gave off a great battle back to the boat. We ran a number of other areas, but just couldn’t find that same type of structure. River systems are very foreign to us but we definitely will be back to search them out again.

So hopefully the boats aren’t put away yet as the fishing is getting better and the larger fish are feeding very heavily. May have to dress a bit warmer these days, but the end results will definitely be worth the trouble of dealing with the cooler weather.

Fishing Report June 24 2016 Massachusetts

Location: New England
Water Temp: 77-79 degrees
Conditions: Wind at 15-20mph
Presentation: Salmo CD3 Chubby Darter

With the waters warming fairly quickly this year, that has the fish way ahead of where they typically are at this time of year. The crappies are getting past their post spawn phase and are now spreading out over the deeper basins of the lake.

We have found that idling over these areas and watching your electronics, this can pinpoint you to where there may be a school of these fish. During the warmer months as opposed to spring and fall, these pods of fish are much smaller in numbers of fish and a bit more difficult to stay on once located.

Typically, when fish are found, I set a waypoint and then idle back over to that waypoint and once the school is located, throw out a buoy for a reference point. This way while using the trolling motor, I can move around and follow these fish and this allows you more opportunities at catching better numbers and catch them for a longer period.

The approach is to vertical jig with a Salmo CD3 Chubby Darter. While watching your electronics, you have an idea as to the depth that these fish are relating to and that in turn allows you to place your lure at the right depth. By understanding what your electronics are telling you, this makes for a much more productive day on the water.

Giving Salt a Try

My son has been getting into saltwater fishing quite a bit more this summer and wanted the two of us to go and try on our own. We have a jetty that is not that far from us where a river dumps into the ocean and upon arriving, it was low tide with the tide starting to come in.

We were going to run three different setups, two of the setups we ran a three way swivel that has a 3oz weight on one line. The line with the hook we ran two different baits with one being a chunk of mackerel and the other having a piece of clam.

Typically, these are casted out as far as you can get them and keeping the line tight, waiting till the sinker finds the bottom. With the tide flowing, always keeping an eye on your line as you don’t want any slack and a little tension works very well.

The third setup, we were casting a lead head jig that has a plastic swimming trailer on that and varying the depths and retrieve speed to seeing what the fish preferred. We did catch one fish on this rod, but the others preferred the other with the meat baits.

We didn’t catch anything of much size as they were all schoolies in the 22-24 inch range. Legal fish here in Massachusetts is 28 inches, but they gave us a good battle none the less. We had a few other strikes but as fast as they had hit, they were gone.

Deep Water Structure Fish

Waters are warm these days, with being near the 80 degree mark and that has the fish going deep for the cooler waters. Fishing deeper water requires good electronics and an understanding of what they are showing you and how to fish that structure.

One location that I have found, is a very small sunken island that is about the size of a boat, and is void of much vegetation because of the depth. Utilizing the Sonarphone Tpod with the Navionics application this has allowed for creating current contour information on daily trips.

Typically on this hump, the fish would relate to the top and by keeping your boat off to the side and working your bait over the hump, this was how the fish wanted it. This particular trip, they weren’t positioned there and were holding off to the sides and tight to the bottom.

Most of the bottoms content is sand, gravel and some small rocks and you can feel that as you work your bait back. Moving the bait very slowly along the bottom, 6 inches at a time, seemed to be the speed they were looking for as faster wouldn’t get you any bites.

Trying the Dropshot rig, didn’t yield any bites, so switched over to the Northland Fishing Tackle 1/8oz Nature Jig and the Impulse Soft PlasticsNight Crawler worm. Rigged this in a jigworm situation with an exposed hook, for quicker hooksets, and with the jig head in the sand, the night crawler stands up with the tail tantalizing from the movement as it is moved.

Finding these little locations can prove big benefits over the more common areas that many anglers use as well as, these fish may have less pressure on them also. There are days that these won’t hold fish, but when they do, the fish typically are of a much nicer size and very rewarding catching them.

Ice Fishing Report January 22 2017 New Hampshire

With our unbelievably warm winter that we have been having, we still have yet to be able to ice fish locally. So this past weekend found us driving 2 hours north for finding good ice once again, there definitely is a line from where the ice isn’t safe to having no issues for ice thickness.

As with many of the lakes that we fish, we have favorite areas that typically hold the fish we are looking for but at the same time, we want to learn more about every body of water that we fish. So we typically will pick a different area to fish and if it doesn’t produce like we feel it should, then we may move to those more proven areas.

This particular lake has a good population of nicer sized crappies and they hang around the 30 foot water level. The area that we started in was from 18-25 feet deep, many of the holes we were marking fish, but we definitely had a lot more lookers than biters.

The weather was damp, cloudy with an afternoon breeze that started up. At the same time, on the other side of the island, there was car ice racing going on, so at times, trying to communicate to each other was nonexistent.

The fish really made you work for getting them to commit into biting. Using the Kenders tungsten jigs, tipping them with either wax worms or plastics, it would come down to the jigging presentation that would get them to bite.

Key feature on the Vexilar flasher was the zoom mode that allowed you to really fine tune exactly where the bait was in relation to the fish’s position. These fish were fairly reluctant to move and the only way that we could get them to hit the jig, was to drop the bait down below them and then quickly bring it up past them and stop it as the bait went past, this typically got them into committing to the bait.

The fish at this location were 9-10 inch bluegills and are always a lot of fun coming through the ice, but since we weren’t seeing any crappies, we had picked up after a while and moved over to a location that we typically will find them.

After drilling many holes, these fish were scattered as well as about every 5th hole or so you would find a couple. Same approach as the bluegills, of dropping the bait past them and ripping it back up was what it would take to getting them to bite.

We never really found any of the bigger crappie, but still able to catch a handful of decent ones. The fish today really made you work, but, once you figured out what was required to getting them to bite, definitely still was a productive day. Definitely learned a thing or two and that is what fishing is all about.

Porpoising Bluegills

Fishing in the early morning hours, there are times that you see things that you may not during the rest of the day. We were out bass fishing recently in the early morning and the bass were cooperating quite well on the deeper weed lines.

