Equipping your "Ice Machine"

Using an ATV, side by side, or snowmobile has become the norm for a lot of ice anglers as of late. People have made the investment for the machines and attempt to get their monies worth using it as much as possible. Alie and I began tournament fishing on the ice back in 2013. It was an educational experience for us. Being efficient and mobile on the ice during the tournament determined our success. Of course, with time and experience, we have perfected most aspects of our new side by side. While Alie continues to fish in the Ultimate Panfish League this season, we took the opportunity to modify our new side by side. First, we added an extended receiver with a ball on it. This will decrease t

Hot Bite on Sheridan

With reports of good ice on Sheridan Lake, it was time to see if the perch were biting. December always seems to be a good time to find perch on the lake before they head off and scatter in the middle of winter. I arranged to go out with a few friends and we found not only a good perch bite, but also a pretty decent rainbow bite, especially on dead sticks with Arctic Warriors. We split up into two groups and if one of us found the perch, the other two would move over to keep on the bite. Wilbur and I tried an area near the north marina while Matt and his brother Ben tried another spot further east of us closer to shore. Wilbur hooked up with a good rainbow, but it was slow in our area. Matt

Christmas on the Ice

Sometimes you just must take advantage of ice time when the opportunities arise, Christmas morning was one that we had the time. Locally, we are looking at open water once again after having 60-degree temps and rain for over a day. Luckily, an hour drive north we can get on the ice, ice was down to 5 inches versus the 7 that was there a week ago. Temps were cold, and the winds were blowing but, when time is limited, you dress and get to the fishing. The crappie in this lake hang around the deeper part of the lake, key is to find where the better sized fish are. Water ranges from 15 to 17 feet deep, with the 15-foot depth a better range for the better fish. Conditions were bluebird skies, sti

First Spearing Experience

This weekend brought a new adventure to me. Being a guy that loves the chase of pike and Muskie, I figured it was time I took the opportunity to experience the art of spearing. While most may think that it's a couple of old Swedes sitting in a fish house putting a few beers down and waiting, that may be the case, however, most spearer’s take the sport rather seriously. I joined my brother in law, his friend and nephew. I arrived and was treated like a guest... or a rookie. The spear house was already set up with a 24 inch by 36-inch rectangle sawed from the ice, providing a high definition look of the water and structure. A nice weed bed caught my eye to contrast the 8-9-foot depth. With the

Makings of a Fish Fry

Local ice conditions vary in the Southern Metro MN. We found 8-10 inches of ice with 1-2 inches of cloudy white ice on top on this lake. As we headed out, our goal for the day was to just get on a consistent bite with decent fish for a fish fry. Early morning was the best with fish coming out of 18 ft water, just off of the deeper edges. Using Clam tungsten jigs and red spikes, we were able to coax the finicky biters to commit. We were able to get a mixed bag of gills, crappies, and few popcorn perch. It was a successful day with tons of fish and some sorting, but we caught our dinner.

Take Advantage of Seminar Opportunities

For the last four years, I've presented an ice fishing seminar series called the “Lure of Ice Fishing” where I discuss different aspects of the sport with attendees, from lake locations to lure selection to using both physical and digital resources, to help them find and catch more fish. The seminar is always a highlight for me, because it allows me to meet and get to know many outdoorsmen and women in the community and talk ice fishing. Not only do I try to educate, but I also always learn something, because there's always someone in crowd who has knowledge that I do not possess and I'm eager to learn as much as anyone else. Past attendance has always been very good, hitting 85 last year, b

Staying Mobile

When fishing on the ice, we need to keep in mind the ways that we fish on the open waters as well. Meaning, we don't sit on one spot in the boat, we are always moving around in search mode, looking for the fish. Ice fishing should be taken the same way, if you aren't catching in one area, pick up and move to another, or, grab the auger and punch holes and keeping moving until those next fish are found. Yesterday was one of those days that you better drill a number of holes as the fish, weather and time of the day, were playing havoc on the catching that we wanted to be happening. Found the first location off of a point in 13 FOW and on the first drop, a nice 12 inch crappie came up. Fished t

Alexandria Area Report: Basin Crappie Slug Fest

With warmer than normal tempertures at this point of the ice season and the bite is HOT......who couldn't take these conditions? Right, and the ice conditions are very good on most of the small and mid-sized lakes. But on the larger lakes in the area you should still be careful in the areas where it just froze up in the last 7-10 days. The bite has been great when is comes to panfish and the walleyes have been good as well. We started our morning like we always do, waiting to see who will show up first and to see where we wanted to start fishing. Well, Rich got to the lake first and I was only a few minutes behind him. Then of course Mike shows up about an hour later. Have to laugh, but we w

Black Hills Fishing Report

The cold weather has finally come to the Black Hills and will be around for a bit consistently over the next couple of weeks. Temperatures won't be getting much higher than the low 40s for a while and the night temps are dipping into the near single digits. The larger lakes will finally start to lock up and join the smaller ponds and stock dams that have been walk able for weeks now. While there is some good early ice times coming soon, always err on the side of caution before venturing out onto unfamiliar ice. Bringing all the safety gear is still the most important thing you can have with you. Many of the smaller bodies have close to 6" or more on them now, but it is still important not to

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