Fishing reports and lake information for Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota and South Dakota

2016 Articles

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February 2016

Aim For The O2 by Mitch Eagan
Imagine your home growing darker by the day, to the point you haven't seen sunlight in over a month. Moreover, your surroundings are growing colder by the day. In fact, it's so frigid that your muscles have become rigid; to the point it's all you can do to muster moving few feet…even to eat. And you're hungry. Oxygen is diminishing, too. Some areas are completely void of oxygen, while other pockets have just enough to sustain life. Thus, you migrate to where respiration is still an option. To say life's registering a zero on the fun-o-meter is an understatement. And with that lowly scenario in place, you now know what it's like to be a fish living in the Ice Belt during the dead ... more
The High Road for Panfish by Jason Mitchell
Panfish can suspend anywhere in the water column and a big equation for locating fish and putting together a pattern is dialing in that productive zone. Before electronics, anglers often fished down through the entire water column. The edge that sonar gives us today is that we can speed up the process of getting back down to fish which makes us more efficient. What also happens as we race back down to a school that might be fifteen feet below the transducer is we miss the high fish or leave fish that might not show up well on electronics. The reason today that high fish are so often overlooked is because when we use sonar, the cone angle is often merely a few feet wide at the most for ... more

January 2016

A Case to stay in Place by Dennis Foster
This overlooked strategy can pay big dividends as one of your best options for icing the biggest fish of the year. Before the run and gun crowd starts sneering and guffawing, hit the kill button on your augers long enough so you can hear for a moment and open your mind to the possibilities. Scrambling all over the lake and covering a lot of territory-particularly for perch-is indeed the best route…much of the time. That being said, I also relish a little down time-if you will-come evening in order to put some oversized mature walleye's on the topside of the ice. If you desire some pugnacious and portly pike, much of what I am about to relay holds equally true, just more of a late aft... more
The frozen surfaces of lakes, rivers and reservoirs across the ice belt represent the final frontier in angling. Ice thicknesses that are often measured in feet, air temperatures that hover near zero, and frigid winds that often carry frozen precipitation all represent physical, and even psychological barriers to ice fishing success. Over the last 5 years, however, advances in marine electronics that were initially designed to assist open-water anglers have begun to breach the final frontier, providing shelter-bound ice anglers the technological advances they need to enjoy sustained success throughout the months-long hard water season. As the first intrepid anglers begin to creep onto froze... more
Jimmy Buffet's classic song "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" kept running through my mind as I watched a food plot from a vantage point in a tripod stand about 140 yards away. The sun had just set in the frigid upper Midwest.The only activity on this food plot was a lone doe, which was rapidly fading from view as another mid-winter night silently reclaimed the landscape. I was quietly cursing myself for not wearing a couple more layers of clothes. A Polarfleece vest and flannel shirt weren't quite enough to cut the evening chill. But I was on a mission, determined to stick it out. The doe suddenly bolted into the pines, quickly disappearing into the darkness. For a few m... more
Back in the day, some people didn't go ice-fishing because they didn't like to be cold. While that may have been a valid excuse then, now there is no need to avoid ice-fishing due to the cold. We have all sorts of clothing and equipment that will enable us to stay comfortable on the ice. It is important to keep in mind that we want to stay comfortable, but not too warm. Too warm is just as bad as too cold, because if you get too warm you'll start sweating, and sweating will make you cold, and then there goes the fun. For some ice-anglers, an ice house is the answer for staying warm. I fish out of an Ice Castle sometimes: They're outstanding. You fish in jeans and a sweatshirt... more
It happens to me several times every winter. Someone that has not experienced the pleasures of modern ice fishing techniques asks me to take them panfish fishing. I gladly oblige. Each time out, there is quite a learning curve that must be gone through. The concept of seeing your bait on the Vexilar and being able to watch the fish as they respond to your offerings is quite fascinating. Learning to play the active fish that are higher in the water column is also essential. Holding the bait above the intended target to make it "chase" for its dinner is part of the process that must be taught and then learned by the novice ice angler. The trickiest aspect of the entire system is ge... more
One of my favorite winter fish species to chase is yellow perch. These fish grow big and feisty in some waters and are very tasty table fare too. Here is a look at some tips to put jumbos on the ice and in the frying pan this winter. The first step in finding winter perch is choosing the right body of water, targeting a lake with a reputation for producing jumbos is sound advice. Lots of Minnesota's bigger bodies of water host good numbers and good -sized perch as well. Mille Lacs, Leech Lake, and Winnibigoshish are three lakes that draw a great deal of winter perch angling attention. Closer to home, Ottertail Lake and Big Stone Lake are two favorites. Once a lake has been cho... more

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