There was little wind, so the water’s surface didn’t have much for ripples and while we were fishing, we started noticing that there were pods of fish swimming at the surface. Having seen this before, figured that these were schools of small bluegills and didn’t give it much thought.

One pod got very close to the boat and we noticed, these were some nice hunchbacks coming out of the water. Luckily we had one rod in the boat rigged and ready and my son cast out in front of one of these to see what the size was. You had to predict where to place the cast, as you couldn’t place it into the pod, as they would go down, but also not too far in front in case they turn.

Took him a couple of casts, but finally got the bait in their track that they were going. Fishing a Eurotackle Mummy Worm, 9 inches below a float, it didn’t take long and one of them took the bait. I thought that he had hooked a bass, as he was fighting a good fish.

When he got the fish near the boat, it was a large colorful bluegill and definitely had some shoulders to it. We haven’t seen this size of these in a long time and was great seeing that they are coming back. We put the bass rods down and spent some time catching these hard fighting fish.

For the size of a bluegill, they are some of the hardest fighting fish in freshwater. It was a fun time catching these fish and as the boat traffic started to get busier, these fish slid back to the lower depths and didn’t see them anymore. Definitely need to keep a couple of panfish rods in the boat at all times as we will be watching out for something like this again.

Fishing Report August 21 2016 Massachusetts

Hot summer, high water temperatures, equals fish are living deep right now. The better quality fish are hanging on deep structure nearing the thermal clime for ...much more comfortable water temperatures for themselves.

The best locations that I am finding right now are deep water humps that have some sparse weed growth as well as other items on the hump. If there are some isolated rocks, this is a key spot on a spot and the fish are always going to be relating to this.

One particular lake has a few of these key structures and you aren’t going to catch quantity of fish from them but the ones that you do catch, are of a much nicer size. Utilizing jig worms from Northland Tackles with the Nature jig and matching these up to the Impulse plastic worm varieties has been working very well.

By fishing this combination open hook, when you feel the pickup, it doesn’t take too much to set the hook into the fish. This is an advantage for you as they are picking the bait up very lightly and most times you don’t realize until you move the bait.

Another key component for locating these areas is utilizing the Sonar Phone and Sonar Charts Live feature on the Navionics application. Sonar Phone allows you to fine tune the “Gain” feature and this will make the fish stand out that much more. The Sonar Chart’s Live, allows you to make live mapping and these then can be used when the ice season comes which is a great feature.

While fishing these deeper waters, there are many times that you will also catch other species than bass. Crappies are not a warm water fish and they are always seeking much more comfortable temperatures and are frequently caught in the same areas as the bass are.

Fishing Report June 12 2016 Massachusetts

Sometimes when we go out fishing, there are times that we really need to go back to the basics and not over think how we fish. It has been a while since fishing... with a jig worm combo, but this past weekend it still can give other baits a run for their money.

Lake conditions right now have the water temperatures at the 69 degree mark and we have been experiencing many days with lots of wind. Even though this makes fishing tough in certain locations, this also brings food to the fish from all of the waves crashing into those shorelines.

The jig combination that was working lately is a 1/8 oz exposed hook jig head with a Northland Tackle Impulse 4” Ring Worm. After fishing the last couple of days, the darker colored worms were more productive and also catching the bigger fish.

Basically running the boat parallel to the shoreline, allows you to cast down the shoreline and this keeps the bait in the strike zone depth much longer than casting towards the shore. Weed areas are prime now and with a little finesse, you can bring that exposed hook through them and the hookup ratio is that much better.

Fishing Report September 18 2016 Massachusetts

Overcast/light rain
Water Temp: 71.5 degrees
Presentation: Northland Fishing Tackle Eye Dropper Spoon w/Bro Slug Bug

There is definitely a hint of fall in the... air but it doesn’t stay around long enough for cooling the lakes water temperatures. We are still looking at water in the low 70’s and these 80 degree days are not helping this cause, as the fish are still in a scattered mode.

Wanted to start cashing in on the fall crappie bite fishing as they tend to group up into bigger schools and are easier to find on the electronics and also are in a feeding frenzy. The fish that I did find were still in very small groups, which meant only catching a fish or two and then move on to finding the next school.

Understanding your electronics is crucial as this helps you find these roaming fish in a quicker manner. When these fish are found, I am vertical jigging a Northland Tackle Eye-Dropper spoon tipped with a Bro Slug Bug and also a small split shot sinker 18 inches above the spoon.

The fish caught today were relating to wood in the water and seemed that if there wasn’t any in the area, the area was void of fish. Most depths were 12 feet deep and these fish were suspended at around the 8 foot level. The fish aren’t grouped yet so that means that fishing can only get better going forward.

Crappies in general are a roaming fish and by keep yourself on the move, this will keep you with the fish and hopefully catching them as well. By vertical jig fishing for them, this starts getting you primed for the upcoming ice season and it never hurts having some practice under your belt.

Fishing Report March 27 2016 Massachusetts

Waters are warming nicely and as each day passes, more fish are slowly making their way into the shallows of many lakes. There are still lakes around that aren’t warming as fast as others and these fish are harder to locate, but by changing over to another fishing lake, this will make it a game on scenario once again.

Key to this time of year is to keep moving until you find that area that the schools of fish are congregating in. You will know right away if you found one of these said areas, as it will be fish on, cast after cast and when this is happening, fishing couldn’t be any more fun.

We have one lake right now that we are experiencing this on and the fish have been in this one particular cove for a couple of weeks already. Other lakes in the area aren’t producing yet and this is why you want to keep the search up for the actively biting fish.

This particular area you can access it from shore or from a boat as well and this gives you options of how to fish for them. Small tungsten jigs with plastic trailers are producing and by having a sensitive bobber set from 18-24 inches, this gives you long casting options for getting to the better sized fish.

Fishing Report March 26 2017 Massachusetts

Mother Nature is really messing around with us lately, with these wide range weather swings. Checked out a pond on Friday evening to verify that the waters were ice free for a fishing outing in a day or so, ice was gone and a plan was set.

