Think about it.....fish are under the ice in the water, no place else they can go. Been that way for ever. Crappie fishing: Used to be minnow under a bobber, sometimes fish would take minnow so hard the bobber would go "sploosh" as it went under....then you waited how long before you set the hook? Bottom of the hole? Further yet? Then came fish locators, you could see how deep it was, the bottom composition and where the fish were in relation to your bait which no matter how small you could see too...even could tell if your waxie was gone...Now spring bobbers, just the slightest wiggle or pause is a bite. Are fish biting that light or did they always and we just didn't know it? Now look at your line as it goes down the hole....curls in it, or crinkled where it was knotted up. Lets' see did I put that on this year or last? Should hang pretty much straight down shouldn't it? Now you are out there fishing on a beautiful late winter day. Sunny, warm, a bit of wind, holes stay open don't freeze up.....but no fish on locator, dead sea in everyones holes, not just you. Too nice to be in the shack, portable or permanent. What gives? Ice is now what, 16 to 20 inches thick. How dark do you think it is down there? Pretty dark not? What do you think it looks like down there when you drill and clean out a hole? Maybe try drilling hole and not clean out, just drop locator and spoon/Swedish pimple in that will go through the ice chips and see what happens.....they say fish have a brain about the size of a pea. Well us fishermans brains haven't gotten any bigger either, we need to think and adapt to the conditions to be successful. Oh and by the way, picking up garbage on the ice or at the landing makes the fish bite better too. Either way, if it's fishing or catching out there hope you have a good time. Woody Eckes
If you are not marking fish could it be that the light through your drilled and cleaned out hole is making them leave the area? If you don't see fish on your locator should you fish that hole? If you are using horizontal or vertical presentation, bait or plastic should you switch lures or prebaited poles to try something different? If you have fish on your locator that come up to your bait but not bite should you try a more sensitive strike indicator, or get out of the wind so you can see what your indicator or rod tip is doing? Basically if what you are doing or have done you need to refine or redefine your presentation or move. As far as slush in the hole I have fished on some very small ponds where I knew there were some nice fish....drilled a bunch of holes could mark nothing. Put ice chips/slush back in the hole and got bit.....nothing works all the time, but keep trying something different . Appreciate that we have fishable ice this year so far. Woody Eckes
Dang, that was a tough read.
My only comment..... they are always there, you just have to go find them and feed them what they want. Finding fish and figuring what they want to eat goes back to about as basic as it can get, everything we use are just tools to try and accomplish that.
I always wondered when you hear someone talk about years back how a certain jig/bait worked great and that’s all people used to use. So why is that no longer used today? Is it just because there is such a variety of lures nowadays?
if you are not marking fish, then you need to move. Slush or presentation changes won't solve that problem.