Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weather keeping people indoors

Don't become one of those indoors folks because of the weather. Even on these bitter cold days, try and get outdoors for some fresh air and a chance to move around more than you get going from the Lazy-Boy to the fridge.
Be sure and dress warmly keeping exposed skin covered.  And stay out for a few minutes at a time, with the idea of going out several times a day in brief chunks of time.
While cross country skiing and snow shoe participation are up with all the snow, in the bitter cold only the die hard, very committed people are out on the trails.
Besides getting some exercise and fresh air, you'll be getting that much needed vitamin D if there is any sunshine, all helping to ward off season affective disorder (SAD).
At any rate, stay active, but be warm while you're doing it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter brings good biz for local stores

On the phone, Ken Neely sounded so busy it might have been hard for him to talk for a few minutes. Neely and his family own K.D. Outdoors in Waterford.
It's pretty much THE spot to head to for fishing and hunting questions along with information about what is happening on the local scene.
'This winter has been one of top three seasons we have had," he said. "It's a far cry from three years ago when there wasn't any ice."
The hot lure this year is a locally made jig called a Laser Minnow and Neely stocks them. "They're being used on Maceday Lake for lake trout," Neely said.
"i can tell you the colors that are working for just about all species of fish. Purple and pink seem to be doing it for everything," he said.
Neely says he sold out of ice shacks and augers."I can't even order anymore," he said. Lakes in the area that are producing include Union Lake for gills and perch, Lake Oakland for gills.
Pro staffer Jeff Sowa with nice Lake Gogebic pike. Photo by Beukema

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saginaw Bay to welcome ice fishing school

The final Ice Fishing Vacation School this year will be held February 9-12 on Saginaw Bay. Catching fish is probably more secondary on this body of water. That's because of it's changing conditions.
People ask me where to fish on the Bay. My answer is either to check with a good, local, reliable bait shop like Frank's Great Outdoors in Linwood or talk to someone that lives near the water and fishes it regularly.
That's because the route you took yesterday or two days ago to get to you spot may be open water the next time you fish it.
It's a must to have a compass or GPS and know how to use them. "We are always looking for pressure cracks in the ice," school leader Mark Martin said.
"The cracks we cross going out in the morning may not be very large. But by the time we come in; usually after dark, wind may have caused them to open up too wide to cross meaning we have to find another way to cross to get back to shore."
It's important everyone stays together and doesn't start wandering off to check other locations.
Sunday will be check in day along with some seminars from the pro staff consisting of how they have fished the bay, what they used and how they were rigged up.
Be prepared to have your ice rod and reel and whatever lures you think you'll use with you. At the end of the program everyone will get a chance to rig up under the guidance of the staff so that you're ready to go the next morning.
For more information on the school visit fishingvacationschool.com or call (231) 744-0330 or (231)740-6427.
Mark Martin holding yellow disc working with student on equipment rigging.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cold, snow, ice and remote locations make for difficult internet connections

Just back from the extreme end of the UP; Lake Gogebic to be exact in weather a polar bear would stay denned up in.
Everyone in our group trying to send and receive emails or get on the net were having difficulty. The signal would come and go depending on what the wind wished to do.
The favorite word around Mark Martin's fish camp was "brutal." That in a nutshell described the conditions we experienced on the ice trying to stick a few fish.
Next up is Mark Martin's Ice fishing school on Saginaw Bay out of Linwood. Closer to home, it attracts anglers from downstate.
A word about these schools is in order. Lots of folks sign up to go fishing with Martin who is he original walleye champ on the PWT circuit. He's known for his informative seminars, availability to audiences and the ability to catch fish when no one else can't.
During these schools, Martin makes himself available at pre-fishing seminars, then once on the ice, he gets around from shack to shack offering advice and tips about how to fish better.
Not everyone comes away with a sack of keepers. There are some who are down in the mouth because fishing wasn't what they expected.
Just because you are fishing with a competent, qualified professional like Martin, doesn't necessarily mean the fish are going to jump in the hold the moment you clean one out.
In ice fishing, there is much moving around to try and locate schools of fish or structure. Even then there is no guarantee. Some fish hit short, others don't like the presentation; the list goes on and on.
But believe me, every effort is to see first of all that you are safe, next you are rigged up properly and using the correct baits, and finally every effort is made to see that you make some catches.
Don't forget, I'm with you. I've been on the ice for 10 hours and never had a bump.
The most important thing you can take away from these trips is to learn how it's down the right way. And ask plenty of questions whether they are walleye related or not.
The next and final stop for this year will be February 9-12. For more information visit fishingvacationschool.com or call (231)744-0330 or (231) 740-6427. Hope to see you on the ice.
Mark Martin and Tim Long with two inch fish.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blizzard-like conditions make for slow biting fish