Wasn’t able to get to the water until Sunday morning, of course the previous night, got down into the low 20’s and guess what, the pond froze over again with a layer of ¼” ice.

Had to play ice breaker barge with the boat for getting around the pond. This also created very limited places to fish, as you had to drop the line into the water behind the boat in the limited trailing open water.

Ended up being somewhat of an open water ice fishing version as you crept along breaking the ice, watching the Vexilar screen for any signs of suspended crappies. Once these were found, vertical jigged the Clam Outdoors Leech Flutter Spoon without any type of trailer other than the feathers.

These crappie were all over this spoon as no one has been able to fish here since it froze over a few months ago. Started with a few smaller fish but was able to finally locate some of the nicer crappie and was fun putting a bend back into the long pole once again.

Using the Vexilar, this allowed me to adjust my jigging presentation, by seeing how they were reacting to what I was doing. Most of the fish came in fast and hard, so a fairly erratic motion is all that was needed instead of more of a finesse approach.

The winds really started picking up again at this point and would blow the boat up against the ice making it feel like a not so safe situation. Was nice finally getting back onto the open water and looking forward to working these fish over again, hopefully under better circumstances.

Fall is in the Air

Finally, the temperatures are getting to where they are supposed to be for this time of year. That means that the water temperatures are finally going to start dropping and that in turn will get the fish into their fall feeding mood.

Our fish are still relating to the deeper water and haven’t moved towards the shallows yet. Finding structure is key as to where the fish have been positioned and also finding schools of baitfish is a key factor.

Trying something new on this trip and that is fishing with a Spybait. A spybait, is a sinking minnow imitator that has a 3 blade prop on the front and a 2 blade prop on the rear and they are opposite in their rotation creating a unique sound when retrieved.

We were able to find a couple of good schools of jumbo perch relating to the deeper points. Casting this bait out and letting it sink almost to the bottom, with a steady retrieve, the action of the props and the bait were representative of fleeing baitfish.

These baits have some weight to them as well and you are able to cast them a long distance and this allows you to being able to cover good amounts of water. As the temperatures drop, fishing can only get better and by employing a variety of different baits, this will keep you catching as well.

Brushing Crappies

Most anglers are in full swing of the spring crappie bite, as the waters warm and these fish move into the shallows. Depending on how fast your waters have been warming, will dictate as to where they are in their spawning time.

Our waters currently are approaching the upper 50’s and when the sun is out, these fish are positioned right in the shoreline bushes. If rain and cold temperatures move in, these fish will pull back out to the first break line and stay there until the weather gets nicer again.

So with these fluctuating conditions, one day they can be in these bushes and the next their not, especially since they haven’t locked into their beds yet. Can almost predict what the bite is going to be before you even get to the water.

This particular morning, the sun was out and with no winds, fished the southwest side as this was going to be the warmest water temps at this time of the day. Casting a Clam Outdoors White Caviar jig tipped with a Maki Plastic a foot underneath a float.

The key was to getting this presentation right in front of the brush that is in the water. If you are a foot or two away, they won’t touch it, it had to be just about touching the bushes for these fish to bite. Once you found a bush that was holding fish,it would be fish after fish.

Not every bush would have fish on them, so a couple of casts would tell you if they were there or not so you didn’t have to waste too much time while searching for the biting fish. If you did cast a bit deeper, the bluegill are starting to pull in as well and these shallows will be loaded with them very soon as well.

Fishing Report July 24 2016 Massachusetts

This has been one of the hottest and driest summers that I can remember in a long time. At the same time, it is having an effect on our lakes and ponds as the water levels are low, water temperatures are high and many areas of weeds, choking out large areas of the lake.

We have a number of lakes that are only accessible with a small boat and this gives some pressure on the fish but with the harder access, cuts back on some of the pressure that the accessible lakes get. Plan was to fish plastics in the weed beds but we could see that there wasn’t much of a shallow water bite.

Moving out to the edge of the weeds, and if there was a fairly quick drop off into deeper water, this seemed to be where the fish were hanging. Hot summer days are moving the fish to deeper water so that they are more comfortable and most of the ones we caught were relating to the 10-12 foot range.

We were fishing jig worm combinations with the Northland Nature Jig and either the Impulse 4” ring worm or the Impulse 6” night crawler. The Nature Jig is an environmentally friendly jig that is required in a majority of the New England states.

One other item that helped us locate these fish in certain locations was using the Sonar Phone TBox SP200. This utilizes your smartphone while giving you a very colorful crisp and accurate depth sounder with a built in temperature gauge. Also, working with the Navionics Boating app, we are able to live map the lake as we are fishing for instance lake map knowledge and for future use. As you can see in the image, we went across a very small hump and there were a number of fish relating to that.Type your paragraph here.

Fishing Report March 20 2016 Massachusetts
Open waters heating up

Ice has been gone for a while and the water temperatures are starting to rise. With this happening that only means one thing and that is, the pan fish are moving towards the shorelines.

Fished a local pond that we frequent quite a bit in the winter months, looking for the larger female crappie preparing to move shallow. Fishing from the depths up to the shorelines, windblown coves to calmer coves and just not having any luck finding any feeding fish.

Luckily, this general area has a handful of smaller ponds and on the way home stopped at one to fish a bit from the shore to see if any fish were coming around. Didn’t take long and was catching crappie after crappie which saved this day of fishing.

The next morning, headed right back there and setup in the same general area from a boat this time and it was a fish craze going on. Did try around the pond at different locations but the fish were all in a southern windblown cove and were stacked to say the least.

Was fishing a tungsten jig tipped with a variety of plastic bait combinations and fished this under a sensitive float at around a 24 inch depth range. Casting towards the weed edge along the shoreline seemed to be the best location and there were plenty of crappie, bluegill and bigger perch as well.

This time of year, if the lake you are fishing is not producing like you think it should be, don’t hesitate to move to another body of water. Every lake, the fish will be in a different phase for their spring ritual and by being mobile and willing to change things up, this will turn a nonproductive day into a productive one.

