4 Considerations for Late Ice Panfishing

Late season ice fishing can be a challenging time to find and catch gamefish affected by low dissolved oxygen levels. The combination of ice and snow reduces or eliminates photosynthesis on many lakes and gamefish reposition based on biological needs. Kyle Peterson explains how to find bluegills when they’ve vacated their traditional winter haunts and are seemingly nowhere.


Kyle stresses the need to focus some effort directly below the ice where oxygen levels are highest. Traditional down-looking technologies often fail to reveal these fish, whereas side-peering sonar shows fish throughout the entire water column and far off to the sides. It can be fast and furious when you land on a school so Kyle prefers using durable finesse plastics over live bait to reduce downtime.

Keep safety top-of-mind when venturing out this time of year. Consider accessing lakes from southern shorelines (north-facing) as they have reduced sun exposure and delayed shoreline melt. When it comes to clothing, quality floating suits provide comfort, cold weather protection, and the peace of mind of built-in floatation in the unlikely event you fall through. 

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