Panfish strategies

adrenalin
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Panfish strategies

Unread postby adrenalin » Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:01 am

Most places have good ice now. So what do you do to get on panfish this time of year? I have been doing more ice fishing the last few year with young kids. It is a great outdoor winter activity with young kids. How do you choose lakes? Location on lakes? Time of day? Baits bluegill vs crappies? Just figured we could get some Beast style ice fishing discussion going.

I was out last 2 days, lots of small gills on a shallow lake Saturday. and tried crappies last night on a deep basin lake with only a couple small perch to show for it.


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wolverinebuckman
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:59 am

We were in a dark shanty over a large hole in the ice, and could see down 12'. Bluegills kept swimming up, looking at the bait, then swimming away. Over and over... Dozens of fish. We would jig right in front of their faces, even bouncing the wax worms on their faces. No bites!?!
Came to find out, they were seeing the 6lb test line. We switched up to 2lb and began slaying them! I never knew such a small thing could make such a big difference... and we wouldn't have known if we wouldn't be able to see under the ice that day.
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Dewey
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby Dewey » Wed Jan 12, 2022 6:13 am

wolverinebuckman wrote:We were in a dark shanty over a large hole in the ice, and could see down 12'. Bluegills kept swimming up, looking at the bait, then swimming away. Over and over... Dozens of fish. We would jig right in front of their faces, even bouncing the wax worms on their faces. No bites!?!
Came to find out, they were seeing the 6lb test line. We switched up to 2lb and began slaying them! I never knew such a small thing could make such a big difference... and we wouldn't have known if we wouldn't be able to see under the ice that day.

Sight fishing in a shanty is fun. Easy way to keep the small ones off too and target eater size fish. Great way to experiment with your technique and see what they like and how they react to different baits. It’s great fun till everything goes dead when a big muskie or pike comes cruising thru the hole checking out all the action from pulling fish out. :lol:
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby minnesotahunter » Wed Jan 12, 2022 6:43 am

Fish warm fronts and don't pay as much attention to sunrise/sunset fishing with panfish. Winter feeding patterns with panfish seem to stay consistent on the lakes that I fish. If it is hot from 9-11 and then shuts off....odds are it will stay that way consistently throughout the winter so try to time it accordingly. Instead of the deep basin for crappies try where the contour lines are tight on your map at the bottom of the drop off right before the deep part of the basin. Hope this helps!
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby MichiganMike » Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:01 am

We fish a lot of bayous and around marinas. They tend to hold the food and vegetation this time of year.
Good to bring a variety of baits if your not sure, but Red or White spikes are the ticket in our area for gills and perch.
For crappies, they show up in the evening into an hour after dark and can get really shallow (5-6ft).
Minnows tend to work best for those especailly near marinas and launches. Their usually lit and the light arracts minnows and baitfish even through the ice. Fish will follow
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby Chuck B » Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:10 am

Heading up to Leech Lake (in MN) tonight for a couple days of fishing. Will target perch during the day (using red larvae primarily) and then walleye later in day and evening. Will try to remember to report back.
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby sloughdog » Wed Jan 12, 2022 2:24 pm

We almost have ice where I’m at in PA. We get on green vegetation and start jigging. Once that vegetation starts dying and sucking up all the O2 in the decay process, time to move on. Usually have to rotate through different baits to keep them eating. As mentioned, light line is the way to go. I use 4lb fluro and have dropped down to 2.2lb fluro at times.
My go to lure for panfish, perch and craps is a 1/12 kastmaster all chrome or blue/chrome. Tip it with a waxie, spike, minnow or minnow head and sometimes nothing.
Tungsten jigs are effective too.
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby adrenalin » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:53 pm

Does anyone use plastics? I have tried them but not much luck. Spikes always seem best. But in summer time plastic outfishes minnows 10-1 for crappies. Just curious if anyone found a specific plastic that does well?
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby sloughdog » Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:04 am

Gulp 1.5” or 2” minnow. Can’t remember length but they hold up well for multiple fish. Gulp minnow heads too but not as well as the regular minnow.
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby Colddriver » Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:24 am

Maki plastics are my go to. Sometimes have to put on a spike or waxie to get them to bite. Also make sure you smash the spike or waxie to get the juices flowing out as you jigging.
Might have to bend hook out a little bit to fit plastic and meat.
I have also found when sight fishing to use the smallest jig you have or can find black works for me nothing on it just the jig seems I can pull bigger pan fish that way.
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby sloughdog » Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:32 pm

I was wrong on the Gulp. It’s 1” minnow. Black Shad and the Pearl color work for me.
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Re: Panfish strategies

Unread postby Jonny » Thu Jan 20, 2022 1:38 pm

Weed beds/flats and usually I fish shallower than everybody else. Extremely rare i fish more than 10’ of water for panfish. When I do, I’m chasing suspended fish with the locator. 2lb line, horizontal jigs, and plastic. 98% of the time red and purple are the best. Purple is my favorite for crappies, red for gills. Sometimes blue with sparkles is good, black can be good, orange is really good on the madison chain. Motor oil sometimes is good. But purple and red are my go tos and if I can’t catch them on that, it’s a rough day. Wedges are my favorite plastic but some days are too big. Noodles always work but cost more and don’t last as long.

I’m 25. Never used live bait when targeting panfish. Dad and grandpa haven’t used it in 30+ years. Only time I use spikes is when I’m fishing with small spoons and there are walleyes around. Never did well with waxies. Spikes always seemed better. But all I ever have known for panfish is plastic.

Three types of jigs I carry. 1/64th oz jig heads (thread wedges on), moon glitters, and stick jigs (sometimes called hot dog jigs). Everything should have a horizontal profile in the water. Use a small sinker only when needed. Slower the fall the better. Once bait is at the bottom of the ice I do a very slow drop with subtle jigging. After I dial in their depth I’ll start lower in the water column. Have caught so many within a foot of the ice that I always start up high. Especially crappies and walleyes. They love being up high. 95% of the fish I catch are usually a foot or more off the bottom. Make them come up for the bait and fish the aggressive ones.
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