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North Park Ice Fishing Report

Bill Willcox Lake John Resort
T'was the week before Christmas
and out on the ice
the fish were all busy
being naughty -- not nice.

The big ones would tease
and let the small ones all bite
until you were dozing
then hit with their might.

And if you weren't careful
you might lose your rod
right down the ice hole
with a wink and a nod...

And that seems to be the way it is, at least on Lake John. The action is phenomenal for smallish fish until a brooder comes along to straighten out your kinks. A group staying in our cabins this weekend collectively caught about 200 fish. Granted, they had to sort out the larger ones for a good fish fry, but there was never a dull moment. Another group I talked to didn't catch nearly as many fish, however, their creel ran larger, including a couple pushing 20 inches. The fish seem to be active all over Lake John in about 8 to 15 feet of water, but there's no rhyme or reason to where on the lake the bigger fish are hanging out. I guess you just have to shop the entire mall to find out which store has the biggest bargains. The quarry hasn't been very picky either. Most small jigs such as Rat Finkees, tipped with a little piece of meat or some scent will do the trick. 2-inch tube jigs and quarter-ounce Kastmasters will keep the nuisance fish away in hopes of bringing in only larger trout, however, the quickness of the bite may suffer.

Local ice angler and fishing partner Gary Arnold has been drilling holes in a variety of area lakes, finding good action on most. Just off the boat ramp in about 7 feet of water at Cowdrey Lake, Gary reports a fair bite using tubes and flies on medium-sized trout. Over at the Delaney Butte Lakes, the word was fairly slow on the South Lake, although you searching out the fish worked better than making the fish come to you. "East Delaney Lake is as hot as ever," reported Gary, who used a tube jig in a variety of colors along the south shore. "It just didn't seem to matter what color I gave them, they hit 'em all," Gary told me. Again, a little deeper water, from 10 to 15 feet, worked best. The North Delaney Butte Lake has been producing some fish, although no news of anything huge yet.

Once again, at the risk of being jinxed, I have to make note of the weather. It's currently 40 degrees, with bright sun and zero wind. Of course, the nights are mostly single digits, which is the reason for close to 10 inches of ice, however, the sun and lack of snow are keeping all roads passable and in good shape. Another week has passed without any tracks on lake surfaces from full-size vehicles, although snowmobiles and ATVs are making a more frequent showing.

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