Saturday, January 1, 2011

Houghton Lake-Reedsburg Fishing Report

Northern Pike-Reedsburg Dam
K. Stephenson

The temperature at midnight was 45 degrees. It's now 39 and dropping at 11:30 am. By tonight the temps will be in the teens and with the wind chill we're talking low single digits. Great for ice fishing but too late for snowmobilers. The snow has all melted and there's nothing but a few flurries in the forecast for the next week.The lake had significantly fewer shanties on it yesterday. Probably due to it being New Years eve and the warm weather turning the surface ice to several inches of slush. A good move since that slush will now refreeze and could lock a shanty in the ice until spring thaw.

Now for some good news. I was able to get out for a few hours of fishing by the Reedsburg Dam. The Northern shown above was only about 18" (just a baby), so I put it back to grow a little bigger. Of course, the big one got away. I was using a white plastic bait on a small black jig head (1/16 oz). The plastic was a 4" bleedin' tube. Anyway the short version is the hook was turned back into the bait so the hook didn't set. I pulled the big fella about 12 feet before his resolve gave out and he let go of the bait. Good thing he probably would have broke my pole.

The small one that I did catch I caught on a dead chub that some other fisherman had dumped after fishing. There were a few littering the bottom of the shallows just off shore but too far for me to retrieve. Besides I was just curious if I could get one to bite on plastic. It did but it took some time before the first strike. The dead chub was gobbled up within the first few minutes. Imagine what a live one could do for you! 

When I was young and went fishing with my dad, he would always bring both minnows and crawlers. I'm not a fan of minnows or chubs. They're a hassle because you have to haul around a bucket full of water, dip the little wigglers out and try to get them on the hook before they die. Also they don't last more than a day or two. Nightcrawlers on the other hand will keep in a refrigerator for weeks. Two dozen crawlers lasted me a month during the summer. As soon as I came home I put them in the fridge. 

But the most compelling reason I haven't  used minnows is, my dad never caught very many fish. At least not while fishing with me. I used nightcrawalers, caught plenty of fish and never looked back. Theres more to it than that but that's a story for another time. Rest assured I'll be toting a minnow bucket this summer, along with my crawlers, when I head out on Houghton Lake. I'll let you know how it turns out. So long for now.

Stay safe, stay warm and pray for snow,


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