GILLY GILLY! Those fun and easy panfish of summertime can make for finicky targets beneath the ice subject to the whims of a water, the conditions of the day and sometimes the colors offered up to them. We talk more about on-ice panfish pursuits in today’s Three Things while keeping an eye on the squall rolling through the Peace Garden State.
(Featured photo: A 9-inch bluegill from a Morton County lake that came on a tungsten jig tipped with a pair of maggots. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Wed 1/10 – Falling temps w/ snow and wind. Hi 27, Lo 1, Winds N@23, G33
Tomorrow: Thu 1/11 – Post frontal chill. Hi 1, Lo -5 Winds N@20, G30 to L&V PM.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:25AM Sunset: 5:16PM
Moonrise: 2:25AM Moonset 1:21PM
Overhead: 7:57AM Underfoot: 8:19PM
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent (37% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 8:00 – 9:00AM. Hot bite warning in today’s Edge Hour. As a massive front moves in, sunrise with moon overhead will make for a killer time to be outdoors. Just get in before things start to get bad at mid-morning.
THE TAKE AWAY. One way to get a bluegill to rise under the ice is to pull an offering away from it. Lift it up…Up…UP! Then monitor the reaction on your sonar or camera. Aggressive fish will charge after a raised lure and bait, passive ones will hang back. Sometimes, an aggressive fish from below will ascend quickly, making the negative or neutral fish above take action too in a crazy race for a morsel of food. Practice this on your favorite pannie lake, and see how it works.
COVER UP. While they are known as members of the sunfish family, you’ll find better action seems to follow the clouds when it comes to catching panfish through the ice. The dim light conditions under the ice get even more so when sky cover rolls in, giving panfish a sense of security. Target your favorite bluegill waters on cloudy days – especially those clear lakes – for the best success.
COLOR ME MAD. Like crappies, big bluegills can be pretty picky about color. It may come down to the shade of a maggot or an artificial bait like Gulp! or Maki Plastics that sets a fish off. Experiment with the bluegills on your waters and have a couple options (red, white, pink, chartreuse?) or your favorite confidence color for a certain lake ready for deployment this winter.