Water temperature: 42 degrees
Lake level: -14 feet
Clarity: 5 feet.

The lake has reached winter pool and winter temps. The bite has slowed down a bit, but there’s still plenty of fish being caught. We are mainly targeting spots and big pre-spawn yellow perch. The perch have been schooled up pretty good, but they are not staying in one place long. They are keyed in on the schools of baitfish that are moving in and out of pockets and ditches in the early morning.

Find the birds working early in the morning and you will find the perch underneath that ball of bait. Loons and seagulls are your friends right now. Minnows, small jigs, spoons, or a combination of any will catch fish.

The water is cold, so the presentation needs to be slow. You want your bait just off the bottom with a small twitch. Work an area for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re not putting fish in the boat, move on and find another school.

Around mid-day, look for a grassy bottom or some type of structure as the fish will look for cover with the bright sun. On cloudy days, the fish will be more mobile and will continue to chase schools of bait into the mid-day hours. Smaller spotted bass are schooled up cruising near the perch. Average size is about 1.5-pounds, but there are some big schools cruising in 30 to 40 feet of water.

The bigger fish seem to be in 50 feet of water or deeper. We have seen a few walleye and a few smallmouth as well, but both are pretty sluggish right now. Look for that action to pick up next month.