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Chill62

Well I figured its getting that time of the year and people are itching to get out on the ice.  I know I have started ordering gear and it's starting to be delivered so it's like Christmas opening up packages.  I hope with the cold temps I'll be deer hunting this weekend and I'm hoping to be fortunate enough to get my deer and start ice fishing next weekend.  Buddy in the area is expecting in 7-8 days he will be getting out on the ice.  With that being said please do not trust any ice reports as ice conditions can change and I personally don't trust anything unless it's pictures on a bump board to prove thickness.  I've heard there are a few apps on your phone to share thicknesses but then again your still trusting that person with their 4" of good ice statements.  

 

First ice safety for those that might get out earlier than you normally do here's a few things I do.

1. Find a buddy

2. Wear a life jacket (I'll take it off after I punch holes in an area and know that area is safe BUT I will wear it while traveling back again)

3.  Use a spud bar or chisel to verify you have good ice as you walk out

4. Stop and measure along your travel

5. Hug shoreline to avoid deeper holes that possibly froze later and might be thinner.  

6. Pack light (use 1 pound propane tanks instead of 20# tank, do you need all that gear?)

7. If it warms up during the day to above freezing remeasure ice thickness.  We lost an inch one day while fishing and went from 5.5-6 inches down to 4.5 so it made us nervous and left soon after we realized it was loosing that much ice.

 

Please be careful everyone wants to ice fish but if you fall through first ice and get hurt you're missing a lot of good ice fishing weather.

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Chill62

Buddy made it out on Friday on a small lake and had 3.5 inches of ice.  Hearing reports from others that a lot of lakes were 2-2.5 inches and they backed off the lake after finding that.  Also heard reports that some of the bigger lakes the wind yesterday ate up a ton of ice but this morning the lakes really refroze quickly and further out.  I personally tagged out Sunday for deer so I'm switching gears this weekend and going to try to get some fish on top of the ice.  I'd assume a lot of lakes will be walkable by the weekend but avoid current and deeper holes unless you are checking ice thickness.  I'm hoping to get out Saturday and Sunday if I can find a fishing partner, buddy is looking at 3-5 lakes tomorrow and Thursday.  Looks like tonight I have the project of respooling line and getting ready for the weekend.

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Chill62

Made it out Friday in northern Becker County.  Found 4 inches at the access and when I started going across the lake we found 5....6....6.5 .... then 7.... then finally 7.5 inches!  Lake average was 6 to 6.5 inches of nice clear ice.  We fished from 10-23 feet of water chasing blue gills and crappies.  Usually they are up shallower 10-18 but we actually did better out deeper than shallower.  Brother did great I couldn't buy a bite!  Saturday went south by Dent had 6 inches of ice at shore went to a big crack at 12 feet and other side of the crack was 3 inches.  We never crossed the crack.  Went to a different lake as a result had a solid 6-7 inches all the way across the lake and when we were out there we couldn't buy bites.  Few fish came in at dark but then it started to rain and I wasn't in the mood to get rained on while ice fishing sitting on a bucket.  I'll head out Saturday is my plan due to birthday party on Sunday evening that I was informed we are hosting.

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Rick
2 hours ago, Chill62 said:

WOW that sums up tonight. Nothing from 1-3 but from 3 till after dark when the girlfriend said time to go was WILD. Tungstens tipped with soft plastics and a wax worm. Crappies were coming up 3+ feet to fight over the jig. Released a 13 inch and a ton of gills and crappies non stop. Was in 12 feet with all the fish coming through at 10 feet. I didn't move from same hole the whole time. 

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[email protected]@💥💙💚👍💚👍😁

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Chill62

Thanks rick. We were catching them too fast and furious to get more pictures. it was her first trip out for season so was glad we got some action. 

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leech~~

Chill62, you weren't the crazies I saw way out on Round or Northlong lakes yesterday when I drove by a wide open Gull lake were yea? 😯

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Chill62

I was in Becker County. There were 4 wheeler tracks out there so I'm thinking you were looking at other people. we walked out and 7.5-9 inches of ice if we don't get hit next weekend with the storm I'll try to get out with the ranger 

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smalliehunter

I'm from southern Minnesota.  No good ice here.  Anyone wanna throw me a bone with a lake that has good ice and crappies?  I would love to make a day trip tomorrow.  I don't have a snowmobile or four wheeler.  I'll be on foot and alone.  Pm me or post here.  Thank you everyone.

