With the last of the ice off all the lakes and ponds around the Black Hills, it was time to get my ice gear all put away after another good and long ice season. Always sorry to see the ice rods, Vexilar, Ice Armor suit, Clam shelters, and other gear get put away (or store elsewhere to use during the open water season), but I was excited to bring out the open water rods and tackle and start looking at places to hit for the early spring.
As usual, one of the first places I like to go is Pactola, since the rainbows are usually back in the shallow waters near shore looking for a meal and easier to reach after ice off.
Traveling light (two rods, net, and backpack tackle bag), I hit up a few areas that have usually yielded some good action in the past. I'm glad I wore my Blackfish Zenith jacket to keep the wind and cold at bay since it was a pretty chilly morning and it gave me lots of flexibility to cast with ease when I was wearing the backpack.
The action turned out to be pretty slow all morning, but the fish I did catch were very nice sized specimens and a good way to start my open water season here in the Hills. Using my favorite trout spoon, Northland Tackle's Buckshot Rattle spoon in 1/4 oz. size, I can cast quite a bit of distance on ultralight and light action rods with 4# test fluorocarbon line. Traditional spoons can work too, but the trout around here seem to love the action of the Buckshots, a more traditional ice fishing spoon.
It has been a very strange spring so far around here. We've had some nice days here and there, but it's been cold and rainy and the bite as a result has been a bit off. With some weather stability, the shoreline bite should start to pick up over the next couple of weeks. Here's hoping the next trip to Pac will bring in some more fish like these first ones! Tight lines everyone!