Searching for Basin Bluegills
By Jason Brenic | December 23, 2022
After over two decades of ice fishing experience I have learned that some bodies of water are vastly different than others. This often means that the approach you take to catch fish will need to change or adapt based on the type of water you’re fishing. With colder temperatures on the horizon, we will talk about how to locate and catch Basin Bluegills using my Piscifun Gear!
Identify The Bite
The first step to understanding whether or not there is a basin bite in a lake is to understand the overall make-up of the lake itself. Before heading out to the lake you’re going to fish, take a look at the maps that are offered of the lake. Reviewing maps like Navionics, DNR Maps, etc. will give you a basic understanding of how the lake lays out and where fish might live.
For example, if we take a look at Lake Seventeen, we can see from the contour lines that there are two clear bowls in this particular lake and we can also see the absence of any shallow flats or weedy bays. The structure of this lake indicates to us that there should be a Basin Bite as most of the population of bluegills will likely be over those deep bowls roaming the mud looking for bugs to eat throughout the winter.
Now there are also many lakes that feature both a shallow weed bite and a basin bite, so if for some reason one is not working, don’t be afraid to go search for another bite on the same lake.
Let’s Get A Move On
Now the REAL work starts. Since we have identified that there are basins available to search for fish, this is when you will need to head out to the lake and start searching. Now when it comes to basin fish, they are often roamers, which means you may need to cover a lot of ice before you locate the school. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find them right away, this is normal. If you have a Livescope Set Up on the ice, it will drastically cut your search time down as you are able to scan the basins and cover more water. However, with a Flasher unit you can also do well, it will just take a bit more time. I always start by checking the drop leading into the basin and then drilling my way across until I reach the deepest point. I would say 80% of the time I find the fish in 18-25’ of water depending on the depth of the basin I am fishing. Once you’ve located the fish, it’s time to get to work with your Piscifun Reels.
The Tools of the Trade
When fishing deep basin fish, it’s important that you’re able to get your bait down to the fish quickly. As I mentioned earlier - these Basin Bluegills are roamers and will move quickly. For my set up I like to use a Piscifun Carbon X 500 or 1000 paired with a Light or Ultralight Ice Rod that has a titanium spring tip. I spool my Carbon X 500 with 2lb test Fluorocarbon because the thin diameter line sinks quickly and is very hard for the fish to see at those depths. On the business end of things I generally use a Fiskas Epoxy Glow Tungsten Jig in 4 MM - this jig allows me enough weight to get down quickly, yet it still has a small enough profile to get bit readily by cautious Bull Gills. As far as bait, I always start with a Hawg Pours plastic because I can be more efficient when I’m not rebaiting. I use Hawg Pours because they are SUPER soft, yet durable enough to handle multiple fish.
The next time you’re going out on your favorite lake or exploring a new body of water, be sure to check out the basin for roaming schools of Bluegills. When you get a school of gills fired up over deep water it can be some of the most fun fishing you’ll have all winter long!
Be safe out there, enjoy the weather and time with friends and tight lines!