|Posted on February 26, 2012 at 9:55 AM|
On The Lake
Date: January 27, 2012
Lake Level: One Foot Below Normal Pool
Surface Water Temp.: 37 Degrees
Clarity: 2 Feet
It’s been a relatively mild winter here in the Midwest leaving Riss Lake free of ice for all of December and January. It is rare to be able to access the lake this time of year and most anglers prefer to stick with indoor activities like area Boat and Outdoor Shows. Cold water fishing is not for everyone, but it can provide some fun opportunities if you dare to brave the elements.
Fishing becomes a challenge when water temperatures dip under the 40 degree mark. Fish activity and metabolism slow dramatically because fish are a cold blooded species. Wintertime behavior is restricted to conserving calories, hunkering down finding an area of the thermocline where oxygen and water temperature are optimal. Bass gravitate to deep banks, ledges and drops. They generally will not feed unless the meal is conveniently placed right under their nose!
Cold water temperatures have less of an effect on species like Walleye and Crappie and Trout. The Riss Lake Fishing Club has actively been stocking Walleye for four years. Many of these fish are now reaching 18-24 inches. Because Walleye are native to lakes in the Northern United States, they are accustomed to cold water conditions and tend to feed consistently throughout the winter months.
Walleye will take a variety of baits including: live minnows, night crawlers and leaches fished under a float as well as a variety of jigs and hard plastic lures. They prefer to forage in low light conditions, at dusk and dawn and especially on cloudy days. Several four and five pound Walleye have been caught this year while trolling crankbaits. The most productive areas tend to be coves where water depths range from 4-10 feet.
Crappie will congregate and “school” during cold weather and can provide an excellent bite provided you determine the correct depth of the school. Good baits for Crappie include live minnows under a slip-float, Marabou hair jigs and just about any color of tube jig. Smaller baits, super-light lines and a long sensitive rod are essential in targeting Crappie. Vertical fishing, which involves dropping the jig straight down to a pre-determined depth, especially around the marina slips, can also be a very productive technique this time of year.
For a lot of fishermen (and fisherwomen!) winter is the best time to organize tackle boxes, read a good fishing magazine like “Bassmaster” or “The In-fisherman” and patiently wait for that Spring bite. For a few dedicated (aka: crazy!) anglers even the winter chill can’t keep us off of the lake!
Be sure to check the website www.RISSLAKEFISHINGCLUB.com for a schedule of 2012 fishing club events!
See you on the lake!
Avid Angler and Co-founder of Riss Lake Fishing Club
Marty Perrea 816-550-2909
Larry Chambers 816-804-5945
Brent Frazee 816-516-4744
Derek Weber 620-232-1718