Ice Fishing Late Season Panfish

When it comes to late season pan fish there are three key concepts to keep in mind, Location, location, location. Pan fish during the late winter ice months can be stacked up in large numbers in many northern lakes. It pays to put in the time to look for these fish during the late seasons. It’s not uncommon to pull up to a lake and see many people congregated into one area in pursuit of pan fish. You can expect to find a variety of bluegills, crappies and, sunfish stacked up in weedy flats of bays or in deeper water holes this time of year. Its important to ice fish with a flasher system this time of year to help coax picky fish into biting. A fish locator is critical when ice fishing, I rarely ice fish without one today. My typical set up when targeting late winter pan fish consist of a small arctic ice rod with as extremely soft tip for these light biters. Pan fish tend to bite extremely soft so its important to have a rod that can detect those subtle bites. When it comes to jigs and bait I prefer to use a tiny tungsten jig tipped with a spike. When it comes to bait there are many of different options to choose from. When pan fish are active you can catch them on most smaller sized baits you drop down to them. Other effective baits I have used in the past consist of small plastic imitating small invertebrates and worms. Pan fish this time of year will feed on freshwater plankton and insects. Matching the hatch is always an important element to remember when fishing. Late season pan fishing can offer some of the fastest action ice fishing you can experience. This is a good opportunity to introduce newcomers to the sport due to the easy going nature of catching pan fish through the ice. It is not uncommon to catch fifty to sixty fish a day on a good day when pan fish are cooperating. Not to mention the excellent table fair that pan fish offer, a dozen nice sized gills and crappie can make for a tremendous lunch for friends and family.

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