Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Looking Good..

Whelp, here's what I've been waking up to the past couple days. Sorry about the crummy cell phone picture quality.

Ice as far as the eye can see. Wayzata Bay has begun it's process of becoming ice locked. It likely won't be ready for foot travel by this weekend, but by early next week I'm sure we'll see people beginning to wander out there.

Saw a couple guys walking around on Gray's today. Didn't see any fishing or holes being drilled, but it's pretty clear that I'm not the only one who can't wait for the ice to be safe.

I added a few links to the side bar of some websites that I'd advise checking out.

Upper Midwest Outdoors is far and away my favorite fishing forum. The community is great, the people are extremely welcoming, and I've got some really great info and fishing reports from this site. Owned and operated by Shane Hendricks, this is one of a few sites I'd recommend to just about every Minnesota fisherman.

Hot Spot Outdoors is another forum that I love. I'm not as active on HSO as I am on UMO, but with the sheer amount of people that come through HSO, it's another great resource for information and fishing reports. Some really great people on these message boards as well.

Wayzata Bait and Thorne Bros are my two go-to stores for anything fishing related. Thorne Bros has the most amazing ice fishing selection you'll ever come across, and the store is full of guys who are more then willing to help. Wayzata Bait is my place for bait.

Last but not least is Lybacks Fishing Resort on Lake Mille Lacs. Obviously it's a bit unrelated as it refers to Mille Lacs, but Eddy's ice and fishing reports are some of the best out there. Lyback's does fish house rentals, storage, maintains roads (Make sure to pay your access fees!), and are all around some of the friendliest people out there. If you want a great fishing experience for a great price, Lyback's will always be my first recommendation for Mille Lacs.

I haven't managed to get my hands on a Slush Inhaler yet, but I'd like to do a product review on one of my favorite bobbers. Some of you may have noticed in the picture in my previous post that almost all of my rods, deadsticks excluded, are rigged with spring bobbers. If you haven't caught onto the spring bobber craze yet, the idea is that they allow you to detect even the slightest of bites. This is great, but in my opinion doesn't even compare to the capability these bobbers have to detect up-bites. Up-bites are exactly what they sound like, when the fish is approaching your bait from below, bites, and keeps moving upwards. With a normal bobber with a couple split shots below it, you'd never have the slightest clue that a fish was down there, but with a spring bobber, the spring will go limp, allowing you to detect those up-bites that you'd otherwise be completely unaware of.

With that being said, there's a spring bobber that I prefer over all others. I've tested the Frabill springs, HT-STB & HT-SBF springs, Easy-Bite, Clam/Jason Mitchell, and St Croix Legends springs. By far, I prefer the St Croix springs over the rest.

Keep in mind, you will be paying a bit extra for the quality, but it's worth it. These springs are unmatched. High quality, very visible, and quite durable. Another great thing about these springs is that they come in 4 different action levels: light, medium light, medium, and heavy. I like to use the light ones for gills, medium and medium light for crappies and walleyes, and occasionally the heavy for walleyes as well.

The downside to these springs, is that they were specifically designed for the St Croix Legends ice rods, something I don't use. So I had to come up with a solution, and I've found one that seems to work quite well.

These are the HT-Stb Spring bobbers. I tried these out, and didn't like them one bit, but they did come with these small foam inserts to attach the spring to the end of your rod. Pick up a pack of these (Found them at Mills Fleet Farm for $2.00) and your choice of St Croix spring.

Insert the spring into the foam insert, and put that into the top eye hole on your rod. Here's a picture of how I do it.

Simple enough! So there you have it. Again, you will be paying a bit more for this setup then you will for other springs, but I guarantee you will not regret it. These are the Aston Martins of spring bobbers.

- Comes in multiple action levels
- High visibility
- Very durable
- Great action
- Bar none, some of the best spring bobbers around

- Expensive (In total, the setup will run you about 10$ a piece. 9$ per spring + ~1$ per foam insert.
- "Some assembly required."

That's all for now. Here's hoping the next post includes some action shots on the ice!


  1. I really like what you are doing with this site. It helps us all out and keeps us up to date. I read on HSO that there is 2 to 4 inches on grays bay. I would love to get out this weekend and im not sure if Medicine will be ready. Any tips on how to find pan fish on grays. Where, and what to use would help greatly. Also keep us posted on ice thickness. Thanks a lot and keep this thing going.

  2. Thanks for the compliment! Comments like these will definitely help keep me motivated to keep this thing as up to date as possible.

    We're definitely seeing some walkable ice on Gray's Bay. I posted a new update today saying there's about 3-5" on the majority of the bay from what I could tell. Didn't see anything under 3".

    I'm not going to recommend making it out to the first drop off yet (Gray's has a big 16-22' hole in the middle of the bay) as I haven't made it out that far to check the thickness, and I'd feel terrible sending someone into uncharted territory. But if you can put yourself in about 6 feet of water with some light weed growth, you should find some pannies pretty quick. A good tip would be to stay relatively close to Highway 101, and only go out as far as you have to to get on those fish. Finding 6 feet shouldn't be hard. Finding 6 feet that isn't terribly overgrown with weeds might be a bit more tricky, but just keep going deeper (Further away from 101) and you'll get there.

  3. As far as what to use, I'd stick to your favorite jig and some eurolarvae for panfish. I've always liked the Custom Jigs and Spins Ratso's tipped with a euro or two for early ice pannies.

  4. Thanks a lot and you will most likley see me out there on saturday! What are you goingto be going for? And i hope to see you and say hi! thanks again and keep me up to dat with the ice thickness. Im sure we are fine but just want to make sure. Keep the cold coming! Good luck and be safe!

  5. I haven't totally decided yet. If it's a nice day like it looks like it's gonna be, I'll probably be out there just dropping tip ups for pike.

    If it gets a little cooler, I'll probably try for some crappies if possible. It's hard to say, I'll likely be playing it by ear for the most part and doing what I can to avoid any crowds (That doesn't mean don't stop by and say hi, though!).

    My rents live on Gray's Bay, so it's one of the bays on Tonka that I'm quite versatile on, so like I said, I'll probably play it by ear.

    Will do! I'll probably have another update tomorrow morning/afternoon because I'm pretty excited about this low of 3 degrees tonight, sounds like the wind is gonna die down too.

    Take care bud! Hopefully I'll see you out there. And good luck!

  6. The Blog is looking good! Nice of you to throw in some Mille Lacs Fishing!

    May I recommend Izaty's Launch services? I have gone out a couple times with fairly large groups (20-50 people) and these guys never fail to disappoint. Many times we have had the crew overwhelmed running up and down the boat with "Fish On!" calls. I have never gone home empty handed. They usually stay around the south and east side sandbars and drop-offs.

    I have only gone out with Eddy's once or twice, and I can say the experience has been just as great as Izaty's. I just wanted to send some love to Izaty's since they are basically my backyard up there.

    Cheers to a good season,

  7. Does Izaty's still run their launch services since the resort got sold? I'd sure hope so, as I did enjoy my couple stays up there.

    They actually gave us a free cabin to stay in one weekend as a trade off for some computer work. That was a great weekend. Pretty sure they were like the grandparents of one of my friends during elementary school, as well. Some real great people at Izatys, no doubt.

  8. The new owners have kept everything running, maybe one of their golf courses is no longer in operation. Who needs golf anyway...