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I'm thinking we've got four guys posting right now in a row on this thread each holding nice Bside lakers in their avatars. How cool is that? gringrin

A few have already caught some big pigs this year. No need to wait until March! smilesmile

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Wanted to provide a follow-up report for all interested. In a word...tough. Got to the campground on Friday with a huge wind coming off the lake from the SW. Got set-up just before the rains came.

We had an incredible trip last year in the BWCA. Smallmouth action was the best I've seen it. The best that time of year were poppers, jerk baits, and wacky worms. Here's a video I put together of the

Mike Stark

that is pretty darn cool...i just cant wait till those 15-20lbers start to move in march...its going to be FUN!

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dont be givin up my secrets stark!!!! lol you will have to race me to the spots! Im running short on those 3 lbers for the smoker too dunno what it is but I have not caught a bluewater trout this year and your up there having all the fun!

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OK, now we're up to six Bside laker avatars in a row. Can we keep it up? gringrin

Mike, the larger fish you found late last season are just as hungry and active in January. It wasn't that you found a March big-fish pattern, it was that you found some big fish in shallow locations and it happened to be March when you found them. Not to take anything away from that. You lit up the world last March, and are doing darn well right now. smilesmile

And I'll add that the so-called shallow "pattern" is very much a hit-or-miss thing. It's really not a pattern at all, as even the real Bside old-timers who shared their shallow experiences with me three years ago couldn't find any pattern to when the fish were or were not shallow. Like hunting trophy muskies and big bucks, you can go quite some time without raising a fish. When you raise one (or sometimes several in a single day), they are BIG fish. Gets addicting, for sure. gringrin

And it wasn't ME who let the shallow cat out of the bag. I never told a soul about it. Lee, if you tell someone a secret, it's not a secret anymore. gringringrin

FWIW, my largest fish through the ice on Bside was a bit over 33 inches, and I believe it was a 13. I have caught five or six I'm confident were 12, with a few more 10 or 10+ lbers. So I figure I've pulled about 10 fish over 10 out of the Burntside ice. This is over eight years, though I feel like I've only had things pretty well dialed in the last three winters. Most of these fish came in January and February. A few of them came out of 10-15 FOW.

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Heres what I think about burntside pigs...its just my 2cents and not the laker law so please just take it as that. I agree with steve foss that they like it small ...one of my dilemmas with that is most of these small baits have small hooks and true they hook good my problem is 15 and 20lb plus lakers make big powerful runs and ive had smaller weaker hooks bend out switching to "slightly" larger hooks on my baits has helped me a bit but its not a cure all. I also think Big lakers and big fish In general I guess are not as willing to bite ..Its my belief that downsizing that line makes a huge differance I wish I could feel comfortable with 10 or 12lb test but I wont use nothing bigger than 6 in most cases,.. why do I believe this? because as soon as I made the switch I started catching big trout much more consistantly. But then again maybe Im just dreaming. Ive caught huge lakers in canada and a 20lb laker in itasca county and they raced in and hammered my bait...Ive never had a big laker on b-side hammer anything until I worked my bait with finnesse and percision and then ive only had a handful of those big comets on my flasher hit. Finally I dont think a big fat laker wants to chase smelt all afternoon think about what else they could be eating in there and mimic it and see what happens. Like I said this is just my 2 pennies on piglets I could write a book on what I "think" but Id rather go fishing!

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I forgot one thing ..... everyones probably going to disagree with me on this but im going to say it anyway.....Its really hard to catch a big fish If one isnt there!!! Even if its 5 degrees outside im the guy youll see with a camo coat bibs and bomber hat sitting on my orange walmart bucket...why because im an odds guy and I think you have better odds contacting a fish that wants to eat by moving...sure if you are in a good spot they will come through at some point during the day but I want to make the most of my time when I laker fish ""the same reason I sit in my treestand from dark to dark during the rut" on most days it might not mean squat but sooner or later it will make the differance between a piglet and just fish caught. Also consider how spooked lakers get with a big beam of light shining down your hole I always have mine full of slush....my brother likes to scoop his holes clean. My belief is more snow on the ice is better than a skating rink.

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I need to kick this cold long enough to get out and do some fishing. Then I might be able to join the group as well.

