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p>By Louie Stout

Ice Fishing

Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg will host its Ice Fishing Open House Dec. 9 through the 11th at the store.

Store Owner Darrin Schaap promises good bargains on several items, including ice suits, rod and reel combos, clothing, electronics, shanties and ice fishing accessories.

In addition, special sales are offered on open water fishing gear. Schaap said on bass, walleye, trolling tackle and lures will be included in bargain pricing.

“If an angler can’t make it that weekend, come see us beforehand,” Schaap said. “Many of our deals are already in place.”

The store is located at 69037 Christina Lake Road in Edwardsburg, not far from the Juno Lake public access.

Store hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends. For more information, call the shop at 269-414-4131.

Seaguar Report

Josh Teigen with yellow perch

If it's going to be cold out, it might as well be cold enough to freeze the lakes and rivers. Right now, ice fishing season is quickly approaching in many regions and one of the best ways to get in on the action is by targeting first ice panfish.

A trio of Wisconsin guides, Troy Peterson, Vince Moldenhauer, and Josh Teigen, all count early ice panfish as one of their favorite bites, and each has a unique approach to fishing this time of year. They each share their thought processes and methods for early-season ice fishing

Mr. Bluegill's Ultra-Shallow Bite

Josh Teigen with bluegill

Troy Peterson is known as "Mr. Bluegill," and he guides anglers for them, along with many other species, throughout the year. As soon as the ice forms on the lake, his approach is to stick close to shore and search for vegetation and warmer water.

"Right when the ice forms, everyone is itching to get out and you have to be quick," he said. "The first two weeks of the season can be excellent, but the fish get pressured and areas get fished out. I look for weedy bays and houses on the lake that have pumps or artesian aquifers because that will show you that warmer water is coming into the area. The panfish will stay in the areas as long as possible until it gets too cold and they will head out deeper."

By Louie Stout

Michigan outdoorsman Bill Ferris

If you want to bone up on your ice fishing skills, D&R Sports Center offers a solution.

After a break during the pandemic, the shop will resume its West Michigan Ice Show Dec. 3-4 at the Kalamazoo store. There is no charge for entry.

USA Ice Team member Chas ThompsonYou’ll get top-notch tips and advice from USA Ice Team members Chas Thompson and Steph Sissell. They will demonstrate the latest use of equipment and gadgets and share their methods and tricks for catching more fish. They will tie together science, creative techniques and a commonsense approach to fishing on hard water.

In addition Michigan outdoorsman Bill Ferris from Iona will share his insight on fishing Michigan waters. He has a passion for targeting bluegills, crappies, perch and walleye and will touch on the equipment he uses and the use of electronics.

USA Ice Team member Steph Sissell“We’ve asked these guys to address the needs for the beginner as well as the expert during their seminars,” said store owner Randy VanDam.

Furthermore, VanDam said there will be factory representatives from St. Croix, Rapala, Okuma, Northland Tackle, Vexilar, Humminbird, Shimano, 13 Fishing, Clam, Stopper Lures, Moonshine Lures and more.

Discounted prices on ice fishing gear and tackle will be offered during show hours, which are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10-3 Sunday.

For more information, visit www.dandrsports.com or call 269-372-2277

By Louie Stout

Ice fishing fever has spread more than the Omicron Virus as more anglers continue to branch out on area lakes.

“A lot of people are getting out on a lot more different waters which tells me the ice has gotten better,” said Brian Hensley of Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg, Mich. “I’m hearing of 6 inches or less, but that doesn’t mean you can walk just anywhere. You still have to be careful, especially in those areas where others haven’t ventured or lakes that got more snow.”

Snow hadn’t been a problem in lakes around Middlebury, Ind., said Mike Raber of the Tackle Shack.

By Louie Stout

Ice Fishing in Michiana

Finally…ice.

Area tackle shops reported a lot of ice fishing activity the past day or so, and with more cold and less snow, action should pick up more in the coming days.

However, that doesn’t mean everything is safe. Several lakes still had open-water areas last weekend. Although they may appear froze over, not all sections are as safe as others.

“We’re hearing anywhere from unsafe to 4 to 5 inches of ice,” said Brian Hensley of Clear H2o Tackle in Edwardsburg.

Those opinions were echoed at the Tackle Box in North Webster and D&R Sports Center in Kalamazoo.

Z-man Report

Jig and softbait for ice fishing

Ice fishing missions frequently greet you with soul-stirring sunrises and profoundly peaceful surroundings – and numb hands. Thankfully, the popularity of the wintery pursuit has bred excellent angling technology—things like valuable fish-finding sonar, plus outerwear and gloves that keep your extremities warm and dry.

But what happens when forced to remove your gloves to perform basic tasks such as constantly replacing baits? Tying knots and rigging baits become exponentially more difficult (and painful) when bare hands lay exposed to the elements. In short, cold hands impair fishing performance. And when you’re watching water freeze in your ice rod guides, “cold” takes on a whole new meaning.