We’re back!!! Kind of… What a strange fall/winter it’s been. The struggle for ice fishing is real for us as warm weather has persisted across northern Wisconsin with fishable ice extremely hard to come by. A cold snap last week tightened up some of our inland lakes, and Aron Kastern along with his good buddy Cory Chard were able to do a little prospecting for hard water and hungry fish. Aron reports that most of our small lakes have 1″ – 2″ of ice on them which we don’t consider safe, but he was able to find a couple of small bays on larger lakes that held 6″ – 8″ of good hard ice left over from the first freeze we had a few weeks ago. Aron and Cory had an excellent bluegill bite fishing green weeds with jigs/waxies in 5′ – 8′ of water. They also landed some nice pike up to 30″ on tip ups and sucker minnows in 8′ – 10′ of water along weed edges. Apparently Cory stole the show as he battled a 30″ pike to the surface on his panfish rod rigged with 2 lb. test line. I’d love to have seen that! It’s good to see the crew back after it, and hopefully we’ll begin to have more lakes setting up with safe ice. It’s definitely slow to come however, and I can’t with good conscience give the green light for everyone to get out there yet. There’s just not enough safe stuff, and it’s not worth the risk if you don’t have the time and proper equipment to make sure you’re on solid ice. I know Josh Teigen will be out there poking around as well this week, and I’ll have more to report this weekend. If your interested in booking an inland panfish/pike/walleye trip, give me a shout. It’s day by day right now, and we’ll do our best to get you out there if conditions permit.
Christmas came a little early for me this year on a late season muzzle loader hunt to Indiana last week. It was a very rewarding hunt, and I connected on this really cool Hoosier state buck hunting from the ground on Thursday evening. I was covered up in deer until dusk, and this guy snuck in behind me to start chasing some does. After a few tense moments, I was able to get the cross hairs on him and squeeze the trigger as he crested a small hill 125 yards out. There was no sign of a hit at the location of the shot, so I spent an agonizing night tossing and turning until I could go after him in good light the next morning. It was the right move though, and I recovered him within 100 yards after a short tracking job on a beautiful December morning. The shot and the buck were both perfect, and it’s a hunt I’ll never forget. It’s been awhile since I put my tag on a buck, but those same old feelings all came rushing back. If you hunt, you know what I’m talking about. Thanks to my good friend Mike Bassett for putting me on this deer, Joe Umphries for the awesome photos, and to all of the great folks at Big Tine for making it possible. Now if my wife will only donate a little wall space… Merry Christmas everyone!!!