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Willard - Final Float 12-20-18

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Willard - Final Float 12-20-18
Since last week's ice opened up the channel at the north marina, how could I NOT try for some more of those porky perch? As advised, there was no ice between the ramp and the main lake. However, the marina is more than 50% capped...but with very thin ice. Water temp just under 35 at 8 am launch, warming up about a half degree by noonish. Air temp was 26...cold enough for gloves and hand warmers.

A boat with a couple of Willard regulars came out right behind my tube. K.D. is probably one of the best all around tanglers for this body of water. Since he politely requested I not post a picture of him and his boat I kept my camera stowed. He has been whacking the big perch pretty good since my trip a week ago. But not so much today.

Actually had a little surprise as I was electric motoring out to my chosen fishing spot. CRUNCH! I ran into a big sheet of skim ice outside the harbor. It covered a large area that I had planned to work for perch. But Mama Nature came through. She blew up a little breeze just long enough to push that ice sheet off to the north and I resumed fishing.

Might as well have been casting up onto the ice. I dragged a succession of fligs and baits over the area that had produced perch last week. The bottom looked like a flat wasteland on sonar...with none of the shad balls so prevalent previously. And with no groceries, the predators had gone elsewhere too. K.D.s boat covered a lot of area without any evidence of them scoring anything either.

I finally decided to search out a spot from which I had previously extracted a few perch...and a lot of kitties. Just as I found it...and some evidence of life on sonar...one of my flig rods danced and I lovingly brought in a nice footlong perch. My first and only of the day. Tossed out my marker buoy and worked the area more thoroughly. Just as I was about to pick up my marker buoy and keep searching the other flig rod got busy. This time it was a Willard cookie cutter kitty. And that was it for the whole morning. Had a couple of other brief inquiries but nothing else got serious.

After finally giving up on my brief hotspot, I worked my way back closer to the channel...where K. D. was still working. As I got closer he divulged that they had only had a couple of bites and had not brought any fish to the boat. WOW. I hope he did better after I left shortly afterward.

It was a lovely day, with mild temperatures (for Christmas week in December). Clear skies and no wind. Only a couple of fish but it kept my string of no-skunk days on Willard alive for this year. Hurrah for fligs.

(This post was edited by TubeDude on Dec 20, 2018, 2:44 PM)
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Re: [TubeDude] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
I just knew you'd venture forth entubed once more before year's end. Especially with the mild weather.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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Re: [TubeDude] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
I just looked off my deck at my house and it looks like your buddy is still out there.

Ive seen him almost every day on the same spot but figured he did not need company and right now ny interests have been in the ducks and geese south and north of him.
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Re: [TubeDude] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
Going to be tough to find any of them through the ice if you fish all over and only find a couple... Well guess if we find the bait balls maybe we'll find some of them... just really tough to do through the ice... Way to get one more trip in, that's pretty dang good fishing clear to the end of the year... Thanks for the post going to miss them the next two months... well I have seen you floating in February so maybe it's only a month off... Looking forward to the return already... maybe it will warm up and you'll get one more in before ice... Later J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
Used to be good fishing through the ice at Willard. Crappies were the main forage species and they came inside the harbors during the winter. So you could catch lots of crappies...and there were also walleyes and catfish in the mix.



These days it is a shad-based economy. The shad move around a lot and their "fans" follow them. You never know on any given day where one or the 'tother might be. But if you can't find the food you won't find as many fish.


Some guys have dialed in the west side of Willard pretty well in the winter. That's where the deepest water is and that's where the cold-sensitive shad hang out until spring. So if you hit it right...with the right stuff...you can catch perch, crappies, wipers, walleyes...and catfish. Even a stray smallie once in a while.



There have been a couple of winters when it was productive fishing right outside the north marina. But every day is a new day. The fish do not set up permanent homes anywhere. You just gotta find a fishy highway and drop down some stop signs.

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Re: [RockyRaab] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
RockyRaab wrote:
I just knew you'd venture forth entubed once more before year's end. Especially with the mild weather.

I never claimed to be overly bright...just persistent.
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Re: [UThunting] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
 
"Ive seen him almost every day on the same spot"

That guy probably catches more "non-cat" fish from Willard than anybody. He is a savvy angler, knows Willard very well and knows that sometimes you have to fish through a whole day to intercept moving fish and/or to wait them out until they become active.


He doesn't just "pay the price"...he enjoys the price.
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Re: [TubeDude] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
TD, sounds like I made the right decision going north in search of a few slimmers. I had a pretty good day, but my brother, CVFisher, wore them out.



Larry

...one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest...
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Re: [TubeDude] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
Thanks Pat I may take a day and go see if I can find them this winter. Thanks for the tip. Jeff
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Re: [FatBiker] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
Yeah, but they are only "slimmers".


Still...nice work. Glad you and your bro had a good day.

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Re: [FatBiker] Willard - Final Float 12-20-18 In reply to
FatBiker wrote:
TD, sounds like I made the right decision going north in search of a few slimmers. I had a pretty good day, but my brother, CVFisher, wore them out.

Hey Larry what lake are your ice-fishing picture from?