Hooked on Hardwater 2020

This past weekend, I had the extreme honor of being invited to participate in the Club for Boys Hooked on Hardwater event. Most of us across the Ice Belt, have become familiar with the Hooked on Hardwater event that takes place in the Black Hills of South Dakota, thanks to coverage on fishing shows and across social media over the last seven years. Ice Team Pro, Craig Oyler and his dad, created this event several years ago, where 60 ice fishing pros from across the country are paired up with one boy, sometimes two, from the local Boys Club and spend an evening playing games at the Club and then a morning ice fishing together. What the event does and what it means to those involved is far fr

Midwinter Doldrums Are Here!

As usually happens this time of year, the midwinter doldrums are upon us. A combination of thick ice, dying vegetation depleting oxygen in shallow water, and over 2 months of fishing pressure, has scattered fish across most of the Hills lakes. This is the time of year when things get a bit more interesting on the hardwater and patience and searching are often the name of the game. Some usual spots can still produce, though fish quantity and quality go down. Such was a case on a recent trip as our current doldrums were kicking in. I invited some friends and their 2 kids out onto the ice up at Deerfield to see if I could get them on some trout action as I usually do when taking beginners out o

Getting Kids on the Ice and Outside

Over the past few seasons, the young boys of friends of my wife and I have looked forward to an annual trip up to Iron Creek Lake near Spearfish, SD to get on the ice and maybe catch a few fish. I bring all the gear for them and they and their dad, enjoy a couple of hours of time on the hardwater. Last year's trip resulted in some iced fish as well as sledding time for Skylar and his little brother Noah. Dad Ryan then did most of the fishing. While the fishing on Iron Creek has never been great, when I can get up to take them out, there's always some fish caught. Well this year, only Skylar decided to come, and Ryan was working, so his uncle Curtis agreed to take myself and Skylar up to the

Group Trip Fun

Over the past few seasons, I've been taking or meeting groups of people often on the ice, often many with varying levels of experience. But a short time ago, I arranged for a large group of people to meet me on the ice through the Outdoor Campus-West here in Rapid City as a follow-up to my seminar there from last month. Total attendees included 12 who signed up for the trip, plus 6 interns from the Campus! I didn't have enough flashers for everyone, but the Campus provided plenty of other gear so that everyone would have a chance to fish and stay comfortable. I picked a new area in the Gold Run area of Deerfield to bring them to that would allow for us to spread out and have chances to move

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