I t’s that time of the year again. Take some time to sort through your ice fishing gear; re-spool lines, oil the reels with a cold weather lube, sort through and organize your jigs, fix holes in your shanty, and make sure your heaters are working. Maybe even throw away the waxworms you left in your sled from last season.
The lakes in the Ludington area will soon be frozen and provide some excellent first ice opportunities, especially for bluegill on Hamlin Lake along with some small lakes in our area. Typically first ice bluegills are in shallow weeds from 3 to 10 feet of water. Try and drill your holes first in an area you will be fishing to avoid spooking the fish in the thin ice. Leave your power auger and quad at home for another few weeks. First and last light normally provide the best fishing in the shallow water. Using a glow teardrop jig can add a few more fish to your bucket during low light. I like to use two spikes for bluegill, others like mousies, wax worms or goldenrod grubs. Make sure you use light line that is in good condition. I use 5X tippet normally used in fly fishing, but the thin diameter and strength of the line performs very well.
Use extra caution on the early ice, bring a rope and a friend. Pick up a pair of ice spikes that hang around your neck to pull yourself up or inflatable suspenders in case you end up in the water. If you have not tried first ice bluegills, you are missing the best fishing of the year. Captain Chucks, PM Expeditions and Hamlin Grocery will all be well stocked with bait and supplies and up to the day ice thickness reports.