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I forgot one thing ..... everyones probably going to disagree with me on this but im going to say it anyway.....Its really hard to catch a big fish If one isnt there!!!

How can anyone disagree with that? gringringrin

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Mike Stark

all i am saying is that i am looking forward to fishing lakers in march...who doesn't look foward to fishing lakers in march? gringrin

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Wanderer

Originally Posted By: Wanderer
Hope you left some fish in the lake Mike!

Neighbor_guy and I just made the last minute decision to pack it up and head there this weekend. We thought we'd have another shot in Feb. but looking at the calendar, if we don't shoot up there this weekend, it'll be nothing until the Bash on March 13th.

That's just too dang long to wait.

What! Did Neighbor_guy get his sled fixed? Or are you two riding piggy back! grin

He'll be the jockey on my 95 440 2-up. It sorta became my wife's sled after I bought the 550 but she has yet to go on a ride outside of the yard this year. whistle

Thanks for the good luck wishes Mike and Steve cuz I'll take luck any day.

Lee, interesting you comment on the line size. My most productive set up for lakers has been a 28 inch walleye rod with 8 pound test. In fact that's what my avatar fish came on.

Who knows? But today I came home to a Jason Mitchell Mackinaw in my living room. I already put a Shimano bait caster with 12 pound test on it. Gettin anxious.... smile

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lol steve!!!! my thing with march is the weather.....it gives a guy much better options to be a mobile fisherman....my problem with march...consider last year when all the snow melted off the ice for a period of time ..i dont know about you guys but i couldnt catch a little shaker let alone a decent sized fish ..hell I dont think I even seen a decent band on my flasher.

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Steve, one of the things I started doing this year to help with the big bait small bait delima was to fish with a large bait in the active hand and about 6 ft away my second hole has a small bait on a rod about 6-8 ft off the bottom. if I can't get the fish to go on the larger bait I secure it about 5-6 cranks off the bottom, grab the second small bait rod and work it before the fish takes off for good.

So far no tangles but only smaller fish so far this year.

If I hook into pig I'll have to have someone reel up the other line.

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I had a great March last year. No fish over 10, but lots of 2-8s. I agree completely about the weather. March fishing is WAY more fun in its own way than January. Mobility doesn't matter much to me, since running and gunning for Bside lakers is more about suiting the fisherman than it is suiting the fishing.

Typically, on my own I fish one or two locations in a day. If I fish three or more it's because the clients want that type of activity. Windows open and close on Burntside, and who is to say that moving off one spot where you haven't seen much activity for a couple hours doesn't pull you away from a proven location just as a window is about to open. And who is to say that, when you get to that next proven spot and you catch fish right away, it's not because you moved, but because the window happened to open just after you moved? And who is to say that, had you stayed put, you wouldn't also have caught fish right there a bit later because the window opened?

Lots of ways to look at things.

That's just my way of looking at it, and that's all it is. There are a few times that all the instinct in my body tells me I should move, and then I do (and that move usually pans out), but by and large it's at least as productive hanging on a proven spot and staying alert for that Burntside window to open as it is running and gunning.

But of course some days it's just a lot of fun to run and gun, too. gringrin

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I have a mackinaw wanderer I love it!! Im just so used to a spinning reel Thats what I end up with. usually my wife or kids take the mackinaw because its tangle free with the bait caster...GREAT rod though! I wish i could have that rod with a spinning reel!

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I have a mackinaw wanderer I love it!! Im just so used to a spinning reel Thats what I end up with. usually my wife or kids take the mackinaw because its tangle free with the bait caster...GREAT rod though! I wish i could have that rod with a spinning reel!

I have a couple Mackinaws and like them alot (plus, it's just a VERY cool name for a laker rod). The spiral wrap is a real winner on a baitcasting rod. I'm hoping Jason Mitchell will come out with a nice stout 36-inch (short butt) and/or 40-inch (long-butt) laker spinning rod. That would be GREAT!

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Also wanderer my mackinaw has 12lb fireline crystal....but I still use a 3ft 6lb trilene flourocarbon leader. I believe in the trilene because its the only flourocarbon line that has not failed me as of yet ...If anyone has any suggestions on a better flourocarbon let me know just dont tell me vanish because ive lost more lakers on that [PoorWordUsage] due to breakoffs than I care to admit.

