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Early Ice Fishing Tactics Gary Howey

  It’s December, when in a somewhat normal year there’s good ice in northern South Dakota and Minnesota. Well, I’d have to say that this isn’t even close to a normal year. In our area the last week of November and first week of December, we’ve had very few cold nighttime temperatures.

  Don’t despair, as it can happen quickly when temperatures drop below zero and even colder at night, as ice can build fast once the temperatures begin to drop.

    As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, don’t get too anxious to get on the ice, make sure there’s plenty of ice to support everything you’re bringing with you on the ice.

  Once the ice builds, early season ice fishing can be the most successful time for you to be out there, as the fish are still somewhat active and not into their full winter mode.

  Years ago, the thinking was that once the ice covered the lakes and ponds, all fish dropped to the bottom to be comfortable and pretty much hung there most of the winter.

  Since the invention of Vexilar locators, we’ve learned a whole lot about where the fish will be located throughout the winter. We now know that, especially during first ice, fish are moving not just vertically, but also horizontally.

  The Vexilar locators have made it much easier to locate the fish, the depth they’re holding, the depths our baits are and to see if we still have bait on our lures. [Read more…]