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A question for Matt J panfish Pro!


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Matt my questions is...

I have a lake by my house that I have not fished. The lake is shaped like a big bowl. I think 32' is the max depth and very slow slope down to this all around the lake. It does have weedlines that come out for a ways. What would be an "ideal" setup for a lake like this? Should I try to find a little hole some place? Any info would help out great!


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Try this question in the panfish section...

I know my name isn't Matt, but I'll throw my $.02 into the hat.

in lakes like you describe, the fish will often relate heavily to the weeds. Do your best to find some spot that there is a point in the weeds or an inside turn. Just something that will hold the fish in an area. Then punch holes on the edge, punch holes out past the edge and punch holes up in the weeds looking for holes in the weeds. Any 1 of those 3 areas will hold the fish depending in the weather and other factors. Or fish can be on all 3 places.

A few holes out in the deep water near the middle may also not be a bad idea, just to try.. its not often but there are times when the big gills will suspend out with crappies.

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I would look for any sudden drop, 6-12 ins. in the 15-20 ft. range if the weeds don;t produce. Also look for soft to hard bottom, this is usually where a slight drop is also. good luck in the hunt.

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Thanks for the input guys. I will have to give it a try this weekend. Tonight I will just try the lakemaster chip and see where it puts me. I'm going to setup quick before the sun hits the horizon. So little time to drill holse and check them out tonight. Or maybe I drill and mark tonight and go sit on them tomorrow night! Thanks again guys. Does any of you guys fish Medicine Lake? I work real close to it and would mind going out and sitting on a bucket one of these nights.

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What's the water clarity like on this particular lake? And how deep do the weeds go? This could play a huge role in how these fish relate to the weeds, as well as where in regards to both depth and area. Sounds to me like your lake is pretty feature-less and you very well could have basin-roaming fish too.

Are there any other pieces of structure in the lake? How about anything that touches the weeds?

We'll get it nailed down smile.gif

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Thanks for the reply Matt. Well I am not real familiar with this lake. From what I do know in the summer the water is pretty clear. I went out last night after dark so I really couldn't tell. From what I can tell the weeds go out to roughly 10' of water. From what I can tell it has a hard bottom. And for other structure none that I know of. Like I said above I fished it last night and found some little crappies suspended in 10' of water and I was in about 18'. Small ones, but always fun to have to bobber go down. The vex was lit up pretty good after all the traffic left the lake about 7:15. I guess I would like to target some sunfish, but any info will be great. If you have the lakemaster chip the lake is George just south of St.Francis.

Thanks again for any info smile.gif

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Lake George huh... yeah, I know that one, fished it several times. Not much structure out there and I would look to the basin for your larger crappies, they like to cruise out there.

As far as sunfish are concerned, go up into the weeds and work those areas. The weed line can produce some fish, but there are a lot of pike in that lake and they really like picking off the pannies that roam the weed lines. Go further into the weeds and fire off a bunch of holes. Don't be afraid to fish as shallow as 5 feet either, those gills will ride up shallow.

Look for gaps in the weeds and if you pull up a few weeds when drilling don't be turned off by it, you'll eventually hit a pocket and you can fish those holes.

You'll see a lot of fish out deeper, usually suspended. Those are oftentimes the smaller fish. Granted there are some nicer fish in those pods, but if you branch away and hit more isolated spots then you can tie into some better fish.

Also look for soft bottom. Not mucky, but sticky. In between the sand and the crud. These areas are more apt to hold organisms that pannies feed on, as well as weeds and other forms of life. Find that sticky bottom with scattered weeds and you'll find the gills.

In lakes like this, you want to target bottom composition structure, meaning transition lines where the bottom composition changes. Those areas will attract fish when the other apparent structure isn't there. And, if you can find a mix of the two then you're really in business. Like a cut in the weeds that leads to sand, or a break that changes bottom content as it hits the weeds. Fish will use those areas in these bowl-structured lakes...

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Hey Matt thanks for the info. So you have fished that lake before?! Hope you did well. I have one question, when using a vex or a marcom what is a good indication that shows either a soft or a hard bottom? I fish Mille lacs as much as I can, and I am pretty much on hard bottom there all the time. Is there a distinct difference between soft and hard bottoms that show up on the graphs? I am going back out tonight with a buddy and I think we will try the basin. This weekend we will try shallow for the sunnies! Thanks again. Are you going to be doing any more class's at Thorne Bros this year?

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As a general rule of thumb for the MarCum units, if the red line for your bottom is wide, then you're looking at a harder bottom. If your red line for your bottom is narrow with a mixture of other colors, then it's a softer bottom. Soft bottom will oftentimes have small red lines with a lot of orange and green. Hard bottoms might not have a lot of orange and green, but rather a large red line.

Keep in mind there is also a huge range of bottom read-outs that can fill in the gaps, but that's the jist of it...

As far as the Thorne Bros seminars go, there will be one more ice fishing seminar which will be held next Wednesday, January 17 at 7pm at the Thorne Bros store in Fridley. Pat Smith and I will be hosting it. Should be a lot of fun!

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