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Mid March Ice Fishing

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I'm coming back to do some late season ice fishing March 15-19. I know St.James/Hanska/Long/Cedar/Sleepy Eye lakes. Any suggestions? I will have two teenage boys with me. I was born and raised in St.James. Now I live in Plano, Texas which is a subarb of Dallas, Tx. If anyone out there can hook me up with some local knowledge and equipment, that would be great!



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Eric Wettschreck

Augie1, welcome to FM!!

I'm not very familiar with the lakes you mention. I'm farther southwest. I'll be fishing Sarah, Shetek, Lime, and Bloody for crappies and perch.

A very good combo for both crappie and perch is an 1/8 oz Rattlin Varmit tipped with a minnow head or waxies on one line, and a deadstick with a minnow on the other. The Rattlin varmit has a glass bead that rattles and attracts the fish. Sometimes they will hit the varmit, sometimes they hit the deadstick. I like the glow red and perch colors. If you don't have any, you can find them by clicking here.

Go-Devils and Glow Demons work very well also. I use the same setup. Jig with one line, deadstick with the other. If you need Go Devils, you can find them here.

Good luck to ya!!

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st.james has been good but there is no size to them so if want a meal and just want to go fishing st.james would be the best bet.

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Augie, I would also suggest getting some small plastics, like a ratso or nuggie. A lot of the time, when meat doesn't work, just the little flicker of a plastic tail on a small jig works. I use the JB lures like Boilerguy said as well, but have really found down here the small stuff really does attract them and intice a bite.

Another good key is making sure for the panfish you don't use too heavy of line. it really does make a difference, and make sure you don't have your drag too tight, give it some play, those soft mouths on crappies tear easy, play em, don't horse em!

Good luck, keep checking back to see where a bite is hot closer to your arrival date.

Boy I used to love my summer days in St James when my dad was playing fast pitch there all the time. I even have a good scar on my chin to remind me of St. James my whole life!!!

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I haven't been home since X-mas to fish the lakes but I can give some general advice.

St. James is probably your best bet for the lakes you listed. The action is fairly hot all day until dark. Some bluegills get over 8" so they are "keeper" size. Between 3 of you, you should have some success. (Just head out to the middle where it's deeper)

Long lake was pretty worthless over X-mas although I guess some people were catching Northerns (But the season is done) Panfishing is minimal on that lake.

Cedar is much like Long, I wouldn't expect much

Kansas is probably the same, although I never fished it over X-mas

Sleepy Eye is a lot like St. James with a lot of bluegills (BUT SMALLER) and perch as well. It could provide some fun but small size.

I know people catch Walleyes (season closed) on Hanska but I never hear much about panfish. When I was younger we caught some real nice gills but that was 10 years ago.

There are some other lakes that may be good if you head West towards Windom.... I wont say names but check out the DNR site if you want.

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