Grand Rapids Fishing Report: March 2015

chas (1) F ast-freezing ice in January and February has provided a playground for anglers, but it also has the fish and predators on the move. Bluegills are still hiding in the weeds; crappie are buried in deep during the day. We have been finding them slightly suspended outside the first drop off when the light is low. The guys and I have also moved to smaller baits to mimic the natural foods that are in the water.

Crappies have started to become more aggressive in the bite as food sources are more spread out. Many of the large predators are moving more in the open water and not hugging the drop offs. Both of these have combined causing the schools to start moving around. Dropping oxygen levels in deep water have brought the schools up to mid-water levels. Ice trolling has become the aggressive tactic of fisherman.

My team members and I choose to do some chasing. Cordless drill on the auger in one hand and Hopper Bucket with your flasher in the other; we drill and catch a couple fish, then try to jump ahead of the school to catch a few more. Put a couple extra poles in the sled. I find it easier to grab another rod than re-tying a number 16 on 2# test. During March, as the days warm and the nights are still below freezing, should bring in a bit more stable schooling. Don’t be afraid to scale back your sled, leaving some of that extra equipment in the truck as the temps creep up and the snow cover dwindles, you may have to drill a few more holes, so extra drill batteries are a better choice than a heavy shelter.

March is one of my favorite times for tip-ups and pike. With the food supply dwindling and the predators instinctively wanting to bulk up before mating, northern pike are more likely to hit a bait fish not in a school. Many of the old timers that I chat with tell wild tales of just re-hooking a minnow or shiner to make the bait look different to attract a big one. Sometimes you need more active bait, don’t be afraid to change them out if nothing is hitting. Pay attention to light through the ice. If the shade hits one side of the lake, it probably won’t produce as well as the spot in the sun.

Here is hoping for a few 40-degree days of sunshine when we can fish in shirt sleeves and catch some limits without having to wear the big suit. Get your cleats back out, wet ice is slippery ice!