Fishing Report April 10 2016 Massachusetts
Multi Species Change Up

This past week has been a cold one for spring and that has dropped the water temperatures and changing where the fish are positioned. Before this past week, the fish were migrating to the shallows, but they have backed off a bit waiting for the waters to warm some again.

So utilizing my electronics, I scoured the deeper water and found small schools of crappie in 14 FOW and were suspended 8 feet down. Using the Clam Blade Spoon, this allowed getting the bait back to the strike zone quickly and these fish were slamming the bait.

Those schools of fish were constantly on the move and hard to keep up with so I switched up to look for some spring time bass. Running the shorelines casting the Salmo Lures Bullhead crankbait, this allowed me to cover vast amounts of water as well as giving these fish something different to look at with the Bullhead’s wobbling action.

Waters are cool right now so it may take more work at finding where the fish are comfortable at but with some hard work, fish can be caught. The bigger females are still in deeper water so if the shallows aren’t producing, move out and locate that transitional area for these active fish. Don’t limit yourself to one species as that one fish may not be in the biting mood but another species is.

Fishing Report July 10 2016 Massachusetts

Summer time fishing is in full swing right now and that means searching for fish in the deeper and cooler waters. There are still going to be fish up shallow, b...ut the bigger fish tend to drop off to the depths as the water temperatures are much more comfortable out there.

There are a variety of ways at fishing these depths, but one that is a lot of fun is the Drop-Shot rig. The Drop-Shot is a rig that consists of tying a Drop-Shot hook at a given distance up the line, typically we tie them at 12-18 inches from the end of the line. The other main component is the Kenders Drop-Shot weight which clips onto the tag end of the line.

Depending on the height of the weeds that you may be fishing, this will govern as to how high up the line to tie the hook on. You can use a variety of different plastics as your bait and with these hooks, they allow the plastic bait to hang horizontally on the line.

You can fish this a couple of different ways, one that gets used a lot is vertical jigging off of the side of the boat. This allows you to have constant contact with your bait and at the same time you can watch this on your electronics to see when a fish is approaching.

The other presentation is to cast it out and allow it to drop to the bottom. The key for this is to always keep the line tight so that you are able to feel the weight. This way, you are able to detect the bite when it is happening as well as by jiggling your rod tip, this makes the plastic bait dance a bit and enticing the fish.

The Drop-Shot allows you to fish a variety of depths, different kinds of vegetation and structures. Plus, the fish probably haven’t seen this presentation that often as there aren’t that many people fishing this on a regular basis.

Fishing Report March 13 2016 Massachusetts
Open water is here

Our ice went very quickly and that makes you scramble for getting the boat and open water gear ready. Local ponds, the water temperatures are already at 48 degrees.

With these temperatures, the fish are starting to look at the shallower warming waters. We started in a North West shallow bay and the male crappies were already hanging around.

This bay also has a soft bottom, which with any sun during the day, will warm the waters that much quicker. Fishing tungsten jigs tipped with plastic baits fished 3 feet under a float was a very productive way for catching these fish.

There were a few bluegill mixed in as well but a majority of the fish were crappie. Since the fish are already moving in, this means that fishing can only get better as each day passes.

Fishing Report July 31 2016 Massachusetts

Species: Smallmouth and Largemouth
Depth: 8 – 14 FOW
Water Temperatures: 80 degrees
Technique: Jigs/plastics
Weather: Sunny skies, light winds, air temperatures 80 degrees

Don’t overlook those smaller unpressured bodies of water that you may drive by on a regular basis, especially the ones that may require a little work getting a small boat into for a day of fishing.

We have one of these lakes that we like to fish and getting a Jon boat to the water, takes some time and effort as well. A good type of wagon helps tremendously as we are able to put one end of the boat on that and that is taking a majority of the weight. Plus this allows you to easily getting the trolling motor, battery and gear to the water’s edge.

These types of lakes don’t have much for current and accurate contour details and by utilizing the Sonar Phone’s Tbox with SonarChart Live and the Navionics app, we are building a live contour map and also have a very colorful graph.

We were targeting some deep shorelines and found a couple locations that had a number of average sized smallmouth. But this seemed to the consistent theme for the shorelines that were typical to this. Being it is mid-summer, time to search for mid-lake humps or just something different in deep water.

By watching the live mapping, we came across the ideal location. A mid lake hump that came out of 28 FOW to top off at 8 feet deep. The top had some grass and cabbage and it didn’t take long and we were into fish. Fishing the Northland Nature jig with the exposed hook coupled with some Impulse plastic worms was a good combination for the smallmouth and largemouth.

With a light breeze, this allowed us a nice drift over the top and off the sides and at times we were able to hook into doubles. These fish were mixed together at different depth locations and every time you would set the hook, you didn’t know which one you were going to be reeling in.

With the water temperatures high right now, start exploring some of those deeper locations and find that unknown spot that will put some of these larger fish into the boat.

Spring Weather Playing Games

What a crazy spring we have been having this year and that has been messing with the fish as well and making the fishing very interesting. Water temps rise, then heavy rains and cold temps come through and drop those temps back down again.

With the rise and fall of weather, soft plastics fished in the emerging vegetation has been producing a variety of fish. Been fishing an open Nature Jig with the Northland Impulse Core Swimbait and by working this slowly through the vegetation, this has been getting to where the fish have been hiding.

Short hops with the jig, will send the Core Swimbait tail into action as with this little movement, the paddle moves side to side very easily. There are three different sizes of these Swimbaits, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 inches in length and the 3.5 has been producing very well on the Bluegill, Crappie, Pickerel and Bass.

Color selection at times has been critical as well with the darker colors working better for the darker colored waters. Speed, definitely is a factor with these weather fluctuations, as moving this bait 6 inches at a time, seems to be more what they are looking for instead of a quicker retrieve.

As mentioned earlier, casting into the heavier vegetation has been critical, as the outer edges haven’t been producing very well yet. If you can find open pockets in this vegetation, then letting the bait sit there with a little movement, could also be a beneficial way to getting more bites.

Key to keeping on the fish is knowing when to change your tactics, from jig size, to Swimbait length as well as changing the color selections as well. Having 2-3 rods rigged with these varieties, allows you quick and easy access for showing the fish something different very quickly. 

