Tackling Tough-Bite Midwinter Panfish

March 7, 2014

It’s gut-check time for anglers across the Ice Belt. The first-ice honeymoon is history—and with it the relatively easy fishing of early winter. That’s not to say good fishing is gone. Far from it. With the right techniques and mindset you can still score banner panfish catches.

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St. Louis River Walleyes

March 7, 2014

Of Minnesota’s major walleye destinations, the St. Louis River is among the most overlooked by the masses. Much is said about our five-star walleye factories like Mille Lacs and Lake of the Woods, but this rejuvenated fishery gets little press outside the Duluth area. Funny, because the river offers excellent opportunities for ’eyes of all sizes during the ice and open-water seasons.

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Spoonfeeding Winter Crappies

March 7, 2014

Crappie anglers have a variety of lure styles from which to choose in their quest for winter slabs. Common picks include various horizontal hangers, which are perfect for tipping with waxworms or plastics, and vertical teardrop styles that work so well with a variety of lively minnows. But few crappie hunters consider spoons their go-to lures, especially under tough-bite conditions. That’s a shame, because these metal masterpieces work wonders throughout the hardwater season.

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Sights Set On High Country Trout

March 7, 2014

Seeing is believing when it comes to ice fishing for trout in the Colorado Rockies. From inside a shelter, the ice appears lighted from beneath, and due to the extreme clarity of Colorado’s Antero Reservoir, you can peer down through an ice hole and see all the way to the bottom. If you watch for long, you’ll probably see several fat rainbows and Snake River cutbows swim though your hole.

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Maximize Your Panfish Bite

March 7, 2014

The depth finder reveals a pair of big crappies under the hole. Anxious to get the bait back down there, you let the spoon fall right to them…and they disappear. It happens all the time. Dropping jigs and spoons too fast can spook bluegills, crappies, perch and other panfish. Using aggressive colors and tactics can spook ‘em, too.

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Late-Ice Paradise

March 7, 2014

Some of winter’s finest fishing occurs at season’s end, and nowhere is this truer than on mighty Lake of the Woods along the Minnesota-Ontario border. I’ve fished both sides of this tremendous fishery at late ice, and have yet to be disappointed.

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Kick Off Ice Fishing With A Bang!

March 7, 2014

Safe-ice is coming soon to a lake near you. Here are some things to think about to make sure you start off the season with a bang. Few techniques attract big walleyes like bottom pounding. The technique is to lift the jig and let it sink fast to the bottom, sending out an auditory “thump” and kicking up puffs of bottom silt as visual attraction. Repeated “pounds” bring fish in to investigate.

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Cold Front Conundrum

March 7, 2014

A hard front has come crashing through and the fish have gotten tight lipped. Don’t throw in the towel. Instead, adapt your ice fishing strategies. Joe Scegura doesn’t like cold fronts, and he won’t try to profess some magical means for making a front your finest friend and finding the hottest action of the winter. The truth is that fish don’t tend to bite as well under high skies and after a sharp drop in the temperature, and sometimes it takes few days for the bite to recover.

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Live Bait Gathering and Keeping

March 7, 2014

When I was a youngster in the 1950s, the idea of buying live bait was never entertained in our household. "It's a waste of hard-earned money when you can get off your rear-end and gather all the bait you need," my father would tell me. "Trudging the creek with a seine or crouched over a wet lawn with a flashlight builds character."

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Jigging Rivers in Spring

March 7, 2014

High water in rivers in the Midwestern region of the United States last fall may be a good sign of things to come for walleye and sauger fishermen this coming spring. Experience has taught us that faster-than-usual current in autumn often triggers huge numbers of the fish to swim upriver in preparation to spawn. Larger than normal schools may be in place on or near traditional spawning sites by the time winter leaves and water temperatures rise to the 40's.

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