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Minnesota Fishing Reports
Articles : The Hunt For Gill Adventure by Dan Johnson with Dave Genz
Posted by LSF on Dec 10, 2009 (1196 reads) News by the same author

Factor Fall Weather For First-Ice Bluegills
Lakes take on a different look once winter lays its icy cloak across the surface. Visual clues to fish location are scant, except for a few standing reeds, shoreline undulations, and the tracks of other anglers. Standing at an access point, looking across a thousand acres or more of frozen assets to explore, it can be tough to decide where to fish first.

Veteran iceman and Lindy staffer Dave Genz doesn’t tarry long pondering his options. A lifetime on the ice has left him with a well-stocked playbook for finding fish fast. In the case of bluegills and other panfish, he starts by recalling the prevailing weather patterns of autumn.
Lindy Genz Worm
“A lot depends on what happened in late fall,” he says. “Calm, sunny weather prior to freeze-up can start shallow weeds growing again.” Greens may wither with the first cold weather, but full-press Indian Summer spurs rebirth. Insect hatches can occur in shallow water during warming trends, further encouraging panfish to hold near shore.

“If there’s life in the shallows right before freeze-up, it will still be there after the ice gets thick enough to walk on,” Genz offers. “Not just panfish, either. It’s a chain reaction. If the bluegills are in there, you can count on walleyes, pike, and bass to be in the neighborhood.”

Conversely, if your favorite fishing hole experienced rains, clouds, snow, and wind, the panfish may have sought deeper horizons. “Don’t expect long-distance migrations in response to late-fall weather patterns,” Genz cautions. Often, they simply slide into nearby deeper water. “If they’re not in shallow, weedy bays, they might be just outside, or in the deeper weeds, or at the base of the first drop-off,” he says.

Slab Slayers
Deep or shallow, certain lures and presentations put more ‘gills and other pans on ice. Genz acknowledges a strong preference for horizontal presentations, offered by jigs he designed like the Lindy Genz Worm and Fat Boy. “Such jigs swim naturally, with a horizontal attitude, which is extremely important in the clear water so common in many lakes during the winter,” he says. Spoons like the Lindy Frostee have their place as well, for both active feeders and for triggering hesitant fish to strike. Beyond that, deciding factors between catching one fish and 50 are often how you manipulate the jig, how fresh your bait is, and how well you thread it on the hook. But those are topics for another day.

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