Ice fishing season is coming to a close in southern Ontario as ice starts to melt along shorelines which means panfish will be moving in as soon as water temps reach the low 40F.
This is already happening in southwestern Ontario and many anglers are taking advantage of excellent open-water fishing for jumbo perch. We are getting reports that anglers are catching good quality perch fishing from shore along the Detroit River, ON inlets and marina basins. Most perch anglers there are using small jigs with small live or dead minnows and fishing them near the bottom. We are hearing good reports of perch caught throughout the day and even after sunset.
Bluegill, Pumkinseed and Crappie anglers are also reporting early season fishing that seams to be over 1-month ahead of schedule. Marshy areas around Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, the bays along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are already producing mixed catches of all three panfish species with some whopper Crappie in the mix.
Anglers are using mostly small 1/16-1/32 oz jigs tipped with small 1-2″ plastic grubs. The Fishing Compete Lil’Fry is one of the top producers fished under a slip-bobber mid-way in the water column. Many of the panfish are being caught in the 2-5′ depths.