Ice Safety comes first

Many areas across the ice belt have been experiencing very abnormal warming lately and that has jeopardized the conditions of the ice. With that being said, many are still ice fishing and the need of “ice safety” needs to be reminded about again. By taking precautions and having the right safety equipment with you, is key to having an enjoyable day on the ice. Common sense and being aware of your surroundings, is always vital any time that you step foot onto the ice. For the equipment that you should always have with you: Spud bar: this allows you to quickly test the ice in front of yourself as each step is taken Life Preserver: in the case of going through the ice, this will keep your head

Weekend with Friends

My wife and I had friends visiting from the east side of the state last weekend to go to some Rush hockey games and I'd convinced them to come out on the ice with me to Pactola. Chad had been out with me before a couple of years, but Kelly hadn't been ice fishing before, so I said that we'd start fishing in the marina to see if any bluegills, crappie or rainbow trout were in the area, get them used to using flashers and moving around, then go out onto the main lake and try for some hard fighting lake trout later in the morning. Being hunters, I wasn't worried about them staying warm, but I'd hoped to show them a good time on the ice. When we arrived at the lake, we were among the first ones

"The Northland Fisherman" Episode 13

Northland Tackle, Fishing the Midwest and HSM Outdoors have teamed up together for bringing you a new Video series called "The Northland Fisherman". This episode: FInding Walleyes on Mille Lacs - Tony Roach

Fishing has been good, Ice has been bad

During the course of the last week leading up to today, we have heard of several vehicles falling through the ice as well as snow machines and wheelers getting into pickles. We have also recently heard of casualties as well. The old saying, "ice is never safe" should be at the back of all our heads as anglers. With the warm up we have encountered, mixed in with the rain, it has been a perfect recipe for un-safe ice. In lower parts of the state, anglers are even experiencing open water. This is very pre-mature for this time of year and also sad if you are hard core ice fishing heads. With all that being said, we do have lots of fishable ice in the twin ports area. Just be very cautious when v

Shallow Water Winter Kill Comeback

Often times, shallow prairie lakes less than 8ft deep can offer some great panfish. The downside is, these fertile lakes can also freeze out or winter kill every 3-5 years. Once it winter kills, it becomes a forgotten lake and usually is driven by without any thought. With the help of the DNR and stocking programs, these lakes can be brought back in a few years. I have had my eye on a few of these lakes that hopefully will be rebounding soon, but still be forgotten by the majority of fishermen. By using the information provided by the DNR website you too can find some of these lakes. I fished a lake last fall looking for walleyes and I caught a few and I was excited to try it this winter. Af

"The Northland Fisherman" Episode 12

Northland Tackle, Fishing the Midwest and HSM Outdoors have teamed up together for bringing you a new Video series called "The Northland Fisherman". This episode: Keeping it Simple - Mike Frisch

Drive to Find Ice

With our unbelievably warm winter that we have been having, we still have yet to be able to ice fish locally. So this past weekend found us driving 2 hours north for finding good ice once again, there definitely is a line from where the ice isn’t safe to having no issues for ice thickness. As with many of the lakes that we fish, we have favorite areas that typically hold the fish we are looking for but at the same time, we want to learn more about every body of water that we fish. So we typically will pick a different area to fish and if it doesn’t produce like we feel it should, then we may move to those more proven areas. This particular lake has a good population of nicer sized crappies a

First Ice Trip

One of the best things that I enjoy about ice fishing and having all the tools to be successful on the ice, is taking people out for their first trips or reintroducing them to the sport. It is a very gratifying experience and one of the best ways I can think of to pay the sport back for the good times it has shown me. I also look for the opportunity to introduce others to it and give them a reason to enjoy the winters here in the Black Hills. Recently, I took a friend, his little boy and another friend out for their first trips on the ice. Living in Spearfish, I decided to take them to Iron Creek Lake as it was the closest one and I'd heard that the trout were biting. Having never fished on

Deep Water Monsters

When people think “bluegill”, they often think shallow water weed beds and submerged structure. You’re on the right track, but don’t be afraid to try the deep water for suspended fish. On this outing, we targeted pan fish in over thirty feet of water, our trip was a success with landing a handful of very respectable fish. Most of the fish caught were found in water forty feet deep suspended ten to fifteen feet off the bottom. While marking fish on the Vexilar, we soon realized that in order to get to the bigger fish, we had to use a little bigger jig with multiple wax worms. The jig had to fall fast enough to get past the small fish on the top of the school, once the jig reached the lower 1/

How about this weather eh?

