Traverse Bay Fishing Report: December 2015

W ith the extremely slow transition into late fall and winter, hope remains for December ice although it seems unlikely. That being said be careful, don’t push the envelope, stay safe, please! Gearing up for the ice season first look to smaller lakes, bays, or shallow arms of lakes that have a tendency to freeze rapidly. These areas should still have weed growth and can provide first ice panfish action. Some lakes that have a tendency to freeze early are Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac, Missaukee, Manistee, to name a few as well as countless pothole lakes surrounding Northwest Michigan. First ice is a holy time for panfish anglers and can provide red-hot action. Aggressive baits such as plastics tipped on tungsten jigs can be used and are a very good alternative to bait. A few companies that have great plastic baits out are custom Jigs and Spins, Northland, B-Y Baits and Micro Spoons and Jigs Candy Plastics and many more. These new age plastic baits have really started to take the place of bait and can out produce bait especially when it comes to the size of fish. If you haven’t used plastics yet or are set in old bait ways, I would highly recommend trying a few of these new baits. They can also make for great gift ideas for avid ice anglers. For first ice panfish look to the inside and outside of weed edges from 5 to 12 feet of water usually they can be found on one side or the other. Other areas to concentrate on are obvious blow downs, log piles, or other structures. Be careful around these areas, as the ice may not be as thick. Maybe Santa can give us the gift of Christmas bluegill this year! As always happy holidays and stay on top!