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Ice Fishing

Late Ice Stripes

This always seems to happen. Just when the fish start biting, I’ve got to quit fishing. It’s inevitable. I figure out a pattern then something comes up and I’m shorebound. Maybe it’s karma. Maybe it’s because I’d rather be fishing than doing just about anything else. So it doesn’t matter when I have to quit because I’m never happy about it.

The last few weeks have featured some of the best perch fishing I’ve experienced on Lake St. Clair. As usual, it looks like I won’t get a chance to continue the hot-streak. Rain and temps in the 40’s are threatening the integrity of the ice. There’s a good chance that I’ll be spending more time watching college basketball then sitting in the shanty this weekend. If I can’t get back out there, at least I ended the season with some fillets in the freezer and these great pics.

Sunday, 2/20/11

Sunrise over a frozen lake

The ride on the quad was cold, but it beat the hell out of walking. The perch were staged up in 8 fow which meant we needed to get about 1.5 miles from shore to find them. All the snow melted leaving that classic clear green ice that I’ve never seen anywhere besides St. Clair.

The barometer was plummeting. The storm clouds on the horizon made for an amazing sunrise.

Dustin’s Nils Master auger made short work of the 10″ of ice. We started catching small perch as soon as the bait hit the water.

Cutting holes in the ice on Lk St Clair

Dustin was working a small jigging Rapala with a minnow. I was using a black tear drop with some spikes. We both had deadstick rods set in holders with a minnow swimming on a small treble hook. The jigging Rap and deadsticks iced the first two keepers of the day.

Two big perch

In the shanty next door, Will and Paul were watching schools of big perch on the underwater camera. They were icing keepers every few minutes. I continued to land smaller fish but the non-stop action made for an awesome day. The furious bite was on and continued strong until we left around 2 pm.

Keeper size perch from Lake St Clair

I did catch one respectable 9 3/4 inch perch just before we packed up to head home. That was my little contribution to a big pile of fish.

Keep those perch

The official count: 55 perch caught between 4 guys in about 7 hours.

4 anglers on the ice with perch

Tuesday, 2/22/11

With the success of Sunday pressed into our brains, Will and I couldn’t wait to try again. We ducked out of work, met up with my cousin Nick and hit the ice for a sundown showdown with more perch. The few inches of snow on the ice made the quad ride feel like a 15 minute blizzard wrapped around my face.

The storm had increased run-off into the lake making water conditions really cloudy. We could hardly see the fish on the TV as they swam by the camera. The exception was a huge Sturgeon who lazily floated past our bait. That is such a cool aspect of fishing St. Clair. From Mud Puppies to Muskys, you never know what you’re going to see under the ice.

Sun over LSC

Official count: 1 sturgeon encounter, 2 keepers for 3 guys in 4 hours of fishing. The black tear drop with an orange dot was the “hot” jig.

Sunday 2/27/11

My brother and I parked at Gino’s Restaurant with only a few hours to fish and a long walk ahead of us. We hiked out about 1 mile before finding 7.5 fow. We both jigged tear drops on one line and deadsticked a minnow on another.

Ice fisherman jigging two rods

The horizon and the lake were the same shade of whiteish gray which darkened into a gloomy hue as the sunset. Just when it was dark enough that we could hardly read a strike, the deadstick rods took a beating. Jim and I had dumped the minnows down the hole to draw in some hungry perch. The trick worked. But it left us with little bait just when the fish moved in.

My brother landed his first keeper perch on Lake St. Clair. Another successful trip.

Official Count: 2 keepers for 2 anglers in 2.5 hours of fishing.

ice fisherman holding a perch

Here’s to hoping for a few more days of solid ice.

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