The recent warm weather has melted the nice clear ice that was developing up until a few days ago. The Presque Isle Bay ice is unsafe and it is not looking good right now for a lengthy ice fishing season. One of the positives is that the bay does freeze relatively quickly. If we get a week and a half of cold temperatures, the ice will be good.
I will post when the ice is safe and you can venture out on it. Being a heavy guy, I don't go out on the ice until it is 5 inches thick. Some people go out on 3 inches but sometimes this practice ends up in a wet, cold, outing. It is better to be safe than sorry so please be careful if you plan on going out on ice thinner than 5 inches or so.
I don't know about you guys but I have bought a bunch of new ice fishing equipment so I hope I get to use it this year. The best month to be out on the ice is March if there is safe ice. Hopefully, a cold February will appear and along with it good, hard, and clear ice.
I recently was asked what kind of fish we catch through the ice on Presque Isle Bay in Erie Pennsylvania. We catch perch, with many of them being jumbos, black and white crappie, bluegills, largemouth bass, quite a few steelhead, and occasional northern pike, walleye, and smallmouth bass.
Steelhead are commonly caught in real shallow water near shore. Most of the fisherman venture out into the deeper water to catch tasty jumbo perch. Crappies, bluegills, and bass are usually found in 4 to 8 feet of water. The ticket to catching fish through the ice on Presque Isle Bay is to move around until you find fish. Many times one hut will be killing the fish while 25 feet away they are catching zip.
Stay tuned for more ice fishing reports as the weather improves. Let's all cross our fingers and hope we can get out on the ice this season!