Deer Stand Safety

All across the country, many areas are either into or getting ready for the annual fall deer hunting season. Lots of excitement and anticipation comes with every new season and there are always things that get over looked.

The deer stands that we use, if left in the woods year after year, need to be looked at before every season as well as every time that you use that location. Many parts of the deer stand can either malfunction or just plain fall apart throughout the days left in the weather.

There are many varieties of stands and ways of getting into the stand, so we are going to look at the hang on stand with the hang on climbing sticks. Both of these are light weight and easy to carry but are typically installed before the season comes around as it takes a bit of time to set them up.

First thing to look at on the climbing sticks are the section locking pins. Making sure that each pin is all the way through the square tubing and that the locking mechanism is flipped over the pin so that the pin can’t back out of the hole. For the most part, this can be done visually from the ground and giving yourself a bit of reassurance, that you can climb the sticks safely.

Also, the holding straps that are tied around the tree need to be looked at for any signs of rotting or any of the hardware is failing at these tie points is critical as well. These holding straps keep the climbing sticks tight to the tree so that it is fixed without any movement as you progress upwards.

As you are climbing, glance at the welds on the sticks and if they are coming apart, usually a heavy coat of rust is a clue, extreme caution needs to be used if you don’t take that section out, as any items that are cracked, need to be taken out and replaced. One thing that you really don’t want to do is fall out of the stand as there are so many things that are going to happen and no one wants to experience that.

Now that we have climbed up to the stand, some inspections around the stand are in order before placing your foot onto it. The holding straps need a good amount of inspection, looking for weakness and rotting around the tree. After these stands are left in the woods for any length of time through a variety of weather conditions, they don’t last forever and the straps start to fall apart.

Making sure that the strap winch is tight and locked into position, so that the strap doesn’t slip through when there is weight applied to the stand. Always look at any and all hardware for wear and tear as the elements really are not kind to these items.

Now that the holding parts have been looked at and you feel they are good, look at the wire mesh of the floor that it is still secured to the framework of the stand. Clean off any debris that may have accumulated and ease yourself onto the stand.

Always having a strap that is tied around the tree above you and to your body harness so that if any of these items were to fail while you are in them, the strap will save broken bones and possibly your life if you were to fall to the ground. This strap is definitely your most valuable item compared to anything else that you have with yourself.

Now is the time to sit back and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer you, with the squirrels that make every sound resemble that of a deer coming towards you. Hunting from a tree stand definitely gives the hunter an advantage, but with that, common sense and some precautions, will make your hunt a safe and enjoyable one.

Fishing Report May 23 2016 Massachusetts

A local pond had been hot for this spring’s crappie bite, but my last trip there you can definitely tell that this bite is starting to slow down. Checked the prime areas from the previous trip and only a couple of locations there were any bites.

Prime places that the crappie were still holding shallow involved having wood in the water that a few of these fish were still relating to. The bites are getting further between as a majority of the crappie have already started their ...movements back out towards deeper waters.

As these fish start pulling away, their replacements are moving in as the sunfish and bluegill are getting ready for their spawn of the spring. So the opportunities of catching shallow water fish will still be around for a while but change in species.

We were fortunate at having an early spring this year and that has allowed many anglers at capitalizing on very good fishing opportunities.

Isolated Structure Fishing

Summer time water temperatures have the fish looking for cooler and more comfortable water zones and that means fishing deeper water. There are many deep water locations that hold fish and then there are areas that hold better quality and more variety.

Finding these locations can be very rewarding and typically do take a good amount of work, but once they are found, can be goldmines on a regular basis. Good electronics these days, allow you to create mapping on demand, and this work up front, can show you these locations that may not be on your current charts.

Creating a grid pattern of these locations, allows your electronics to create a very precise picture of what is down there. Watching the down scan imaging, will also show you what the content is on this structure so you know if there are rocks, weeds or any other items there.

We have an area that is precisely this, the top is 9 feet deep and has no weeds, but there are isolated rocks scattered around and the content is sand and gravel. We can usually get a few very nice bites off of this, but every time that you fish it, you have to figure out where they are relating to.

Sometimes they relate to the top, but recently they have slid off to the southerly side in the 15 foot range. There haven’t been any weeds, so they are relating to those rocks that are scattered around and you can catch a variety of fish that will use these common areas.

Fishing Report October 8 2016 New Hampshire

The word is out that the crappie are putting on their feed bags and the schools are definitely forming. As these fish start preparing for winter, finding the schools with better sized fish is key and always makes for a great day of fishing.

First task on any body of water is finding the schools and searching with your electronics helps pinpoint their locations. Idling around, watch your electronics and when you go over a school of fish, a cloud will appear on the screen and that means time to fish.

These fish are going to be feeding crazily, as their mode now is fattening up and with a school, there is a ton of competition between the fish. Jigging spoons work very well for this approach as they give off a lot of flash and also their weight allows you to get back into them quickly.

The Clam Outdoors Rattlin Blade Spoon and also the Clam Guppy Spoon are two such baits and when you tip them with micro plastics, this is a winning combination. Vertical jigging is all that you need to do and a lift and drop action puts plenty of action into these baits and that attracts the fish.

Within catching a few fish, you will have a good idea of the size in that school, so if they aren’t really what you are looking for, move off and search for another. Marking these locations on your GPS allows you to come back to them if your search isn’t working.

Most of our fish lately are now in the basins of the lake and that lets you narrow into them a bit quicker. After hitting a few of these schools, you have a good idea of where the better fish are and working them will be very productive.

Taking care of these fish is critical as throughout all of the excitement we kind of forget about that especially if you are pulling them from deeper water. So for getting onto these fish quickly, watch your electronics, flashy spoons vertically jigged and the wanting to catch a lot of fish. Enjoy this time of year and also enjoy catching numbers of fish

Ice Safety comes first

Many areas across the ice belt have been experiencing very abnormal warming lately and that has jeopardized the conditions of the ice. With that being said, many are still ice fishing and the need of “ice safety” needs to be reminded about again.

