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magicstix

Where do these Panfish hide in winter?

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Need some suggestions on figuring out this lake. We've been going up here for 10 years ice fishing and have not ever caught a panny out of this lake. Now from mid June - Labor day you can find panfish all day long in 6-10' fow, come 3rd week Sept there gone. Where do they go? It's like they packed up and went south for the winter.

The lake is about 1000 acres, oblong shape, lots of varying structure, humps, sandbars, rocks, shoreline is 5-10' then drops out to about 20' average, some 20-30' areas and then out to some 30-35' flats, deepest is 45-50'. A lot of locals don't even fish it in winter. I've tried the 20 and 30' areas right off of where they are in summer and notta thing. How far do these fish travel in winter? Do they go to other end of lake? Doesn't seem likely they'd expend that much energy.  What do you folks think or where would you look? 

We have a some kids going up in a few weeks and would like to see them catch some fish.  Thanks

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I'm not a bluegill expert by any means, but my go-to spots to fill a bucket are all between 6 and 12 FOW where I find them hanging out in what's left of the weeds or on the edge of it.

 

 

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Basin, but locate variances in your boat and mark them so theyre easy to find in the winter.  Should be looking for a mid to deep 20's with little "pockets" or "holes" that only got a couple feet deeper.  Say you have a basin thats 25' but within that basin you can find some 27-28' dimples.  If you cant find anything with the style of fishing and spots you're use to, try something very different.  Might be tough with kids to locate them though and better off just setting up near some reeds in 10-15ft.

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Panfish generally head two places come winter.  Weeds/shallow flats or to the basin areas.  They are easier to see on electronics in the basin areas.  But drilling lots of holes until you find them is generally the only way your find them for sure.

Edited by Borch

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A few years ago I had some on my cam in 30' feet of water when i was fishing for Walleye's. I couldn't believe it but they were surrounding the camera. Two weeks ago I was in 20' trying for crappies and only got Gills. Not bad size either.

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After seeing increasingly terrible walleye fishing over the last couple weeks, I decided last weekend I was going to fish a new spot (that I'd never fished before) every single day.  First night was a complete bust.  

 

With no specific species targeted, I set up the second afternoon in a 30' hole that is maybe 150 yards across, surrounded by shallow water and weeds.  After getting the holes drilled in the house I dropped my Marcum and saw that there was a whole lot of something down there, 10' off the bottom.  Nothing was biting, so after 15-20 mins I dropped the camera, and saw that it was LOADED with sunnies and crappies.  Fish stacked up as far as you could see.  They were extremely finicky, but over the next two days I did manage to snag some nice crappies, and a couple nice sunnies.  Jigging would bring them in, but if you moved after they showed up on the Marcum, they were gone.  And they would barely move the spring bobber.  

IMG_5258.thumb.JPG.e02e1f4030e3b7affd381c98eec07568.JPG

 

And one bonus 28" walleye that hit like a lake trout.

 

IMG_5255.thumb.JPG.fe93b4970e34b166b67f5431aa34ff4b.JPG  

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Thanks for the suggestions. On Friday night after being defeated again and went in,  I spent a long time looking at GPS and thinking where have I've not fished over the years. So that was the plan on Sat. to fish the unusual places. I fished 29-30' and I did try fishing the small dimples in this area too.

After reading some of your replies I realize I haven't fished the area where the reeds are but it's only about 21' deep there and I've never even seen a person over there. Maybe I need to get out to the 40' water, again that seems like it's a ways away from the summer haunts though.

Keep the ideas coming. I'm open to more thoughts. Thanks

 

LRG love the pics of your shack, the fish and the can.

Edited by magicstix

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2 hours ago, magicstix said:

 

After reading some of your replies I realize I haven't fished the area where the reeds are but it's only about 21' deep there and I've never even seen a person over there.

When you say pannys I think gills, do you mean gills or crappies or both?  

 

Only 21 feet?   Seems like you've tried a lot of deepish water... Time to go shallow.  I wouldn't be discouraged by the lack of a shantytown.

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53 minutes ago, bobbymalone said:

When you say pannys I think gills, do you mean gills or crappies or both?  

 

Only 21 feet?   Seems like you've tried a lot of deepish water... Time to go shallow.  I wouldn't be discouraged by the lack of a shantytown.

Gills. There are crappies in there but seem even more difficult to target.

 

We've thrown a tip up out there in the shallows now and then but no success. I haven't actually tried shallow (< 8') because I'd expect all the dead cabbage weeds to drive the fish out. Maybe they're just sitting on that 10-12' line, not as thick weeds there.

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I'm not sure what hours you are fishing or the specific lake, but it's been my experience that certain lakes and certain times of the year, you won't get crappies until well after dark.  5-6 years ago I fished a metro lake that you didn't even bother showing up until 9pm.  Specific to my post above from last weekend, the crappies would be down there all day long, but didn't bite until it was fully dark.  I had two short windows each night (probably around 8pm and again around 3am) where they were aggressive for only 30 mins or so.    

I'm not sure what hours you are fishing or the specific lake, but it's been my experience that certain lakes and certain times of the year, you won't get crappies until well after dark.  5-6 years ago I fished a metro lake that you didn't even bother showing up until 9pm.  Specific to my post above from last weekend, the crappies would be down there all day long, but didn't bite until it was fully dark.  I had two short windows each night (probably around 8pm and again around 3am) where they were aggressive for only 30 mins or so.    

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11 hours ago, magicstix said:

I haven't actually tried shallow (< 8') because I'd expect all the dead cabbage weeds to drive the fish out. Maybe they're just sitting on that 10-12' line, not as thick weeds there.

It's probably not super thick with weeds anywhere.  not sure why they would be scared of dead weeds.  Probably all sorts of food chain happening in the weed decay. 

 

I've slayed the gills in places that were thick enough with residual weeds that the flasher was basically worthless.

 

I dunno.  But it's probably worth a shot.

 

 

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4 hours ago, bobbymalone said:

It's probably not super thick with weeds anywhere.  not sure why they would be scared of dead weeds.  Probably all sorts of food chain happening in the weed decay. 

 

I've slayed the gills in places that were thick enough with residual weeds that the flasher was basically worthless.

 

I dunno.  But it's probably worth a shot.

 

 

I figured they turned brown and died hence lack of oxygen. Guess it wouldn't hurt to try it.

 

7 hours ago, Lip_Ripper Guy said:

I'm not sure what hours you are fishing or the specific lake, but it's been my experience that certain lakes and certain times of the year, you won't get crappies until well after dark.  5-6 years ago I fished a metro lake that you didn't even bother showing up until 9pm.  Specific to my post above from last weekend, the crappies would be down there all day long, but didn't bite until it was fully dark.  I had two short windows each night (probably around 8pm and again around 3am) where they were aggressive for only 30 mins or so.    

    

We have caught a few on accident and they have been of very nice quality,  just never tried to pattern them.  One evening during open water in the fall we got into a few but haven't been able to replicate that day. Most lakes I fish the crappies are night biters too.

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Drill lots of holes and try to cover as much of the lake as you can!  I would bet that there are a small number of big schools that roam around the lake.  I wouldn't even fish, just drill and put the flasher down until you find them.  Those weeds would be the first place I try.  6-15 fow or wherever the weeds are.  The deepest pockets at each end of the lake are good too, probably find them suspended over the deepest pockets.  

Are there any streams/rivers going in or out of the lake?  Those carry fresh water (oxygen) and those pannies like being close to that.  Seems to keep the veg alive longer too.

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