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Interesting. Vanish is the only fluorocarbon I ever used (when I was still bothering with fluoro leaders), and I never had a breakoff from it. Well, I was using it in 12 and 14 lb strengths, so that would be quite a bit more durable than 6 lb.

So many different perspectives and experiences out there. Take your pick and take your chances. God, I love fishing! smilesmile

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indeed steve...I was never willing to use 12 or 14 but one thing is vanish is alot thinner than trilene so pick your poison. 6lb trilene is probably like 10lb vanish so I should correct myself if your using vanish use the 12 or 14 if your using the new trilene use the 6. I guess im just salty at vanish cuz I lost some big fish and I cant forgive it yet!!! Me and my brother had the vanish trilene argument to the death last trip up to b-side so take what I say with a grain of salt!

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Seaguar floro ice leader material. Spendy but the toughest line I have ever used. I use 10 lb leaders and fireline. Make sure and check your mono after each fish. Good Luck

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Mike Stark

6lb is light...especially when your gettin those pigs...iv been using 12-14lb mono....you think lakers are that line shy?

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Cliff Wagenbach

Seaguar floro ice leader material. Spendy but the toughest line I have ever used. I use 10 lb leaders and fireline. Make sure and check your mono after each fish. Good Luck

I agree with the Seaguar Floro! Very good stuff!

I have had very good results using the 8# test on my tip-ups, rattle reels and on my summer lindys. Very strong and reliable.

Just remember to wet the knots before pulling them tight!

Cliff

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iv been using 12-14lb mono....you think lakers are that line shy?

Well, in my experience, no. I've settled on 12 lb Trilene XL as a good old faithful line. The 14 is a bit too heavy for what I generally do. I have one long heavy rod rigged with 17 lb mono in case I'm on water I know holds really big fish and want to target them with large lures, but Burntside being Burntside, I rarely take it out of the bag. I'd been running 15/4 braid on half my rigs and 12 lb mono on the other half, but so much of my fishing these days is outside the shack that I just swapped them all out for the mono. I may swap a couple back because we're into colder temps, and the next month probably will bring a lot more fishing inside the shack than outside.

I like the 15/4 best of all because it's very strong and very, very thin, but it just doesn't do the job as well when it comes to icing up.

I was running 14 lb XL with no different leader when I caught the 21.5 last May while trolling, and I've had on 12 and 14 XL for all my ice fishing trout over 10. As Surface Tension has pointed out a number of times over the years, lure weight/action will determine line choice quite often. Heavier lures require heavier line/rods to fish well. Really small or light lures fish better with light tackle. And the better the lure fishes, the better your fishing will be.

There are a couple guys on Bside who use 4 lb or 6 lb line on light panfish tackle and small jigs/waxies, and they ice trout when everyone else is shut down. Lakers, after all, are still trout, and sometimes trout just like it small. With gear like that, a silky smooth and properly set drag is vital or fish will break off regularly.

For my general run of lures, 12 XL on MH and H rods has worked really well. Now, have some of those big red bands that haven't hit been monsters that would have hit if I'd had light line on? Anything's possible, but you'd really have to convince me it's a line issue.

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Thanks Steve for the help. Here are a couple fish from last weekend. please help guessing size of the first one. I didn't have a scale or anything with so I took a couple pictures and let it go.

[img:center]Ely2010010-1.jpg

[img:center]Ely2010014-1.jpg

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Cool deal, Tyler! Looks like we're about to add another HSOer with a Burntside laker avatar. smilesmile

Hard to gauge size without knowing the size of your hands. If you have big hands, this is about a 6-7. If you have average hands, I'd say 5-6.

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Ive used seaguar for muskie leaders at times it works good...never tried small diameter stuff im sure it does the job.

Mark ...surface tension said it best...for the baits im using I get the best action with 6 lb test I hardly ever use airplane jigs or heavy baits but I also think they are line shy to an extent its clear water ...On most days it probably makes no differance but other days when that big slob swims into view it just might and thats what IM banking on i guess. As for a laker breaking me off I dont worry about the 6 lb too much as long as my drag is set and isnt freezing up out in the cold. The breakoffs that have happened were on vanish 6lb and in all reality thats like using 2 lb test in the thicker trilene that I use, had I been using 10 or 12 lb that probably wouldnt have happened.

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