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Chill62

Travel right now is very sketchy.  A buddy is out and every lake he's been on so far is flooding.  MN DNR LakeFinder is a great app to check out lakes in the area, see depth contours, and check netting data.  We use that as a start to finding which lakes a person should starting looking at closer for where to fish.  

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IceHawk

Looks like a awesome trip the smiles on the kids faces say it all!

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Chill62

When I was drilling holes for people and I could hear screams and squeals over the noise of my auger drilling holes it makes the trip worth it for me.  We have dubbed this trip Dad's and Lad's, its a get away for dad's and their sons to enjoy the outdoors, spend a night away from home and usually catch a lot of fish.  A set of twins were competing against each other last year and one of the kids was over 9 fish landed.  Not many kids can say they've caught trout through the ice and in this setting it's a lot of fun because of the aggressiveness of the trout.  I have a feeling we'll be doing a 3rd Annual trip in 2020.

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Borch

Sounds like a fantastic weekend!   Gotta love it when the kids are catching fish.

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AlwaysFishing23

Looks like a very enjoyable weekend for you guys Chill62! Your ranger setup looks real slick! Jealous! 

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Chill62
1 hour ago, Borch said:

Sounds like a fantastic weekend!   Gotta love it when the kids are catching fish.

 

The trip is a fun time and we have been blessed with warm favorable conditions the last two years I've helped set it up.  Just hope it keeps up that way because every trip prior it was -20 or worse temps.

 

1 hour ago, AlwaysFishing23 said:

Looks like a very enjoyable weekend for you guys Chill62! Your ranger setup looks real slick! Jealous! 

 

Thanks!  We've put a lot of work into it so far.  It isn't new but its new to us and that is the only way we could get what we wanted with the features we wanted.  Having a heated cab is amazing when going across the ice we actually had to take our jackets off prior to traveling across the ice.  I we made the rack for the back for hauling gear and giving us a little more space (PVC).  Ice fishing is our favorite season and when we figured we spent last year from weekend before Thanksgiving to April 22nd area on the ice every weekend its an investment that we will use.  We also plow out 5-7 driveways at the lake for neighbors so it helps cut down on the amount of time I am spending plowing when I have a 72" blade instead of a 60" 4 wheeler blade and not enough power to push big piles.  

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Lotharski

Thanks Chill, I really enjoy reading your posts.  On a quick update for me, I went out for the first time of the year on Nov. 23rd on a small lake by DL.  Had around 5" of ice and had to drill about 40 holes before we found the crappies and gills.  They were not super aggressive, but we were able to land one limit of keeper size crappies and also some nice gills.  Went out for the second time on Dec. 7th by Lake Park.  With the warm weather, still only found about 5" of good ice and 3" of slush on time.  Fishing was much slower and only caught a few perch.  Thank goodness for the Muck Arctic Armor boots for keeping the feed dry and warm in that slush!!

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Chill62

Thanks for report. Glad to see when others give reports so doesn't feel lopsided. 

 

Went out tonight. Holy heck was it on fire!!  31 feet of water and from 18-26 crappies were stacked up on top of each other. From 230-630 I used a total of 3 Ripper soft plastics by Panfish Pirates and I wouldn't be shocked if was flirting 200 fish with 90% crappies all without a wax worm!! Biggest was 12.75 with average being 11.75 estimate. for two hours I was averaging one almost per minute. was insane tonight. Didn't catch anything huge but wide assortment of ages. 

 

4 mm wonder bread glow with a ripper plastic. 

