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2012-2013 Ice Annual

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NORTH COUNTRY BLUEGILLS PIE PLATES E PINNING DOWN // MATTHEW J. BREUER over a pound are true giants, and are as tough to find as nine pound walleyes. Like any other fish, searching out lakes that hold good numbers of big fish increases your odds exponentially. Luckily for me, I live in the heart of big 'gill territory, Minnesota's north country. The North Country In Minnesota the term "north country" is commonly tossed around, accepted by most people as anything north of Lake Mille Lacs, all the way up to the bor- der. I realize that the top third of the state seems like a huge area to concentrate on, but there are definite hot zones for panfish to work over. The Detroit Lakes area, Alexandria, Bemidji, the Iron Range, and the Brainerd area are all spots to call home for your next ice adventure. Most lakes in the north are classified as mesotro- phic or eutrophic, or fall somewhere in between. This means that most lakes in the area contain above aver- age nutrient content, and are generally somewhat clear. Plankton and other micro-organisms are abundant, and panfish are allowed to thrive. 32 ICE TEAM.COM >> THE ICE ANNUAL veryone loves bluegills. They are abundant, rel- atively easy to locate, pack up in tight schools, and taste like little nuggets of butter. Finding trophy class bluegills is another story. Bluegills Gear Up MATTHEW A lot of anglers get out after bluegills with the sim- plest of gear. Since I'm a bit of an addict, my gear is as important and specialized as my wife's kitchen utensils. Everything is well coordinated, from the weight and size of my shelter, the way I set up my electronics, down to the rod, reel, line, and tackle I use. J. BREUER A professional fishing guide and the owner of North Country Guides and Promo- tions. Matt's versatility on the ice has allowed him to consistently catch trophy fish in all spe- cies. He also appears in many publications, both cited and as an author. stiff hooksets and less baits being spit out by clever bulls. Tipping these baits with two waxworms or eurolarvae Electronics are obviously the most important part of any set up. A Vexilar FL-22HD is my preferred weapon, as it allows me to see even the slightest separa- tion from the bottom or a stalk of cabbage, as well as the separation between my jig and a neutral to negative bluegill. The unit is sen- sitive enough that I can tell when I lose a single eurolarvae. Small jigs like the Lindy Toad or Bug work wonders for icing big 'gills. Colors vary from lake to lake, so carry a variety. Both baits have offset hooks, which results in

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