At 6a.m. Monday morning, the temperature in Bergland was minus 15 degrees. By 8.am. it was colder.
Add in a strong wind and anglers attending Mark Martin's Ice Fishing School were in for a very cold ride across Lake Gogebic to begin their first day putting what they learned at seminars the previous day to use.
The key things everyone kept in mind were to be safe and able to adapt to change when conditions required it.
Being safe took the form of bring dressed properly. Layering then adding more layers was essential. Keeping any skin such as the face, from being exposed to these extreme conditions would make the difference between being really cold or developing frost bite.
Because of the extremely cold, windy weather, the walleye developed a case of lock jaw. Many anglers thought they would try fishing with a minnow under a bobber, one of the methods taught the day before.
Once again the weather played a part in bobber fishing. Because holes froze so quickly, bobber's became stuck in ice. Fishing line had to be continually warmed by cold hands to keep ice drops from forming making winding line in or out next to impossible.
The method that seemed to work the best was fishing a wide gap lead head jig with a minnow. Jigging close or right on the bottom brought in the most fish.
As the morning progressed, bites slowed. Rather than jigging aggressively fish preferred a slow presentation even striking when jigs hung in the hole similar to dead sticking.
By noon, I was back on shore. The catch so far had been several small walleye, good-sized perch, and some pike.
Temperatures will continue down throughout the afternoon on into the evening. The wind chill at noon was minus 43 degrees.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cold weather for the western UP is an understatement

BERGLAND-Weather for this western Upper Peninsula village is predicted to be well below zero overnight.
Tomorrow, Monday is the first day if Mark Martin's Ice Fishing School on Lake Gogebic. Weather predictions including wind chill are anywhere from -29 degrees to -75.
Talking to anglers that fished today in portable shanties, propane tanks froze up, flames on portable heaters dwindled to about the size of a quarter, and augured holes froze up nearly as fast as they were drilled.
The best of clothing including several layers didn't make much difference. Cold is still cold especially when it gets this far below zero.
Everyone has rods rigged, lures tied on and tackle sorted out, hopefully to be put to use tomorrow. Many in the school don't plan on being out on the ice all day because of the extreme conditions expected.
Forget changing lures or re-tying in the event of breaking off on a fish or a snag. Trying to tie a spoon on without gloves will be impossible with the cold wind blowing across bare skin.
This is the first fishing trip I've ever been on when catching fish doesn't seem to be that important. Trying to stay warm is a bigger concern.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Definitely different New Year Eve

Actually, my New Years eve began about 11a.m. the day before New Years. I picked my grandson Josh Chekal up and drove to the Pontiac Airport.
About a year ago my children had given me a gift certificate for a flight. Knowing how much I like airplanes and flying it was very appropriate.
Also knowing Josh had never been in a small plane, I figured he would enjoy the experience. Arriving at DCT (Dreams Come True) aviation, we were met by out instructor pilot, Bob Krebaum. He's just 20, but the Howell resident already has his sight set on a career in flying and has racked up more than 700 hours.
At the place, Josh got the back seat while I got front left, the place normally reserved for the captain!. "I'll take off and land but the rest of the time the plane and flying is yours," Krebaum said.
A short, smooth take off and I was at the controls. Krebaum explained almost non-stop what was happening, what to pay attention to and pointing out areas on the ground like Great Lakes Crossing, that we were flying over.
In no time, the flight was over. I should mention that each of us had a headset and mouth piece so we could talk with each other and listen to instructions from the ground.
If you've never flown in a private plane and think you might have an interest give DCT a call at (248)666-1800 or visit dctaviation.com. and ask for a introductory flight. It's a great way to see if flying is for you.
Grandson Josh and pilot Bob Krebaum