Scott & Justin were with me this morning as we headed to the water in below freezing temps. It felt more like a morning for ice fishing rather than one for open water and I just hoped the fish would bite!

The cold run to our starting spot made me realize just how slow we would have to fish. I set them up with baits and instructed them to fish slower than they had ever done before. The first half dozen hits were so light that each one was missed. All I could do was hope for sunshine to get the fish active. We did have a short burst of it that unfortunately lasted only 20 minutes before disappearing for the day! We would be in the clouds for the remainder and working hard for each fish we caught!

Scott finally managed to hook into what I thought might be the trophy he was wanting, but I soon realized it was the wrong species. He had somehow lucked into a young musky as an added bonus fish. Although fun to catch, not really what we were after! You never know what can happen this late in the year and this fish was the proof!

We covered plenty of water, marking all kinds of fish, but struggled to get them to take. They were either bumping the baits or coming off quickly and it was getting frustrating. Eventually Justin hooked into a good one and things were finally looking up. He battled it to the boat carefully as it would turn out to be his personal best. Several pics later he was releasing the biggest smallmouth of his life!

The remainder of the day saw similar results but no numbers. Scott even managed to catch another exotic species with a beautifully colored fall fish over 2 pounds. I would have liked to be able to use live minnows today but due to restrictions, it didn’t happen. We had to make do with what we had and pick at the fish instead. We also had to pick at the guides on the rods as ice formed all day long! By 3:00 we called it and headed back to take out.

Although the temperatures continue to fall, there’s still many days left to fish. I will be making a few adjustments next time out to be able to catch more of these inactive fish. It may even include some steelhead equipment along with the usual arsenal of baits! I just hope that the winds and below freezing temps hold off long enough to fish into December. I’m not ready to store the boat quite yet and there’s many more fish to be caught. Back out again soon!