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JerkinLips
      It may be unkind but I don't know how putting the snow back that you removed would be unlawful.  Don't shoot the messenger; I am just passing along what I have heard.  I travel by snowmobile so I couldn't care less about plowed roads.  To me they are just a hazard for sledding. That being said, the people that used the plowed road today were very considerate.  They pulled well off of the road and kept a fair distance from others. I took a sled ride from McKinley Park to Fortune Bay and encountered at least 6 patches of slush.  I saw a couple of spots were 4 wheelers drove through slush; looks like they had a hard time.  I saw several 4 wheelers getting stuck in the deep snow today.  They would back up and take another run to keep going.  Traveling is very difficult for most wheelers.  I did see one Jeep on the lake just outside of McKinley Park bay. Good luck fishing and traveling on Lake Vermilion.
    • eyeguy 54
      The rod silly. 😁
    • knoppers
      was planning on heading up to the cabin this weekend to do some snowmobiling, but since I had to ride across my lake I decided to wait. they had some good ice early, but then the warm weather, then 18 inches of snow, I would guess the lake is a mess. last report I had from a week ago, was no snowmobile or wheelers have been out on the ice.
    • monstermoose78
      It was good ice
    • Kettle
      Yea I definitely understand wanting to fish your "home lake." I'm the same way hence while a walked through the slush today, fishing was worth it and I didn't feel the need to exercise after getting home tonight. The conditions will definitely hamper a lot of people's plans. It's a bummer but thinking back it has been quite a few years of ideal conditions so I should feel fortunate for that!
    • eyeguy 54
      Like the black ice?
    • HunterFisher11
      Ok so let me start off with I don’t have a big truck with a V-plow, but did make one for my wheeler so I could get on and off with no help from any one else, and I can not tell you how many times I have helped people to get there stuff off the lake.. So long story short many years ago I spent 8-10 hours plowing a road (at that time just had a straight blade plow) and then set down the fishhouse and did not even drill a hole just to tired!!!!! Yep you guess it.... woke up and had a village around me, well that is the way it goes??? So a couple days later decided to move, well got my truck and fish house stuck and had to unhook my fishhouse and hand shovel to get my truck unstuck hook up a chain to get my fishhouse turned so I could hook up again, while there was two guys drinking coffee not more then 15-20 yds away that did not lift a finger to help, so went home got the wheeler and as I was coming back out they stopped me and asked if I could help them out!!!!!! Yep really!!!!!! So second story have a uncle that had his kid that has a plow to punch a road to his fishhouse so he did well one day he is coming off the lake and some one decided to put his wheel house right on the road!!!!! So he knots on the door and the guy told him well sucks to be you!!!!!!!! So you wonder why these guys get a bit upset????? Not to mention going out to my house and having holes drilled I don’t no inches around my house!!!!!!!!! Yep it is not you doing it but yep kind of really makes a person upset!!!!!! Man they need to realize that the guy that made that road is your life line to get off also!!!!!! So like JerkinLips said if you happen to see a person keeping the road open toss him some money or in my case some beer, will make your life a lot easier when you want to get off...
    • Rick
      Nice!
    • smurfy
      we are on a smaller lake by spring lake. there was 7 inches of ice already the 3rd weekend of deer hunting, at least where I checked. but there was no snow out on the lake at that time. with your report i'm sure there's more then enough slush out there. I've been fishing that lake since I've been 6 years old. 
    • AlwaysFishing23
      Got out this afternoon for a few hours and found the landing parking lot to be a drifted rutted up mess. Was able to throttle my way in and barely not getting stuck. Found 6-7” of good hard clear ice. Fish were not lacking today that’s for sure.  I caught between 100-200 gills and crappies and a few perch mixed in. Gills ranged from tiny to 8” and crappies were all 8-9”. 4-6” of snow and no flooding going on. Fish were stacked and I was able to sit and catch one after other while staying nice and toasty in the otter. Fun afternoon and got to put the clam drill plate to use and all I can say is wow! That thing is the best auger I’ve used and definitely will change the way I fish. Should be able to use it all season besides drilling spear holes which I’ll leave to the solo. Fun trip! Tentatively planning on skipping next Friday and heading up north to do some spearing. Lake I’m gonna try has for sure 4” so good for walking but was hoping to take the new snowmobile up with me and use that for transportation so we will have to see if I’ll be able to or not. Back down to -20 tonight and barely above 0 tomorrow. 
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