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Bite Me! Jigheads

By Louie Stout

Since Michiana ice fishing remains on hold, winter fishing options are limited to late-season panfishing and steelhead angling.

Darrin Schaap of Clear H2o Tackle said diehard anglers are catching some crappies on minnows and walleye fishermen are getting a few nice walleyes from the St. Joseph River in Indiana and Michigan on soft plastics, jerkbaits and minnows.

Steelhead angling in the streams, especially the lower St. Joe, has been decent, he added.

By Louie Stout

Andrew Lemle with two of his big smallmouth bass

Catching 7-pound smallmouth isn’t anything new to Andrew Lemle.

However, catching a five-fish limit of big smallmouth weighing 36.90 pounds was the thrill of a lifetime.

Lemle caught those fish Nov. 18 on a northern Michigan lake. They weighed 6.87, 7.29, 7.73, 7.45 and 7.53.

And they all came off of one rock!

Andrew Lemle weighs 36.90 limit of smallmouth bass

Lemle lives on Lake Charlevoix, but don’t assume that’s where he caught them. He’s not saying, other than it’s a big lake.

“I fish a lot of different lakes up here and I’ve caught some other 7s on this one, but, for whatever the reason, the big fish moved up and wanted to bite that day,” he said. “My previous best up here was a 33-pound limit and I’ve had some 31s, but this was incredible.

By Louie Stout

If you’re looking to stock up on ice fishing equipment or even open-water fishing gear for next summer, you will want to visit ClearH2O Tackle’s Ice Fishing Open House.

The annual event will be held at the Edwardsburg store from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 10, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday Dec. 11, and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Dec. 12.

Store owner Darrin Schaap says he will be running special pricing during the three days on several ice tackle items, including augers, rod and reel combos, heaters, graphs, clothing and more.

By Louie Stout

Walleye fingerling

If things go as planned, northern Indiana will offer much better walleye fishing in the coming years.

We can say that because of positive changes the Indiana DNR is making in its hatchery program and philosophy for raising and stocking walleyes.

Prior to this year, the state mostly stocked smaller, 2-inch fish with hopes that several would survive and grow into a contributing fishery. Those fish were the offspring of adult walleyes captured in nets at Brookville Reservoir in southern Indiana.

Some lakes were being supplemented with larger, commercial hatchery fish and those waters had a higher success rate. The DNR annually purchases about 35,000 larger ‘eyes from commercial hatcheries.