Man, fishing has been tough lately. My deep-water patterns of early winter have basically dried up, and as we head into mid -winter, things have definitely changed. Gone are the deep-water fish that have been feeding on insects and larvae coming from the deep water basins. 

The biggest issue is the incredible snow depth and the thick ice, which eliminates the sunlight penetration. When the sun is blocked, the insects’ hatching ceases. The reason the fish have moved away from these areas is that the food sources are no longer available.

 The most logical move in late February is to much shallower water. This means depths of 8 to 11 feet on most lakes. The shallows vary from lake to lake depending on water clarity, fishing pressure and available food sources. 

I like the 8 to 11 feet of water this time of the winter when I can find healthy, green weeds and also very deep water in the vicinity.  

Gamefish love to be near deep water for loafing, but still prefer shallow water when the prime times of the day appear.

Many anglers rely on underwater cameras to scout potential hot spots during late February. A quick glance down below will tell you if you have good weeds in the vicinity, but will also show you fish on the move.

Any way you slice it, this angler is basically starting over and abandoning my previous patterns. It’s a whole new ballgame as we enter into the middle of winter.

Think shallow and make the change!

STEVE CARNEY is a Minnesota fishing guide, outdoor writer and guest speaker.

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