This is a very unusual weather pattern that we have mixed emotions about. Yes, it is nice to be comfortable and fish in the elements, rather than in the confines of an ice shack, however, it is stalling some ice making in the Lake Superior angling areas we like to target. This puts a damper on some nice Lake Trout spots and it is any wonder if we will be able to get to them at all this year. Ah well, that's Mother Nature and in the end, she decides what will happen. We will make do with what we have and continue to fish. Lake Superior has fishable waters for those who venture to the Chequamegon Bay areas of Ashland, we do not encourage anyone to travel to the reaches of Bayfield though. This

A weekend full of fishing in Northern Minnesota

Being a newer resident to the Itasca County area, it felt so great to get out and explore the area and the lakes that I now call home. The specie goal for the weekend consisted of Crappies, Blue Gills, Perch and Walleye. While Saturday morning chores and work were completed, it was time to head outside for some time to play in the winter sunshine. It didn’t take us long to get a few holes drilled and the Vexilar’s in place. On our first lake on Saturday afternoon, we really concentrated on the 16-19 feet of water. Once I found just the right spot to start fishing, it was time to wet a line and see what the fish will like. I found the Sunrise Mud Bug and a white Doodle Bug Spoon, both made by

LOTW Weekend

Over the weekend, we headed up to Lake of the Woods, we wanted to take our 25 ft tandem axle ice castle out on the ice for the first time of the year. The walleye/sauger bite was really steady in 30 FOW, we found that bare hooks with an emerald shiner produced the majority of the fish just letting it sit about 1-5 ft off the bottom. Jigging it a couple of times once in a while would attract the few aggressive fish we got. The bite is definitely fluctuating right now, as some days they bit better and seemed like mid-day was the hot time to putting fish on the ice. We caught multiple species of fish including: walleye, sauger, eel pout and whitefish. The forecast is looking warm, so if your pl

Spooning Crappies

Few days ago, I was sitting on a pile of crappies in 31ft of water with the Vexilar lit up. I was using a Clam Pro Tackle leech flutter spoon with the feathers on the treble. They would chase the spoon up and down, and every once in a while, you would feel a tap. The crappies were very tight lipped that day as they were biting at the feathers on the hook but missing the treble. I decided to modify the flutter spoon and drop shot it. Removing the hook, I tied a piece of fishing line about 12 inches in between the two. Jigging the spoon does excellent job of calling in the nearby fish. What was cool is with the feathers on the hook, it almost just floated while the spoon was doing all the work

"The Northland Fisherman" Episode 11

Northland Tackle, Fishing the Midwest and HSM Outdoors have teamed up together for bringing you a new Video series called "The Northland Fisherman". This episode: Perch'n Big Stone Lake - Mike Frisch

Fish House Heater Issue

For all owners of Ice Castle Fish Houses and other brands. PLEASE READ! Recently I made a short move with my Ice Castle to the other side of a lake. Once I was all set up, I turned the furnace back on. But it wouldn't kick on. I was puzzled. It must have happened when I went through some bumpy rough ice because it was just working. I checked fuses, connections and wiring. I removed the thermostat cover and began tinkering with that. After about 30 minutes and ready to give up. I fixed it. There's a contact that controls the furnace to turn on. It was just slightly out of place almost unnoticeable. I moved it a little more just for a picture. I recommend every fish house owner take 10 seconds

A Crappie Day of Fishing

Recently I went out to try my luck for pike up at Jenny Gulch on Pactola Reservoir with Randy, a friend who I met on the ice last season. Wanting to use my new Clam Thermal tip-ups for the first time, I agreed to go and fish with him, having never ice fished on that part of the lake before. Jenny Gulch, however, is well known for having some big pike in it and I've always heard about them being caught each ice season. It would be a bit of a walk to get to the spot he wanted to try, but luckily he had a couple of snowmobiles to make the trek faster. It was nice to be able to pull my Clam Legend flip over shelter with it rather than walk with it as well as the gear in it. We got to the spot ri

Greetings from the Twin Ports

Fishing in the area has been great. We are now starting to venture on select waters with our vehicles as we are measuring ice anywhere from 12"-19". As always, check for yourself and don't just go off of someone's reports such as this one. Lake Superior is seeing some action for those who venture out to the Ashland areas of WI. We still need cold weather and time for this ice sheet to continue to grow out toward the Apostle Islands areas. Some fish that are being caught are white fish, perch, a few walleye, burbot and a few brown trout. St Louis River has slowed down in recent times with the changes in the weather. A few fish are still being caught using general dead stick hole near jigging

"The Northland Fisherman" Episode 10

Northland Tackle, Fishing the Midwest and HSM Outdoors have teamed up together for bringing you a new Video series called "The Northland Fisherman". This episode: Cold Front Panfish - Brian Brosdahl

A Family's Reintroduction to Ice Fishing

I had the opportunity this week to take a small family out to show them how modern ice fishing equipment can make a morning on the ice more enjoyable for everyone. They work at the library with me and I had them come to my seminar to see the newest gear. They were very excited to actually see it in action, so I arranged a morning for us to get out on the ice at Stockade Lake. If the bluegills and perch were still in the area we fished a couple of weeks before, I knew they would have a good time. So Steve and I got to the lake about an hour before the family arrived and we drilled a bunch of holes in six to twelve feet of water and fished a bit to see if the fish were around. We caught a

Ice Fishing: East Coast

Ice fishing in CT...in the middle of December?? Not very often we can say that, but this year it's on. Yes people have been finding fishable ice for about 3 weeks now and there is a pretty good base in the NW corner of the state, but extreme caution still needs to be taken as we are in that "first ice" phase. Ice picks, a spud bar and a safety throw rope are standard at a minimum, don't forget your ice cleats either as some warm temps and rain have melted the snow so there are some slippery conditions out there. An Ice Armor Lift Suit by Clam Outdoors is a great idea as well. Now that we have covered some safety topics, let's talk FISH. As with most early ice situations, there are still some

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