It’s been a while since we’ve ice fished the Petenwell Flowage in Adams Co. Wisconsin. It’s a wonderful fishery, and the crappie population has exploded over the last few years. We have fantastic weather, temperatures in the mid-30’s (℉), and hardly any wind. We are guided by Larry Smith, and he has a secret weapon, home-made tip-downs. For the fish that aren’t caught with the tip-downs, we’re jigging with soft crappie plastics or jigging baits - all of which are loaded with spikes. We have a good time with a great group of Larry’s clients, and catch a good mess of fish too!
Show Date: March 9th & 10th, 2013
Location: Newton Lake, Newton Illinois
Guides: [Matt Bichanich – Pro Bass Fisherman, Uncle Josh Pork Baits – unclejosh.com]
[Tab Walker, Guide – 618-752-5075 - outdoorsportsmanslodge.com]
Newton Lake is always one of our favorite spots to get some open water fishing in the midst of ice fishing season. It’s also a way for us to jump start the summer bass fishing season, because this lake never freezes. Newton Lake has a power generating plant operating on it, and the lake has two sides, a cold and warm side. Tab and Vicki Walker are our hosts and owners of The Outdoor Sportsman’s Lode, which is just a 1½ mile from the lake. They have wonderful lodging is a great companion to the fantastic fishing.
According to Wikipedia, Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is an Illinois state park on 1,775 acres in Jasper County, Illinois. The park's grasslands are home to the largest of the three remaining Greater Prairie Chicken flocks in Illinois. We didn’t see any chickens, but we did see plenty of largemouth bass. We were especially excited about this trip as the date drew nearer, because of the weather that was expected to arrive during our trip. The area was expecting wind mixed with snow and rain, in our experience on Newton Lake; the worse the weather, the better the fishing.
Lake Michigan Madness
Show Date: March 16th & 17th, 2013
Location: Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Guide: Charter Captain Brian Settele [414-559-9238 | fishchaserguideservice.com]
Lake Michigan is a very finicky body of water. Any angler we talk to that fishes the harbors around Milwaukee, Sheboygan, or Racine, tells us that a hot bite can be here one day, and gone the next; this is caused by the changing temps of the water.
The day we are out to fish is one that we won’t soon forget. We start out jigging, and don’t stop, especially since our day starts with a double-header. We jigged Vibratos, and casted Gulp. It seemed like whatever hit the bottom, was luring in these big fish. Battling big chunks of ice wasn’t a big deal with our big Lund, and a hot bite.
Last Ice with Dale
Show Date: March 23rd & 24th, 2013
Location: Sand Bay Beach Resort - Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Guide: Pro Guide Dale Stroschein [ 920-743-5731 | wackywalleye.com]
It’s late ice in Door County, and that means one thing, big walleyes! Dale Stroschein is our guide, and we’re fishing right in Sand Bay, where his wonderful resort is located. We have a special guest with us in Jim Fritz, who’s friend won the Humminbird/Mills Fleet Farm contest. Jim walked away with a fantastic Humminbird ICE 385ci combo, and a televised trip with us.
The great thing about Door County fishing, is that you fish for the monster walleye in the mornings and evenings; and whitefish all day. There is constant action, which is always good, and you have a chance to catch a fish of a lifetime.
Canada Ice Fishing Adventure
Show Date: March 30th & 31st, 2013
Location: Lake of the Woods, NW Angle of MN
Accommodations: Flag Island Resort [FlagIslandResort.com]
Guide: Ray King [807-852-1425]
It’s the last ice of the year, and we like to go out with a BANG! We always like to do something special for our last ice fishing trip each year, and this week is no different. This year we’re fishing the massive Lake of the Woods, which has nearly a million acres of water, and over 14,500 islands. With that much area, we needed to consult with a professional, and a local. Our man is Ray King, he has been fishing this lake for his entire 48 year life, some of which he worked with his dad as a commercial fisherman. His parents settled here in the 1940’s, and the lake has always been a part of their lives.
We first met him while he was guiding on Long-Legged Lake this summer. He told us wild stories about massive 15” crappies that he could catch practically every day in the winter. We were a bit skeptical, until he produced a bounty of photos proving his point. He invited us to join him for some late winter crappie fishing, and we’re glad we did. The crappie fishing however is just the tip of the iceberg, with walleye, pike, and our favorite table fair eel pout; we got the best of just about every facet of this lake in the winter.
Jigging is the main event on Lake of the Woods, and our crappie spots produced a few nice walleye as well. In the evenings we set our for trophy walleye jigging, and trophy pike on tip-ups. Jigging lures, such as the Vibrato or a spoon worked well; but Ray always went for the ‘ol standby - a jig and live minnow. Dead shad was what we put out for the pike.
We had a great time, with just a few complications. Thanks to all that helped us when the weather wasn’t cooperative! You made our trip a blast!