Ice Capades

The temperature finally hit about 40 degrees here today, and it was a gentle reminder that spring is slowly on its way here, but it’s definitely taking its time getting here. Similar to last year, there’s a lot of ice out on the big lake and it’s not going anywhere fast. The ice fishing conditions have been as good as they get out in the Apostle Islands. We’ve been making a nearly 18 mile run offshore on snowmobiles to get out to some fantastic lake trout fishing in 160-220 feet of water. “Bobbing” for Lake Trout is a pretty darn classical fishery around here, and one with a lot of history. It’s really the only ice fishing I get truly excited about. We fish with “bobbing hoops” loaded with 300 feet of coated wire line and drop heavy jigs right down to the bottom tipped with soft plastics and fresh caught smelt. The grab from a big laker is not subtle and I’ve darn near had my hoop nearly ripped from my hands a few times. I think it would be similar to fishing for steelhead with no rod and just holding your line in your hand. Once the trout hits, you set the hook hard and start hand lining the line back in, which takes some time when your fishing down over 200 feet. It’s pretty fun, and the chance at a 30 pound fish is very real. It’s also fun to be that far offshore in the Apostles in the dead of winter. It’s pretty rare that the ice is that good that for offshore, so it’s been good to take advantage of what this winter has offered. We’ve been landing well over 20 trout a day too, so the action has been steady. I doubt the conditions will last too much longer, but I guess that’s a good thing for those of us really excited to get back in the boat again.