First Ice: Always a Great Feeling


Finally, there may be a winter this year and hopefully it makes up for the lack of them the last couple of years. First ice always feels good being out there, but at the same time, great safety measures need to be taken as the newly formed ice sheet, will have irregularities to it.

The ice was setting up very nicely with the week of cold temps, then enters a mid-week snow storm leaving 6 inches of snow and that didn’t help the ice conditions. There are patches of snow on the ice and now, those areas need to be avoided as they have slush under them and a SPUD BAR is your best friend.

Once making my way through the maze of snow on the ice, made it to the area that I wanted to start my search for the crappie in the lake. Drilling many holes with the K-Drill, it was time for the search to begin while watching the Vexilar flasher.

Late morning conditions were sunny skies, light breezes and air temps in the upper teens. It didn’t take long and the fish were located on 30 FOW and hanging around near the bottom. Using the Clam Pro Tackle: Small Pea Slab Spoon with a Maki Leechi, the fish would come and look and proceed to inhale the bait.

This went on for a couple of hours with many fish caught ranging in the 11.5 to 13-inch range. Then the fun began, winds had shifted directions, you could feel the temperatures starting to drop and watching the flasher screen, the fish’s mood was changing as well as the weather.

The fish were becoming harder to find as drilling holes was more involved than fishing. Once you could find some fish, their mood had changed, they would come and look at your bait and either sit there and stare at it or move back downward away while leaving.

Changing through many lures, finally found that the smaller Clam Caviar Jig with a half of a Maki Mino Tail was the only thing that would get the fish to commit to the bait. The fish that were being caught now, the size had gone down considerably compared to earlier in the day.

The end of the trip didn’t happen the way it was hoped, but sure felt good being able to walk on water again. With early ice comes safety precautions that need to be watched, pay close attention to the ice conditions and have all your safety equipment with you. Spud bar is a definite item that you need now as the ice is far from uniform and this can tell you that before you get yourself into trouble.

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