Sunday, December 26, 2010

pistakee bay and petite lake double header

Thursday morning was our holiday office party and me and Neal had the rest of the day free to prospect for panfish! Even though very little work got done, those 6 hours seemed to crawl. After minimal work, holidays gifts, and an expansive buffet we burned rubber back north towards the Fox Chain of Lakes. There was plans to meet Damien out on Pistakee Bay fishing until dark and switching over to Petite for the night bite.

Met Damien and a couple of his friends out on Pistakee Bay around 2:00pm, they had been fishing since 11:00am. Our reward for showing up late was an abundance of predrilled holes, a refined location, and a dialed in presentation. They were not just on fish, they were on some big sunfish with a few crappie and bass mixed in. Pistakee was crowded and there were 2 major clusters of fisherman one in shallow and another out over deeper water. Damien had a hot hole and was crushing some huge bull bluegill consistently without even moving once. Neal and I scratched some nice fish here and there but found ourselves bouncing around a little more the Damien. We fished with them until the sun set and parted ways each with our fair share of fish.

my biggest was smaller then a dozen of damiens gills
After stopping for a quick bite (eaten in the car) and a pack of smokes we found ourselves standing in the middle of Petite Lake just after dark. The air temperature had to be 25 degrees and without a gust of wind, it was really quite a pleasant night to be out. We started to hand drill a series of holes which we marked depths from 5 to 12 feet. A few holes located close together had some steep drops in-between them and we really blanketed those drops with our tip ups. The shack was set in 10 foot and the propane heater deployed. We gave the holes in the shanty a good hour of fishing and tried to call the fish to us with some glow jigs and a swedish pimple pounded on the bottom. Not a bite or even a nibble was felt during that first hour and the decision was made to push out to deeper water.

Leaving the warm shack behind we grabbed just the necessities and headed out into to evening air. One lantern guided our way as I started drilling a second series of holes. I zigzagged our holes out towards the middle and Neal followed 2 holes back with the vexilar looking for even the slightest bit of movement. When something would peek his interest I came shuffling up quickly to have a closer look at the screen. Watching carefully as the bait fell, the reaction from the fish came quickly and almost for certain we would watch the 2 little red lines rise up from the bottom. A quick hook set and a fish played from 17 feet down would reward us for all the hard work we were doing. Hand cranking through ice is no easy task and when your finding a fish every 6 holes and it has to be a shared duty. We never found a pocket of multiple fish and we never caught a second fish out of the same hole (even returning later)! A handful of bluegill and crappie fell victim to the glow rat-finkie with glow plastic tipped with a spike. Mobility was a huge factor in our catches and I’m willing to bet that staying in our shelter would have left us fishless. Here’s some footage I shot while we hole hopped halfway across Petite lake.


  1. Great way to kick off the holiday guys.
    I thought for sure I was going to see a frying pan in action at the end of the vid...
    Nice going...loved it!

  2. Nice pile of panfish! Did you take this with the new camera?

  3. Very nice, Bluegill. If your biggest was smaller than his biggest ones, I would say you have a honey hole for big gills. Thanks for sharing your Christmas ice fishing adventure. I would like to find some Bluegill in my area, period!

  4. Great work guys! Nice crappies, I'm going to hit the ice after the Bears game for a little local bluegill action!

  5. Blake
    You are talking my language when you are catching that large bull bluegill.
    There is something special about landing a monster gill on a 3 or 4 weight rod. I don’t know if you have try this or not, but using the San Juan Worm as a dropper off of a popper is deadly; especially if you add some spray bait attractor to the worm. Just a suggestion, really enjoyed the post. Happy Holidays.

  6. Raz- it was a good start to the holidays, thanks!

    Todd- the last 2 videos (both ice fishing) were with the new playsport camera, I'm loving it!

    Mel- I'll trade you for some of the trout in your neck of the woods :)

    Kirk- Good luck after the game!

    Bill- I'll have to give that a try next summer, thanks

  7. Burr and Burr, but worth it to catch some meaty blue gills. I'd be hitting up Damien's spot again (minus Damien) :) -stephanie

  8. Awesome fishing guys...loved the post, and loved the vid more, thanks for sharing the experience!!

    I moved domains guys...replace fishing with adventure...that's code so I don't spam your comments with a link ;)

    I also favorited your facebook page on my new facebook page :)

    Again great stuff, love the fact that you couldn't wait to get through the party and then really partied hardcore fishing style (thumbs up)


  9. Stephanie- :) Damiens always seeming to outfish me!

    Dennis- I'll spam my own site then.