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Across The Ice Belt

Where haven't we been in the last few weeks.... Winnipeg is about it, and that one was on the list, had passports in hand but we got side tracked.  We have hit the ice belt and pounded on some miles and landed some amazing fish.  It has been the earliest ice we have seen in 15+ years and the fish did exactly what they were supposed to-chew.  

We started on Leech Lake on Nov 19th and found the fish in the typical fall/early ice spots.  We managed to catch lots of nice gravel lizards over 22" and some pushed the 26"+ mark.  The eater size fish also cooperated so we had a few nice fish fry's.  When we arrived in late November we found ice to be about 6-7" on the area we wanted to fish, so we used ATV's, Clam portables, and small wheel shacks to stay on the ice over night.  The best bite was at sun down and sun rise.  The late night bite was also pretty good.  The usual plain hook with a minnow did most the damage.  

From there we headed west in search of some big bellied jumbo perch.  We did spend a few days poking around looking for them, but once we landed on them I can tell you it was one of the most amazing bites I have ever been a part of.  We managed many perch over 12" with some pushing 14.5" or so.  2lb Perch surely do fight hard and also present a great challange.  This trip and experience was one for the record books.  We have been back since, and I will have more info to come.  The best baits have been clam baits tipped with maki plastics.  Yes, we caught most of these fish on plastics!  They work great and allowed us not to have to bait the hook as often allowing us to catch and land more fish.  

As for an updated ice report, I have had many people ask.  Here is what I have for ice conditions in MN, SoDak, and surrounding area lakes.  

LOW- 16-24"

Red Lake - 18-24"

Leech - 14-20"

Lake Minnetonka - 9-16"

Lake Waconia - 9-17"

Webster SD area - 10-20"

Thats a quick report from some recent action.  Will have more in the coming days, until then Fish On!

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