By taking precautions and having the right safety equipment with you, is key to having an enjoyable day on the ice. Common sense and being aware of your surroundings, is always vital any time that you step foot onto the ice.

For the equipment that you should always have with you:

Spud bar: this allows you to quickly test the ice in front of yourself as each step is taken

Life Preserver: in the case of going through the ice, this will keep your head above the water

Cleats: good pair of cleats allows you to having traction on the ice

Ice Picks: wearing these around your neck gives you something to pull yourself back onto the top of the ice if having gone through

Safety Rope: this is a life line that someone can throw to you and help you get out of the hole

Floatation Suit: Ice Armor by Clam Outdoors, the Lift Suit, offers added buoyancy for giving you time for getting out of the ice

Leave your days plans with someone so they know roughly when you should be returning back from your ice fishing trip

Enjoy the day on the ice with a friend as they may be your life line for getting back out of a bad situation

Stay away from areas that have current, especially in these warmer conditions

Always have your cell phone fully charged, as it may be your only way of asking for help

There are always many other things and items that come to mind and the main idea is to making and reminding everyone to being safe out on the ice. There are still many weeks left to this ice season and if we have to take a couple of them off, better being safe than what otherwise could happen.

Spring Brings Multi Species

Spring is a fun time to be on the water fishing, as many varieties of fish can be caught while fishing the same typical areas. Waters are warming and fish are moving into their spawning ritual, making for a great time to be out there catching them.

Certain bodies of water harbor different species at some different times and after keeping track of these things over the last few years, this allows you to predict what they are doing and where they may be a little bit easier. Busy day planned with 3 bodies of water to fish and fishing for three different fish.

Morning trip; weather has been cool, wet and windy to say the least, water temps are behind a bit compared to normal. Water clarity is very dark and water depths shallow allowing for higher temps compared more than others.

Bass is on the agenda and working the shallow shoreline structure with jigworm combinations, proves to finding these fish. Definitely had to present the bait right up against the shoreline as they were relating to any of the very shallow weeds. Northland Impulse Nightcrawler and Core Swimbaits worked their magic.

Afternoon trip; my son had the opportunity of going out with a buddy of his and do some saltwater fishing for stripers. The area that they fish is a “sound” behind the mainland that is an area that many streams and rivers dump into before moving through the channel out into the ocean.

They fished the high tide, anchored their boat and casted weighted clams for bait. Didn’t take them long and they had a nice striper in the boat and have to admit that, I may have to have them take me out to catch some of these one of these days. They weren’t out there very long but did also catch a number of crabs that were chewing on their clams.

Evening trip; this evening found us on another lake fishing from shore where the bluegill are preparing for the spawn. You couldn’t see them from shore, but placing the right casts out, there were pods of fish and these were nicer sized and hard fighting.

Tungsten jigs tipped with plastics fished 18 inches underneath a float fished on ultralights makes these fish feel like giants. Nothing like the fight of a large bluegill, they hold their own against many of the other species that we fish for, for a fun time on the water.

Spring definitely is a fun time for being on the water as there are such a variety of fish that can be caught. Once they finish their spring ritual, many of them start moving more offshore and may be harder to find, but good electronics and knowledge of your lakes structure, will keep you on them throughout the summer months.

Blog Fishing and Hunting Reports

First Ice December 26 2016

First ice is always a special time and all of the excitement has finally come to a realization that we are going to be wetting a line on the hard water once again. Ice season is a very special time and I get to spend many days out there with my fishing partner, my son.

We typically have to drive north for first ice and have a few lakes that we will target at first and last ice and there is a good population of crappie that swim there.

Upon arriving at the lake, we were fortunate to be given a pull out to our location by a friendly angler and that is typical of the folks that you are going to find out on the ice.

We start in the deeper holes of the lake and were fishing in areas that were around 32 feet deep. My son was the first at dropping a line and before I could even drill my first hole he had a 13.5 inch crappie ice side.

We started seeing a trend as to where the fish were relating and thinking they would be suspending higher in the water column, but these were only a couple feet off the bottom. A number of them were on the bottom and would come up a couple of feet to inspect our presentation.

Baits that were working were the Clam Outdoors Caviar jig and the Guppy Flutter Spoon tipped with a Maki Plastics Maki. With the Guppy Flutter Spoon, you had to add a couple of small split shot to the line for getting the bait down to those depths a bit faster.

One thing about fishing at these depths is that when you are hooked up, you have to be easier on the fish bringing them up for letting their bodies adjust to the varying water depths. Coming up to fast can be detrimental to their health and possible killing quality fish that otherwise could be released.

When we started the day, the sun was shining and that had the fish very active and biting, as a front moved in, the clouds thickened and the fish’s mood definitely changed to making you work a lot harder for more searching had to be done.

For the first ice of the season, we were very happy with the results and had a great day on the ice. Now that the season is underway, one can never get enough time on the ice and every trip out is a new adventure.

Fall Crappies are Starting to Setup, almost GO Time

Fall time fishing is a magic time that we anglers look forward to after a seemingly endless hot summer. Waters are cooling, the fish are starting to heavily feed for the upcoming winter and this in turn puts these fish into a bit more of predictable locations.

Once these waters get to those lower temps, 50-60 degrees and lower, the crappies start schooling together and roaming the basins of the lake for forage. Once you start fishing for these fish, you understand where they come together and stage for the coming winter season.

You shouldn’t be blind casting for these fish, as utilizing your electronics, you can simply and easily find their prime areas. While idling around, watch your electronics closely and clouds of these fish will start to appear onto the screen, set a waypoint and fish the area.

Right now our waters are still at the 70 degree mark and that still has them scattered all around and these schools are of a much smaller size. When they are in these smaller schools, staying on top of them is more of a challenge, as you can’t keep up with them depending on their direction at times.

Plenty of small fish are being found right now and it took a while to finally find some of the better fish around the 12 inch range. These fish were relating to 12 feet of water and there were a decent number of them.

With these warmer temperatures, their feeding is still off a bit, as they were only nipping at the tails of the Northland Fishing Tackle Slurpies Small-Fry. If you were able to get them to commit to the bait, very slow and tantalizing jigging, then you could hook up on them but the hook was still only on the outer lip.

