The end of January and a wide-open lake.
When: Saturday, January 28th, from 1:30pm to 5:15pm
What: Musky fishing for me, panfishing for Chris
Weather: Partly to mostly cloudy, near 40 degrees, winds up to 13mph from the SW and gusting to17mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.01in and steady
Moon: Waxing, 5 days after new
Water Conditions: 37 degrees, high and stained, almost completely open with a floating island of ice
This was by all means a long shot and it didn't really pay off.
It almost did though.
The rain and warm weather this week all but obliterated any ice on the lakes on ponds. Chris and I were well aware of this, so we concocted a little plan. One of favorite ice fishing spot also happens to be one of my favorite musky spots. Since we usually do well jigging panfish and trout when there is ice on lake, we didn't think anything would be different without it. Plus, while Chris targeted panfish, I could toss musky baits off the back of the canoe.
This lake has produced a ton of fish through the ice for us, including a few small musky. It's also been the scene of open water musky encounters that have not resulted landing a fish. There would be more of that today.
Martalus and I both had things to do in the morning, so after grabbing the canoe from his folks', we did not get onto the lake until 1:30pm. The lake was almost completely devoid of ice except for a little slush by the boat launch and a floating "island" in the middle of the lake.
Undaunted, we launched the canoe and headed straight for our go-to ice fishing hole. We didn't see any reason that the spot wouldn't produce, but it didn't. I'm really not sure how the ice makes a difference. We marked plenty of fish, but despite his best efforts, Chris could not get a bite.
In the meantime, I was on the back of the canoe throwing musky baits. Within the first 30 minutes or so, I had what was probably the same fish follow my 8-inch, perch-colored, River Run Manta back to the canoe...twice. It looked to be about 35 inches or so. I did my best to maneuver and Figure-8 the fish but I couldn't get it to commit. The fish was so close that I could have reached down and grabbed it, but it never opened its mouth.
That was all the action for the day, aside from getting cornered in by the floating "island" and having to bust through it with the oars to escape.
Still, it was a beautiful day. It was great to be out on the lake in January and it was great to at least get my first look at a 2012 musky. I'm still new at this game, and to twice get the attention of a fish in 36 degree water in the middle of winter...
I consider that a success.