Saturday, February 22, 2014

the winter is dragging

The winter is dragging, and I'm about to scream. All I want is a fly rod in my hands and flowing water. I really believe that I was bred for warmer conditions then this.

Ice fishing is what keeps me going in the winter and more of a chance to hang out with friends and family while waiting for the thaw.

Fishing in the last few weeks has been pretty slow. While we have been on top of fish both times I've fished its been a lot of sniffers. Spent 3 hours out with my brother in law tonight and for the first hour and a half I was scared that we weren't actually going to catch a fish.

Things turned on in the last hour and we each got some bluegills and he took the tip up bass.

Winter is old but I think I'm going to give this ice fishing another go tomorrow...

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

fox chain of lakes ice conditions

The winter of 2013-2014 has been quite frankly an ice fisherman's wet dream. Early ice, thick ice, and willing fish it really doesn't get much better then that. On the flip side, it has been a long and cold winter and every time it wasn't blistering cold, it snowed. Ahhh yes, payback is a bitch Mother Nature.

In the waning days of winter it is most important for ice anglers to take the necessary precautions to stay on the right side of the ice. While we currently have over two feet of ice on most lakes, not all areas on the Fox Chain have safe ice. High current areas and channels connecting the lakes never should just be assumed safe. Even this winter, the coldest in memory, there is open water and thin ice visible.

Here's to staying topside, catching a few more fish before the end of winter, and stocked fly boxes by spring.
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Saturday, February 15, 2014

fox chain of lakes ice fishing report

Neal spent a few hours out on the Fox Chain of Lakes today, fishing about 100 yards of an ice party. He said fish were schooled up and active. Pretty good news as we are heading out tomorrow to try some new spots. Jigging rap was responsible for all the fish in the picture...
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

skandia tungsten ice jigs for big panfish

Its been a few years since I first added Skandia tungsten ice jigs into my winter time tackle box. Tungsten has really made a huge impact in the ice fishing scene in recent years. Nearly twice as heavy as traditional lead, tungsten allows jig manufactures to make lower profile jigs at half the size as before. Finicky fish often prefer a more diminutive profiled ice jig and with tungsten you can have low profiled jigs without sacrificing the weight.

skandia ice jigs
Tungsten also eliminate the need for the use of split shot. These jigs fall fast enough to get your bait down to the fish quickly, very helpful when fish are packed up. You may have only a minute before the school moves off and so being able to make rapid presentations makes sense. Get your baits down to fish more quickly.

skandia hook sizes

Tungsten jigs penetrate better then lead. That's right, penetrates. It punches through slush filled holes as well as through weeds, helping get your baits down to fish level. I've also experienced times when all the big fish are on bottom and slow falling jigs couldn't get down quick enough past the small fish hanging out up high. Tie on a tungsten a drop that bait like a rock.

bluegill on tungsten ice jigs
Spring bobbers sometimes are too sensitive to use with the heaviest sized tungsten jigs. When using a spring bobber with these jigs, I normally don't use the heavier jigs that I would use on a rod with no spring bobber. With that being said, heavy jigs can make your everyday ultra light ice rod even more sensitive. With all that extra weight, even the slightest jiggle can now be felt all the way through the rod and down to the handle.

I will never fully give up on my lead jigs because they have many practical applications in ice fishing but the benefits of these tungsten bombers are here to stay.  
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Monday, February 3, 2014

winter time pond management

When a pond of 10 acres or so is over run with stunted pan fish, winter is an excellent time to put in some work to improve the overall health and quality of the fish populations. I'm no biologist but why do panfish become stunted?

My Humble Thoughts

-Lack of food, too many mouths to feed in this family and not enough food to go around. A scary reality for this little ecosystem, and it all but ensures that there are no fat kids. 

-Lack of diversity in the gene pool, everyone here is cousins. Seriously though, serious inbreeding can produce some weak stock. 

-Lack of predators, this goes for natural predators and unnatural types that walk above the water. Time for the DNR to open up the bag limit here. 

Plan Of Action

- a modest culling program should be enough on a small body of water to make an impact in bluegill populations

- introduce a new gene pool into the pond

- inject some baitfish 

Maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic for a small subdivision pond but why not try to make some changes in the way you fish it that could improve the overall health of the fish and fishing. The pond does have a few things going for it though, it gets to 12 feet and in general it drops off quick. Also there aren't too many people fishing it. As we weeded our way through some of the gills this weekend we were pleasantly greeted with a few surprises.  

The future here is looking bright...
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