This week’s Ice Fishing Report brought to you by Tom Neustrom, owner of Minnesota Fishing Connections Guide Service in Grand Rapids.
Changing weather conditions have made ice fishing interesting at best. Warm conditions and rain one day and high winds and colder temperatures have made ice angling tougher at times. Ice conditions are still good on most lakes in the Grand Rapids area, but extra caution is needed.
Perch fishing has been very good on Big Winnie and many anglers have been getting their 20 fish limit. Still moving is the best way to find schools of biting fish and the west side of Winnie seem to be providing the best action. This time of year perch are combing areas of scattered rock and rock piles in search of baby crayfish, grubs, and small minnows. Most often they will migrate from reef to reef in search of food. They maybe in one location today and gone tomorrow. Excellent maps and Lakemaster mapping can pinpoint these areas and give you a better idea where to pursue perch. Again smaller baits like Tungsten jigs, small spoons and number 3 Jigging Raps work best. Attach a couple wax worms, euro larvae, a small minnow head can make all the difference in success. Depths of 15-20 feet are key when choosing rock spots. There are also edges of weeds near deep water that produce good catches of perch from now to ice out. I like points and inside turns as preferred places to start no matter what locations I pick. Very light braid with a fluorocarbon monofilament leader will detect the lightest of bites. Other lakes with similar structures are Pokegama and Bowstring Lakes.
When you get your perch ready for the frying pan, instead of frying, try poaching them in a light butter sauce. After turning flaky white, remove and pour remaining poaching sauce over the top of filets, salt and pepper, garnish with lemon slices and serve. Just another tasty way to prepare fish. Good Luck.