Ice Team

2012-2013 Ice Annual

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"Bluegills over a pound are true giants, and are as tough to find as nine pound walleyes. " works wonders. When fishing gets fast and furious a nail tail or small wedge of plastic will do the trick. Since light tackle is necessary, light line is also needed. one to three pound test works great for finicky bluegills. Spooling this through a light action ice rod works well. If you want to add finesse, add a spring to the tip to detect even the lightest bites. Any decent reel with a good anti-reverse and a decent drag system will do the trick. Fly reels like the new Dave Genz Fly Reel work great as well, as fly reels don't coil the line like tradi- tional spinning reels. If you can acclimate to using a fly reel, it's highly suggested in less than 20 feet of water. No matter where I'm fishing, deep or shallow, far or near, I always have my Fish Trap ProTC sliding behind me. It's the perfect size to carry all of my gear, is light enough to keep on the rear rack of my snow machine, and is dark enough to allow me to sight-fish for blue- gills in shallow water. It also keeps me warm; allowing me to chase my favorite target in the nastiest weather Minnesota has to offer. Pinning 'em Down Every lake is somewhat different, but in general, blue- gills start their winter in the same place they were in the late-fall, suspended over deeper water. Some of my best big bluegill spots during early ice are very close to, if not mixed in with great crappie fishing. The bluegills will often just ride lower in the water column. Once the mid-winter doldrums strike, work- ing over thick stands of cabbage that still have life to them, or looking for fish riding high in the basins are places to be. When I say riding high, I mean 8 feet down over 40 feet of water at times. Don't dismiss extremely high blips if you're working over deep basins. Even deep weed edges on many Minnesota lakes are great areas to try. Late ice is the time to look for warmer water, or moving water. Shallow bays that warm quickly or near creeks or rivers are great spots, as the weeds will come back to life, and nearly every organism in the ecosystem will move toward these areas to feed. If you plan to trophy hunt for 'gills, plan to fish basically anywhere, and plan to burn through a pile of gas in your auger. Set the Hook Sunfish are a very volatile species, and should be taken in moderation. Size is also a thing one must look at when determining their catch for the day. Big male sunfish protect beds, and ensure that our children have the great panfishing that we've had available to us. Remember to only keep enough for a meal, and let the big boys go! THE ICE ANNUAL << ICE TEAM.COM 33 Funny shirt. Important cause. Get yours and see this year's Recycled Fish "On Ice" Tour schedule: I am more than an ice fisherman. Sure, I release big fish. But that's just the start. I'll keep a few mid-sized fish for the table. I also clean up trash any time I see it, even if it isn't mine. What goes on my lawn and in my shopping cart matters, too, because my lifestyle runs downstream. I am a steward.

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