Pan Fish Transitioning

As we head into the mid-season of this very trying ice season, anglers need to be aware that pan fish such as crappies and bluegills start transitioning to shallower water, and will often abandon their deep water haunts in favor of water depths in the 6 to 11 foot range.

Crappies, like walleyes, don’t all do the same thing at the same time. Some populations inhabit deep structure while others stay right against the weeds and never leave. There are distinct populations that do different things. The wonderful thing about shallow crappies hiding along weed structure, is that they are aggressive and are feeding often. These are fish that will bite, versus their deep water cousins that need to be coaxed into biting.

Start your crappie and bluegill fishing very shallow and work your way deeper. This means starting at 6 to 11 feet and drilling lots of holes to find a weed edge. Give this strategy about an hour before moving on. Too many anglers just plop down and sit for the duration hoping that the fish will eventually move in. Success is very rare in this scenario.

Next, move is to deeper water in the 11 to 18 feet depths, looking for transitional fish that are the in-between biters, usually to rest and loaf. At times this bite can be very frustrating. Chances are these transitional fish will move to shallower water late in the day to feed. It’s not impossible to get these mid-depth fish to bite.

The final move is to look for suspended crappies in the deepest water of the lake. These fish will be very evident on your electronics, as they are often seen halfway down the water column.

The key to mid-season success, is to hit these three different areas and to drill lots of holes. Chances are, you will find fish on one of the depths, and sometimes all three!

Hope this helps!

Thanks for looking…..Good Luck!