The fishing will only be getting better as the weeks go by and the water temperatures start to fall. You will probably be one of the only few out there as well and many are missing out on some of the best fishing of the year. Start idling the basins of the lake and glue your eyes to your electronics and enjoy some of this awesome fall time fishing.

K-Drill Ice Auger System to Clam Outdoors Conversion Drill Plate

This past weekend, I was talking with a number of anglers on the ice about the combination of the K-Drill Auger and Clam Outdoors Conversion Drill Plate. The first thing that was noticed is the lightness of this combination, which doesn’t wear your arms out over the day.

Another question that was ask: “Can you mount the K-Drill directly to the Drill Plate?” and the short answer is no.

Ice Fishing Today and A.W.C. Distributing, where you can buy the K-Drill Auger and accessories, have an Adapter Kit specifically for putting the K-Drill Auger onto the Clam Drill Plate. It is easy to install and also gives you about 4 inches of extension to the height of the drill.

One thing that I did find when installing the Adapter Kit was, for ease of installation, was to taking a piece of sandpaper and smoothing out the two shafts as well as the interior of the Adapter itself. This makes the slip joints very easy to install and also for ease of taking back apart.

They also offer all of the components of the K-Drill on the website, so if there was an accidental mishap with the blades or the Auger’s flighting, you can easily change those out and be right back to ripping some more ice.

BackYard Gardening

With summer in full swing, many have taken to their backyard gardens and also fruit trees. Gardening can be a way of getting some relaxation, feeling of accomplishment, watching things grow and mature and also a way of feeding your family and friends.

Fruits trees are bearing fruit right now and in the next month or so those will be getting ready to being able to pick. We have peach trees in our yard and our garden has cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peppers and lettuce.

It is always nice having fresh vegetables and fruits, especially when you have grown them yourself.

Kids Chasing Bass December 28 2016

When my son and I fish, he has a way that he likes to fish and I have a way that I like to fish. So, having two different varieties of techniques, he likes fishing with traps and I like jigging, there are a couple of lakes that we fish that don’t adhere as easily to both methods.

We typically will alternate our choices of lakes and since our last outing was for jigging crappies, his choice was to run traps for bass. This particular lake has a good population of largemouth and smallmouth bass and also jumbo perch, but the sunfish are small and there isn’t any crappies in the lake.

The location that we typically setup on is a small rock point that comes perpendicular off the main point. We happened to stumble onto this a few years ago and it hasn’t disappointed us yet, knock on wood, lol.

He always sets a couple right on top of this point in about 5 feet of water and typical times out, this is where the biggest fish come from. Others are scattered around the deeper edge and some areas will contain mainly pickerel and another is jumbo perch.

We are allowed to set out a number of traps and he gauges his day on if there are flags flying before all of them have been set. He typically sets the depth to around two feet off the bottom and uses medium sized shiner minnows.

This trip started out slow with a few false flags to get things started but as the afternoon went on, the bite picked up with some quality fish. There were times when he was running from one side of the set to the other and that makes for a fun day.

For the day, he caught a handful of 2-3 pound largemouth, number of large perch and as evening was coming, the pickerel bite picked up. He had a fun day chasing and that is all that matters, kids and flags go together for fun fishing on the ice and definitely is something that all kids should try and enjoy.

Fishing Report February 22 2017 MN

With the abnormal winter continuing on, ice definitely has been taking a beating and the fish will be migrating to their spring locations. Fish have still been holding to their deep water patterns and once the school is found, numbers can be caught. Fishing 35 FOW, the crappie were holding at the 25-30 foot range. With these depths, utilizing tungsten jigs is key for getting back to the deep water fish quickly before they move on. Plastics used to entice the bite with very tuned cadence jigging, these combinations can get a school fired up. Electronics play a key function, as this allows you to fishing only productive holes and eliminating dead water more quickly. Conditions are fading quickly and safety is always key, but there is still time for fishing on the ice.

Fishing Report June 2 2016 Massachusetts

For the last few weeks, the crappie bite has been fantastic here in the Northeast, but they are finished with their spawn and moved onto their summer deeper haunts. Now the gills and sunfish have moved in and they are in the middle of their spawn.

Fishing right now is fantastic for these hard fighting pan fish and searching out areas that have sand and gravel will definitely put you onto them. One thing to remember for this time of year is that you can keep a few for a meal, ...but take a few of the smaller males and always let the big females go so that they can carry on their genetics for future generations.

Currently the fish are in water from 1 foot to 5 feet deep in clearer waters and protecting their beds. Water temps have been hovering around the low 70’s but with cooler nights lately, this has cooled these temps a bit. Using a jig with a plastic imitation bait under a float allows you to cast long distances and not spook the fish from these shallow waters by getting to close.

Take advantage of this time especially if your kid’s fish, as this will definitely get them excited at catching fish. Practice catch and release.

Fishing Report July 16 2016 New Hampshire

For all of the days that we spend on the water, most of them are always involving fishing. But when the temperatures rise to 90 degrees or more, time to putting the fishing rods down and pulling out the tube so that everyone can enjoy some time in the water.

What a better way of enjoying the hot afternoon being pulled around on the tube. As my son gets older, it is fun watching him doing more things like this. So after we were done with the tubing, we had an hour left on the ...water and went and did some power fishing.

Since time was very limited, I wanted to be able to cover as much water as possible and the bait that allows you at doing that is a crankbait. Working the weedlines, we were fishing with the Salmo Hornet and didn’t take long for the bass to start biting.

There were a handful of these caught and definitely were seeing that the fish were hanging out past the deeper weed edge. Tried a few different locations but nothing was in the shallower waters and most fish were in the 10 foot depths. There was one surprise fish that hit the Hornet size 5 and that was a thick sunfish. This particular lake, we generally don’t see many bigger sunfish in the warmer months and only catch them during the ice season.

Fishing Report April 2 2016 Massachusetts

Spring this year definitely has been a crazy one, just like this past winter was weather wise. Are you wondering if the fish are having mind games played on them as much as we anglers are?

