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 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.

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