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Clear H2o near Edwardsburg will host a Winter Open House Dec. 8-10 at the store.

Pro staffers and industry professionals will be on hand to demonstrate the top ice fishing products for 2017-18 and one room will be devoted to ice shanties. The store is offering free assembly with each shanty purchased and special pricing will be offered on ice tackle and gear.

The program is open to the public. Hours are 7-9 p.m. Dec. 8; 6 to 6 on Dec. 9; and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Dec. 10. Free chili and refreshments will be available.

Ice anglers also can register for the store’s Ice Fishing Derby that kicks off Dec. 17.

For information, call the shop at 269-414-4131.

Clear H2o Tackle will conduct an Ice Fishing Big Fish contest beginning Dec. 20. The derby runs through Feb. 20.

Contestants must pre-register at the store by Dec. 17. Entry fee for the season is $20 per person.

Cash prizes will be awarded in five categories – bluegill, crappie, perch, pike and hybrid panfish. Payout will be for the three biggest fish weighed in each category and the amount will be based on the number of entries.

All fish must be weighed on the store’s official scales and each entry will have his or her name placed in a drawing for other prizes to be awarded.

For more information call the store, 269-414-4131.

D&R Sport Center will host a “West Michigan Ice Fishing Show” Dec. 2-3 at the Kalamazoo store.

The free program spotlights seminars from top ice anglers both Saturday and Sunday as well as factory reps from some of the top ice gear manufacturers.

The program runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. For more information, call D&R Sports, 269-372-2277.

By Louie Stout

Ice fishing has gone high-tech.

Photo courtesy of Bill Lindner/Humminbird

If it’s been awhile since you’ve looked at ice fishing tackle in a sporting goods retail store, brace yourself for sticker shock.

You can still find a few of those cheap ice rods that include line, bobber and jig. You know…the kind that the line wrapped around a wire handle.

You also can walk out of a store with an inexpensive ice rod and reel, a handful of jigs and tub of bait that will get you on the ice for around $20.

But today’s ice gear manufacturers offer some high tech options and anglers are taking advantage of it. Those who use the more sophisticated equipment swear they are far more efficient at finding fish and getting them to bite.