Lately, the weather has been cool, cloudy and very breezy and this is not allowing the water temperatures to warm very fast. This particular lake, the temperature was at the 51 degree mark, which is very warm at this time of year, but hasn’t allowed the fish to move very shallow yet.

Game plan for the day was to watch the electronics in deeper water and locate schools of fish in hopes of locating the bigger females preparing to move shallow. Many of the locations that these fish were found were in the main basin of the lake in 14 feet of water.

There were many smaller males mixed in with the females but if you could get through those, then you were able to catch the larger fish. These schools are definitely smaller than what they are in the fall, but if you can find that area that there are numbers of these smaller schools, you can keep moving around and catch them fairly regularly.

Vertical jigging is the key to these deeper fish and by matching the rod, St. Croix Panfish Series, and the lure, Salmo Chubby Darter Size 3, this allows you to cover good amounts of water. The line is 4 pound test and this allows the lure to drop at a good rate but also gives you enough strength for getting the bigger fish from the deeper water.

If your fish haven’t moved into the first shallows of spring, back off to deeper water in front of these locations and put your electronics to use. The fish now are still feeding as they prepare for the upcoming spawn, so once you are able to locate these schools of fish, your day on the water will be a productive one.

Understanding New Waters

One thing that I like to do is fish new waters or totally different types of waters, as there is always something new to learn. New lakes are always fun to fish and try to figure out, but rivers, that is something that I rarely fish, may be the intimidating factor, but something that I really need to focus on.

Our local river system is setup somewhat as pool levels, but the dams are not navigable so they fish as separate types of lakes that may or may not have current. So the stretch below the dam typically is a shallow run and as you get to the downstream dam, the depths will dramatically change.

I have picked one of these sections, that has easy access to and I am going to start learning this stretch by breaking it down into smaller sections. Figuring that this approach won’t have me running up and down the river and concentrating more on learn what each section has to offer.

The first section that I had previously fished was right above the dam so it is one of the deeper sections. Many rivers may have some backwater off shoots that offer more of a lake environment for fishing, but this section doesn’t have any of that.

A majority of these shorelines in this section have a fairly deep contour drop with very isolated shallow flats that come out a bit into the river. With the rains that we have been having this spring, the water has been flowing at a decent rate. Water clarity is somewhat clean with up to 3 feet of visibility and the waters are still only in the 60 degree range.

When fishing these newer waters, having current contour maps become a huge benefit and when you can create your own while fishing, while using the SonarPhone and Navionics app, this allows you to the lastest information that is available for finding key fish holding locations.

When I approach a new system like this, typically, I will fish a variety on moving baits, as this will allow me to cover a lot of water. By covering water and constantly watching the electronics, this allows me to seeing what the depths and shelves are doing and learning areas a bit more quickly.

Baits of choice for accomplishing this were topwater popper, minnow stickbait, shallow and deep running crankbaits. What worked more consistently were the shallow and deep crankbaits for targeting the small and largemouth bass.

Like most rivers, there are plenty of trees lying in the water and depending on the waters depth, this would dictate which crank to use. So where the shorelines had a steep drop, the Salmo deep running crank worked very well and once you came upon an area that was more of a shallower shelf, 4-7 feet deep, the shallow Salmo running crank worked well.

So by casting around these trees and also the shallower shelves, were forming a distinct weedline that offered some lush green vegetation. Dragging the baits along the bottom was key and knocking into the rocks as well worked for triggering the strikes. There were a number of fish caught, but most of them were on the smaller side.

Between the areas that were deep and shallow, the shallower shelves held more of the fish. Once these areas were found, had also worked them with some soft plastics, but the crankbaits were what these fish were looking more for.

Learning new waters can be exhilarating, but at the same time, very frustrating to anglers. The main point is that if you learn one thing while you are out there, that is the main goal of the day and something was accomplished. I am looking forward to the next visit to this river and will be picking another section to start fishing and seeing what it has to offer.

Jig-Worming the Weed Edges

The dog days of summer are upon us and that means fishing deep water weed lines is the order of the day. Finding irregularities along these weed lines are key locations that these deep water fish relate to and there are times, certain small areas will have numbers of large fish.

Setting up on the shallower sides of these weed lines has been key lately. The larger fish seem to be cruising the outer edges or just tucked inside of the weeds in their ambush locations. Casting the jig-worm out to the deeper water and slowly working it back to the weed line and if you don’t get bit, keep working it into the weeds as they may be further in.

Using the Northland Nature Jig 1/8oz and an Impulse Nightcrawler worm with the open hook allowed for easier hooksets. The better fish were definitely using the deep water, 12-15 feet, as if you fished the shallower side in 8 feet of water, the size went dramatically down.

The key location was an indent in the contours that when coming out of deep water, it allowed the fish to come shallow to feed and then drop back off to the deeper water as a retreat. Seemed to be like a funnel or highway that they were using and there was also some small rock and sand there as well.

Conditions were cloudy skies and a light breeze and this seemed to keeping the fish active and was a much more of a productive day. Was trying the Carolina rig for quite a while, but the jig-worm was what they wanted. By working these deeper weed lines, you are fishing for fish that don’t see a lot of pressure and that puts the bite more into your favor.

Fishing Report May 17 2016 Massachusetts

Spring is a time of rejuvenation and that applies to the fish world as well as they get ready and into their spawn season of the year. As the waters warm these fish head for shallow water and warm their bodies as well as do their yearly ritual.

This particular day finds us walking the shorelines of a local pond in search of some of these early season crappie. Checking a few areas and not having any luck forces us into searching a bit harder for those spots that the fish are using.

Didn’t take long and that sweet spot was found. These best areas having wood in the water as well as overhanging tree limbs were the key for locating these shallow water crappie. These isolated areas are a bit harder to get to but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Fishing with a variety of tungsten jigs and tipped with a few different plastic baits, the fish were inhaling the bait one after another. This time of year is a lot of fun once you find the fish but you also have to keep in mind that only keeping enough for a meal is alright and the rest are released to fight another day.