Ok, last weekend when I opened the shop at 7am on Saturday and Sunday mornings it was -15. This weekend it should be 26. That's a 41 degree swing folks! Now, what will that do to the fishing? Probably not a lot but it will make conditions for the humans above the ice a lot more comfortable. Tip downs and tip ups will be used more this weekend due to the holes not freezing up near as fast or at all. That should make pan fishing and game fishing more fun. I love chasing flags and tip downs. Who doesn't. You get a group of kids or a bunch of adults that don't act their age together and when a flag goes up or a pole goes down the fun begins. I fished with this one group years ago that had about 10 teenagers in it. When a flag went up it was a no holds barred mayhem race to see who would get to pull in the fish. That was fun to watch!
As far as panfish go there doesn't seem to be any one method that outshines another right now. Everybody has their favorite way of putting panfish in the bucket but for the most part they have been real bashful. Sometimes I wish I didn't use electronics cuz it's so frustrating to me to watch a fish come up to your bait, sniff it out and then just swim away. But at least you know there is something down there. Now I'm not saying nobody is catching fish, I'm saying you gotta put in your time to hit those active windows. During the last three days of panfishing I caught 90% of my fish in a 30 minute window each day. The one jig that seems to be outdoing the others is a VMC Fly Jig. The color doesn't seem to be too important but that jig is a killer.
As far as game fish go it's not been famine but certainly not feast. Except for Northern Pike. Those devils are active. I watched a bunch of fisherman on a lake I was on the other day chasing one flag after another. We set out six tip ups the other day on a weed edge and every one went off at least twice if not more. Like I said, I love chasing and watching people chase flags. Smaller river shiners were the best on small glow treble hooks. And as I have mentioned many times before, if you get a flag and find very little line has been stripped off get your perch jigging pole out (that of course you set up earlier for this purpose) and start working that hole. DO IT!
Hey this is the weekend to have a picnic on the ice. Nothing better that meat grilling while watching tip ups. Ice is being driven on all over the place with full size trucks. Use your head though. There still could be some thin spots from springs and muck. But for the most part, get at it!