Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.

January 26, 1998

Winter slows down ice fishing

It seems winter has finally arrived.

The landscape is covered in white, bone-chilling cold has paid a few visits, snowmobilers and cross country skiers are happy, ice conditions on our area lakes have improved, and just like every year in the doldrums of winter, the fishing has slowed down.

Last week, most anglers reported slow action and noted lakes that were producing fish just a few weeks ago are no longer giving up fish at even a fair pace.

Although this was not a typical year for ice fishing because of poor ice conditions early in the season, the pattern has not changed.

It's late January, winter is taking its toll, the fish are not biting at the same pace they were near the holidays, and the enthusiasm of most ice anglers has been buried in that same white stuff that is covering our landscape.

For ice anglers, the doldrums of winter are here and the enthusiasm to drill a hole won't be back until the snow starts melting and late ice sunfish start biting.

That's the norm or pattern for most hard-water seasons around here and for the most part, this season doesn't look like it will be much different. The fish won't stop biting completely, but the entire affair of ice fishing just loses a little zip in late January.

If you haven't lost your zip, Danny Radtke of Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted reported: Lake Ann is producing a few crappies to anglers fishing in the evening with small crappie minnows and glow jigs. Lake Mary is giving up a few sunfish and northern pike and also a few walleyes to anglers fishing off the bar on the northeast part of the lake. Small crappies are still hitting on Dog and anglers heading to Whaletail Lake are nabbing northern pike on shiner minnows.

Other reports from the area have sunfish still hitting on the western bays of Lake Minnetonka and Ripley.

Plan now

To find the best spot, get a good place to stay, and help ensure a quality outdoor experience, plan your summer fishing trips and fall hunting excursions now.

It takes time to collect information, check references, and make good decisions.

Read magazines, visit a sports show, call a chamber of commerce, and talk to people who have been there and done that. The more information you have the better.

In many cases, hunters and anglers go to the same place and do the same thing year after year.

They enjoy it that way and often, that place or activity is a part of a strong and long outdoor tradition. The system is simple, and doesn't take much planning or effort because they have done it for years.

However, there are always more, and sometimes better, things to do and see at that same old and wonderful place.

Do some extra digging and planning this year before you head off to keep a long tradition going. You may find a whole lot of fun and adventure that you never knew was there.

Outdoor notes

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