• Starboard Choice Marine
  • Moore Boats

By Louie Stout

As most Michiana sportsmen know, you’re going to be paying more for an Indiana license next season.

And in some cases, a lot more.

(If you missed the announcement, click here )

Let’s be honest. The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), stewards of hunting and fishing, needs the money. The last license fee increase came 16 years ago.

It has operated in the red for the past few years, which caused rollbacks in some programs and a hiring freeze. Several vacancies remain in northern Indiana, where many district biologists have worked without assistants for several months. That limits the amount of research one man can do and any new projects he can take on.

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 bassAndrew 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 bassAndrew 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.