Updated Ice Conditions & Fishing Report

As stated in my last update, we are now in mid-season on the ice. You have probably noticed that bite has changed, or things are just different in general. This is what happens every year around this time. Here in Northwest Iowa the bite for bull bluegills, slab crappies, and big bass, is still going just fine. The fish are still there, you just have to adjust your game with the changing season and conditions. The bite for quality perch and walleye has been a little harder to come by. Many reports coming in from bigger waters up north and the bite is tough due to increased traffic on the ice, making for lots of increased noise, which in turn will make the fish a little more spooky. Sticking to smaller bodies of water with much less traffic can drastically increase your chances for a good bite. Here in Iowa we are very fortunate to have an almost endless supply of fresh waters in the form of small lakes and farm ponds that are off the normal grid. Many of these waters are virtually untouched, and the fish are eager to bite.  Ask at the local bait shops to find the good local waters that are open to the public. Or you could always give me a call! If you treat people and their property with respect, it is usually no problem at all to get permission to fish many waters that are considered private. It is amazing the fish that these places can produce. Also a vast variety of game species that would not normally be thought of for small waters. You just never know where you will find jumbo perch, or a nice walleye or pike. That is one of the great things about fishing these kinds of waters; the mystery. You can find almost anything. This year, there are a lot of very nice catfish being caught through the ice. Channel cat in the 2-4 pound range are great eaters for the table, especially from icy waters.     Lately there have been a few very warm days in between our normal winter weather. A couple weeks ago, we had 20-22 inches of ice here locally. With the warm days, that has gone down to 16 inches on the same waters. There is a long cold spell coming, so this will thicken the ice again. Just be aware that the ice conditions can change quickly with warm weather. Keep this in mind and you will have no problems. There have been many reports of vehicles going through this year.  Please be aware of the ice conditions before you venture out in a vehicle. I don’t recommend a large vehicle on the ice unless there is a solid 22-24 inches, especially if you are in a place with many other vehicles and ice-houses. That is another nice thing about fishing some of the smaller waters. Not only is the fishing better, you can easily walk to your fishing spot with your gear. Most of these places are just a few acres, making it easier to find biters, too!  Please be aware that the best of the panfish bite is still to come in late season. This can be some of the best bluegill and crappie fishing of the ice season.   If you are looking for a fun day out on the ice here in Northwest Iowa, give me a call, and don’t forget to bring a camera!   Be safe, have fun, good luck, and good fishing!   Paul