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North Park Ice Fishing Report

Bill Willcox Lake John Resort
Once again, the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend marks the official beginning of the ice fishing season in North Park. Even though local lakes had ice as early as November 8th this year, wind and weather proceeded to demolish initial hard caps. It wasn't until the 3rd go-round that winter's grip refused to let go of the icy surfaces.

That was earlier this past week on Tuesday the 22nd. While making rounds on Wednesday before T-day, checking ice thickness and condition with my spud on Lake John and the Delaneys, the 1 to 2 inches of layered, cloudy ice I encountered was not nearly strong or safe enough to hold this guy's big butt. All the lakes I checked still had at least a bit of open water and the 45 degree daytime temps over the next couple days were deceiving. However, by Friday after the "Bird", the first hard-water walkers found 3-plus inches of the hard stuff to put their ice fishing holes into. The single digit nights of the weekend have now added a few more inches, although extreme caution is always needed.

The reclamation performed on Lake John this past summer should have little effect on the winter fishing, except that you may have to sort through the action of multiple smaller fish to get to some of the bigger ones. All the lures, jigs and baits which have worked in the past should still be a good place to start (but remember no minnows allowed), as well as the go-to locations. Open water fishermen saw little changes in either right up until ice on. Already some friends of mine have had good action on John by using small jigs tipped with Powerbait, and also by jigging a Kastmaster. I will pass on more and new information as I find it.

Ice fishermen should also find good action this winter season on the Delaney Lakes. The past open water season showed fairly fast action on average sized fish in all three lakes including some real trophies. Remember, there is no bait of any kind allowed on any of the D's, all are fly and lure only. They are also looked at as one lake when considering bag and possession and size and slot limits. Information is posted at all the lakes as well as in the fishing brochure.

Be sure to put your plans together now for the Lake John/Cowdrey Lake Ice Fishing Contest which is coming up January 14 & 15, as well as the Delaney Lake Ice Fishing Contest which will be held February 11. They will both be here before you know it

This ice fishing season has just had its grand opening weekend in North Park. Let's all keep it fun and make it safe.

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