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Monday, December 9, 2013

Fishing Before the Cold Midwest Weather Sets In

By now, most boats have been put away, and we’re now in the waiting period between the time of open water and all out ice fishing in Nebraska. Area anglers are eagerly awaiting safe ice to walk on, while I’ve heard of others who have already headed north for some fishing. Even though we were on the water less than a week ago, this weather makes it seem farther back than that. We made one last effort that lasted four days, and some of the fishing was fairly decent.

Elmwood Reservoir before dark. (Courtesy of Brian Robinson) 
My friend Ward and I, and his son Parker fished Lake McConaughy before this cold weather set in. While it was a bit chilly, the fishing conditions were still comfortable. I’m sure we would have been warmer had the fish been cooperating. The fish were clearly spread out in larger areas of the lake, including the dam, sand flats, and numerous drop offs. Fish we did find seemed to be negative and proved hard to hook. This went along with the information we had heard the week prior as well. It was still a great trip that provided us with four nice fat walleyes up to 22 inches, with a few bonus pike in the 30-inch range.

On our trip home, we stopped and fished Elwood Reservoir for a few hours. It took us a while to find fish, but once we did, these fish were much more cooperative. While I caught the walleyes at McConaughy, Ward and Parker really put on a show and left me far behind. Ward reeled in a Master Angler (MA) wiper at just above 24 inches, while Parker came very close to MA status on a nice white bass that went over 16 inches. Numerous fish were caught on slab spoons, including one walleye. Ward hooked a monster of a fish, which unforfunately left us shaking our heads as it popped the hook. It’s possible that it was a large wiper, but Ward believes it may have been a muskie. I have heard of far fewer muskies caught the past two years, but some still prowl the waters of Elwood, and I believe some of them are quite large. I also believe they are extremely rare in Elwood due to past low water levels, but I know of a recent 46-inch catch that resides in my neighbors house just down the road. My uncle hooked it in the spring of 2012.

The results prompted me to return the next day, along with it being the absolute last nice day before the winter front was to arrive. The weather proved to be great at 65 degrees, and the fishing wasn’t bad either. I caught numerous white bass up to 16 3/4 inches, and five wipers up to 23 inches. This time of year the fish will make you work to find them, and this day was no different.

Now, winter boat projects are in order to make next year even better. In the meantime, making new jigs and spoons, arranging a few ice fishing trips and finding some open water to fish are at the top of the priority list. Stay warm if you can, and enjoy the ice fishing season. With these temps, safe ice will be formed before we know it.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Robinson
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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