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It's time to target panfish

Now that the predator (fish) season is over, it’s time to focus on the middle of the food chain.

Is there anything better than being out on the ice in March or April catching rays and pan fish? There might be some things the majority of you would rather be doing but I absolutely love laying on the ice staring down that 8-inch ice hole. You would love it too, come on try it. Oh you would get wet? Just put on some waterproof clothing or waders and get down there. No bobber needed, just grab your ice rod or jig stick with some 2-, 3- or 4-pound test, your favorite ice fly or bait and drop that baby down there. If you don’t see a fish within seconds, get and find a hole that has a fish or two in the neighborhood.

The cool thing about this type of fishing is that you can pull your bait out of the way if you aren’t interested in a particular fish. You will be so much more efficient with this way of fishing but I will tell you that a “head rush” is a good possibility when it’s time to move to a different hole.

My favorite bait for this type of fishing is a No. 2 Jigging Rapala but if the fish are not interested, try some plastics or go with an ice fly and a couple of Eurolarvae. Just make sure that you are ready to set the hook when one of those “slaps” sucks in your bait!

Keep your head down, Walleyedan. P.S., if you aren’t into laying on the ice because you are afraid you won’t be able to get up, a Fish Trap with a seat is another option.

WALLEYEDAN EIGEN may be reached at (218) 839-5598, or

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889