North Park Ice Fishing Report February 28, 2010
Lake John Resort
North Park Ice Fishing Report
February 28, 2010
The name of the game last week was snow, and although reports are calling for the possibility of more, I'm hoping the bulk of this week will be kind to fish and outdoorsmen alike. Snow totals atop area lakes continue to grow to nearly a foot, which not only makes access more difficult for ice fishermen without machines, but also blocks needed sunlight for submerged plant life when fish are needing it most. Even though most area lakes are reported in good shape thus far oxygen-wise, a good week-long thaw wouldn't hurt a thing for us or the fish.
I know I'm pushing this thaw thing by several weeks, or maybe just hoping, but a short one anyway would sure be nice. A brief overview of what happens to frozen lakes during a surge of warmer weather: not only do snow totals on lake surfaces begin to diminish, but the fresh water from the melting snow and ice find its way through cracks, and seeps around lake edges, bringing needed oxygen to deprived fish. Short, periodic thaws throughout the season do little to trigger a strong feed, but when warmer weather finally arrives in the spring, this primary melting, depending on how warm and how fast, can cause fish to throw an annual banquet. But like I said, that's a short ways off and I'll keep you posted.
Right now however is the calm before the storm, so to speak. Ice thickness is peaking and oxygen levels are low. Fish - especially big fish - are lethargic, apprehensive, and finicky. For reasons you probably need to be a fish to understand, what may seem to be an easy, juicy meal to you may not even get a second look from a fish. You may make several trips without so much as a bite, even though you're seeing all kinds of fish. (I know there's a few of you that would blame the moon phase at this point, but that's a subject for another report.) Just ask local angler Dick Snavely who has his hut set up on Lake John. After numerous days and what felt like endless hours spent watching big fish swim under his ice hut without any action at all, something changed. Several days in a row produced good fish, including last Wednesday when he came up with 7 and 8 pound whoppers. Two things led to Dicks success. (A third thing is that he's a pretty good fisherman too.) Knowing the fish were there, and persistence. In Dick's case, he has a hut so he can see that the fish are in the vicinity. But even without a hut, you can use electronics, an underwater camera, or even laying on the ice looking down the hole to accomplish the same thing. Second, persistence — the absolute toughest hurdle to overcome by any fisherman, is made much easier when the first is already in place.
Over on the Delaney Butte Lakes this past Saturday, local anglers schoolteacher Mike and Gary Arnold spent a couple hours on East playing catch and release. Using their own flies in about 7 feet of water along the south shore, these two fishermen released nearly 20 fish. Granted, the sizes were smallish, but the action was fast and would provide a great time for a family, especially with children. No bait is allowed on any of the Butte Lakes, and although Mike and Gary used flies, I'm sure that just about any small jigs or lures would be effective.
It won't be long before this weather changes, but until then there's still fun to be had. Take the kids over to East Delaney for a day of outdoor activities, or gather your wits and hunt down a trophy at Lake John. The choice is yours.
Tip of the Week
The amount of snow already on top of area lakes, with more to come, will cause slushy conditions once the thaw begins. Most leather and pack boots are not made for standing in ice water for hours. If you enjoy late season ice fishing, a good pair of insulated rubber boots can save the day. If you don't already have any, or yours are old and cracked, now would be the time to order some, before one of the best times of the ice fishing season arrives.
Lake John Resort