Well, other than the occasional wheeler or sled zipping across the still frozen bays of Lake Minnetonka, most of the ice fishing activity has died down. I look forward to this time of year, because as much as I love the folks who enjoy being out on the lake – it is a rarity to be the only one in a particular bay, chasing panfish, exploring new spots and anticipating the Spring thaw.
I was able to make it out this weekend to a few different spots on the lake, ice thickness varies from 8inches (Seaton Channel) to 16 inches (Cooks Bay). In comparison, at this time last year Cooks Bay had 24 inches of ice as confirmed by Al & Alma’s in their annual report (see Facebook).
The fishing has been good. The key to Crappie success right now on Tonka is finding the fish suspended over main basins and holes, our best success this weekend came from depths ranging from 14 FOW to 30 FOW, actively jigging tungsten jigs and plastics. The larger fish still are hitting the larger profile baits, but it definitely takes effort to find the larger fish. Take a look at the nice Crappies that my buddy and local angler Chris Brady brought topside yesterday afternoon. He even caught a decent size Walleye, unintentionally.
As for the gills, we found that the smaller fish are still in large schools over deeper water. We were able to find slightly larger gills as we slid into shallower water. These gills were caught in 8-10FOW, next to the weeds with just a VMC Tungsten Tubby and a Pink Trigger X Minnow. The key to keeping smaller fish off the line was avoiding using smaller plastics and spikes. The larger profile kept the bigger gills active for us yesterday afternoon.
If you are in the Metro Area, there is still plenty of ice on Lake Minnetonka. Play it safe, as you would in early ice conditions. It won’t be long till these fish slide up shallow and we start to see bigger fish move in over the next coming months.
Keep your lines tight,