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Post Info TOPIC: ice


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It's just a tad early in the season here.  Steelhead fishing on the Carp river, Michigan U.P.  Probably part of the reason most are fishing the ice.

It's interesting how you take things for granted until you move and no longer have access to it (Putah).  Tight lines all and have a great new year.

 

Carp river december.jpg

 

 



-- Edited by lightfoot on Saturday 12th of January 2019 04:29:42 AM

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Cedarville, Mi



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The good news is that if you catch a steelhead you can ice it quickly. I keep reading about the steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes area. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun, but cold. You might want to do a review of the fishing gloves available.

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Right on lightfoot, id be really interested in hearing about great lakes fisheries. Ive read that in addition to steelhead theyve also introduced chinook and coho too in some places with success.

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I live kinda of in a dead spot for river fishing steelhead and salmon. I have to drive an hour or several to hit the more prestigious rivers which are mainly down state or to the west of me in the Upper Peninsula. Granted there are a few within an hour drive or less. The above picture is about 20 minutes down the road.

I'm 3 miles from Cedarville and the Les Cheneaux Islands. It is a lake fishery that is better known for pike, perch, smallmouth bass and splake. Munuscong bay is 20 minutes down the road and known best for Walleye. I'm targeting splake, pike and perch through the ice today and Monday out of Hessell. There is not much room for a backcast inside of an ice shanty, so a jigging rod and two pop ups will suffice. Unless I head down state I'm going to be stuck ice fishing until the melt. I'm fine with that as the drive is only 5-20 minutes depending on where I go.

The downside is my thermometer reads 1.1 on the deck right now, BUT winds are almost non existent. The wind is the killer when it gets cold. When I took the picture above it was in the teens. Short of a pinhole in the right leg of my Simms, 5 hours in the river was no biggie. The weirdest part is once in the water you don't want to get out on the bank in the snow. The snow sticks to the bottom of your wading boots. I grew 8-10 inches taller in a dozen steps. When you climb back in the water it does not come off. It's a felt sole thing?

King salmon, Coho salmon, Atlantic salmon, Rainbows, Browns, Lake trout, Brook trout and Splake are in the Great Lakes. The salmon were introduced in the late 60's.

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I went out on the ice today and targeted splake and perch.  The splake are a cross between a lake trout and brook trout.  The average fish runs somewhere around 6-8 pounds.

There was virtually no wind out on the ice today, which was a good thing as temperatures were in the low teens to upper single digits.  I'm heading out again on Sunday which has a high temperature forecast of negative 2.

I found no love from the splake but did manage an undersized pike and a bakers down of yellow perch.  I kept five of the perch.  That is a wee bit short of the 50 fish limit.  There is not a lot of meat on these fish, but after last night I definitely want more.  A little olive oil, salt and pepper in a frying pan yielded surprisingly sweet and very tasty fillets.

46787216841_6022757d4a_m.jpg

 

On the hike back to the boat launch just before dark I ran into another person that managed one small perch and a nice splake.  I spent some time looking at a navigation chart and he appeared to be a short distance from the edge of a sharp drop off going from 7 feet of water down to 12 feet that runs a couple hundred yards in distance.  I'll be fishing that edge on Sunday.

His splake taped out at 27 inches and I'd guess around 8 pounds or so.  Beautiful looking fish.

splake.jpeg



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There is a lunar eclipse tonight (blood wolf moon).  I'm heading out on the ice later this morning and will make it an all day/night affair to see it and hopefully catch a few fish.  Cold temperatures means high pressure and clear skies.  It should be a stellar night.

46812772071_26208f0087_m.jpg



-- Edited by lightfoot on Sunday 20th of January 2019 05:08:57 AM

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Geez Lightfoot, Just make sure you don't wind up like the frozen trapper in the Jeremiah Johnson movie:

Related image



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That was a rough trip with temps never getting above zero. I'm still learning the ice fishing game, and like so many of the things we like to do outdoors, you can keep it really simple and cheap but it seldom stays that way.

I graduated to a portable ice shanty. Had I been fishing off of a five gallon bucket out in the open, yesterdays trip would have lasted just minutes. There was a light wind that really made temperatures brutal. Small opening between the shanty and the ice, however small, let the wind and cold inside. In past trips I'm fine in that little cocoon of a shanty, yesterday not so much.

I usually drill multiple holes and stay mobile until I find concentrations of fish. I use a poor mans hand powered ice auger and drilling nine to eleven holes per trip is about average. Drilling more than that is beyond my physical ability. The ice has been anywhere from four to eleven inches thick and hand drilling holes is tough. I can blast through four inches of ice in less than a minute. Ten inches of ice takes about five minutes with a couple of rest breaks due to exhaustion. Yesterday I managed to drill one hole and called it good. There was a tad over twelve inches of clear ice. You pay to play, I'm picking up a propane powered auger today.

I had trouble keeping my minnows alive. I started out a couple of weeks ago with a small minnow bucket but soon found it didn't hold enough water and upgraded to a five gallon bucket. Filling it about half way is a compromise of minnow survival and weight. I added a cheap battery powered aerator which helped. Yesterday was a fight to keep the water from freezing. The surface would freeze over in just a few minutes and by the time I got off the ice in the evening about half of the water was frozen. I might try adding some of those chemical pack hand and foot warmers to see if it makes a difference.

Speaking of minnows. I can remember buying minnows at Markely cove, if I bought a dozen that's what they gave me. Here I usually pick up 2 dozen perch minnows and a dozen walleye minnows at two bucks a dozen, which gets me 50-100 minnows.

Walking out on the ice while dragging 100 pounds of gear on a sled is great exercise. With any luck there is a hard pack of snow on top of the ice. Without the snow cover you are walking on...........ummmm................ice. Strap the ice cleats onto your boots and don't rely on them to keep you upright, they do "help". The other side of the spectrum is deep soft snow. I don't have snow shoes or cross country skis so I just slowly trudge along. Yesterday was a mix. Pay to play, I'll pick up a used snowmobile (ie sled) in the off season.

The portable ice shelter is a godsend. I purchased a Shappell FX100i. It works really well but does have it's limitations. The biggest plus is portability, I can put it in the back of my Honda Fit. A wooden ice shanty certainly has advantages. Available interior space, draft free, void of exterior light (allows you to see bottom/fish) and plenty of room for a heater are a huge plus. You loose mobility/portability in the process. Without a sled to pull it, I have no choice but to use a portable. Pay to play, I'll build a shanty over the summer.

Regarding the trip yesterday, I did manage to catch a dinner worth of perch and threw as many back. I also caught my first walleye through the ice but at 14 inches it was an inch undersized. It was just too cold to stay out on the ice for the eclipse so I headed in shortly after sunset. I did venture onto the deck last night for a view. We had beautiful clear skies, no wind, negative 17 and an awesome view. It was nice.






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Gas powered auger and a snowmobile... just sayin'.....


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The sled is going to have to wait.  I did pick up a 10 inch eskimo auger yesterday....propane.

 

https://www.geteskimo.com/Product/hc40-propane-auger-2-2539

 



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