ice fishing

Call it the fourth quarter. There’s still time on the clock and still an opportunity to score, but that window is closing.

Closing, that is—not closed quite yet.

Now is that time of year when hard water fans make the most of what will soon be lost to seasonal transitions. But as lakes start to see their rigid caps yield to spring’s unveiling, ice fishermen enjoy a noticeable spike in the bluegill action.

Ice pro Chris Granrud explains: “The influx of freshwater re-oxygenates a fishery. This of course begins to spark a great bite. Beyond increased metabolism rates, food is flushed into the system. Bug hatches are also taking place as increased light levels trigger activity in the mud.”


One of the top ice fishing targets, bluegill feed voraciously and often bite throughout the day. Granrud offers a handful of tips for bagging late ice ‘gills.

1. Lighten Up
“I prefer the Clam Epoxy Drop, which is made of tungsten. This allows me to downsize the profile of the jig due to the increased density of tungsten versus lead.

“I then tip this ‘Epoxy’ drop with plastics such as the Clam SPIIKI, JAMEI and MAKI. Anglers should experiment with different hooking methods with these plastics to gather the sought after ‘kick’ they prefer based on the mood of the fish.”

2. Choose Colors
“White seems to always be a brilliant color for panfish of all varieties, but anglers that are fishing high-pressured waters may want to consider natural colors such as brown and green.

“Keeping a variety of colors within is wise. As light conditions change throughout the day so can the hot colors.”

3. Maximize the Moment
“Stay mobile, stay quiet and pre-drill holes prior to the anticipated bite window. Big gills will spook easily, so remember your shadow across the hole and keep noise to a minimum. Often times you are only feet from a monster gill who didn’t grow to large proportions by mistake.”