By Cody Hill

Chill Report

The saying goes all good things must come to an end and that is true with my 2022 open water season. It has been a wild ride and an absolute blast of a season and thank you to everyone that has supported me throughout this long season. I ended the season by spending a day fishing with family and taking a grandma and two of her grandsons out fishing.

Saturday, I had the privilege of taking my dad out fishing and it was a lot of fun taking the man that helped teach me out fishing and to watch him light up with every bite he got.  It took maybe two minutes, and he had his first fish on, and it didn’t slow down for him after that moment. We were rigging creek chubs in a saddle situation and the bite was very aggressive, so it made it easy to know when we had a bite. We found active swimming fish in 14 to 18 feet of water but the actively feeding fish were 20 to 23 feet of water. 

We did selective harvest and kept a few smaller fish releasing a lot of 23 plus inch fish back to swim another day. Dad had his hopes up on one fish that he swore was a big walleye and after a lengthy battle was disappointed when a 30-inch northern made its way into my net. Smallmouth bass were still actively biting but were very spooky with the clear conditions we were experiencing.

Sunday ended my open water season with a repeat client and friend bringing two of her grandchildren. It was fun hunting for basin crappies teaching the boys as much as I could in the short time, I had with them and at the end of the day it was awesome seeing them taking what I was teaching and using it to battle a huge crappie.  

I saw people using bobbers and minnows, but we were having the best luck using a 6-mm tungsten jig with a 1.25-inch soft plastic (Green). I would position the boat 30 feet from the beginning of the school and have both boys casting as far as they could past the school and reeling into the school. At times we were getting a fish on every cast, but we only would cast when the boat was in the right position. The school was 10-15 feet below the surface and one school we found was 15 feet thick and 55 feet long! Almost all the fish we caught in those schools were cookie cutter fish and all our fish were 12.25 inches long and one of our last fish we caught was a 13.75” crappie that was released after pictures to be caught again.

The weather will be changing quickly and very soon we will have lakes freezing over. Early ice will be here in a matter of weeks and now is the perfect time to start getting things for those trips. Ice fishing shows are right around the corner and those are some amazing opportunities to see and test new products and try gear on before purchasing.   

Remember it is never too soon to book your winter trip and secure dates that work best for your schedules. Soon we will be making memories out on the ice.