Went to Lake Simcoe Wednesday through Friday. I'm usually safe planning that trip for the first week of March as our ice is usually gone by then, but while fishing I was wondering if the ice was holding up on Presque Isle and if so how the fishing was.
Not that the fishing was all bad - ridiculous numbers, but couldn't get away from the small fish.
Wednesday had near gale force winds. We started fishing around 1330 and it was all we could do to get set up, and where we set up, we stayed. I caught alot, I don't begin to count what I let go, but a ton of 5, 6 and 7 inchers. I did keep 30 that made 8 and 9. My buddy kept 10.
Thursday calmed down, no wind, clear skies and cold. We were able to move around at will. We walked by Wednesday's spot (20FOW) and went out deeper and in our first two spots managed some decent fish. When it slowed down we moved closer to Snake Island and the highlight was a thick, fat 11-1/2 incher and half a dozen others pushing 11. Still, the overall size of the fish was small. I got my 50 and my buddy in the low 40's. My buddy actually counts his throw backs and he was somewhere in the 140 range!
Friday I topped off my possession limit, but couldn't get in to any hogs. My friend picked up another 20 or so and also caught a herring.
I tried a lot of different jigs trying to shake the small ones. I probably caught most of my fish on a size 5 orange jigging Rapala. The Genz Worm worked well in relief this time. The big news for me was I found a new jig that the fish hit hard. I tried a size 3 Swedish "Ice" Pimple (also called "Ice Crush" in their literature/website) in what they call yellow, but it looks chartreuse to me. I put the plastic tail on one of the trebles - I have both what is called "The Whip" and "Wedgees". I have them in a ton of colors as they are quite cheap, but I matched up colors. The action is very wicked in the water and the fish seemed to agree. I'm sure they will work up here, but it was a late experiment.
The other interesting thing was watching the fish through the hole. The ice was swept clean of snow (or melted by past rain), which made ice cleats a necessity (Arctic Spurs are the only ones worth a darn), but with a bright sunny day and mostly clear ice, you could see bottom up to 30 FOW! And those pesky little perch reminding me of a bee hive. I think they need glasses too, for all the times they charge the bait and miss! And we could bring our bait up half way to the surface and the schools would follow it and hold as long as there was something there. At times I've caught the bigger fish by working above the schools.
My hands are quite tore up from handling all those fish, so here's hoping our ice survives this weekend. If not I'll try Simcoe again in about 10 days or so. The ice up there wasn't as thick as years past. It was about 18 to 20 inches. Last year it was over 30 inches!