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North Park Ice Fishing Report
Bill Willcox Lake John Resort
A special thanks to all of our contributors and volunteers for
making the Lake John / Cowdrey Lake Ice Fishing Contest another success
this year. I apologize for not spreading my gratitude earlier, but this
is the first chance that I have had to pay tribute, since Jim sparred
everyone a week of my ramblings by writing a real article of the
tournament testimony. And it's a good thing too, because by the time
all key players left the resort, the keg was dry, the Early Times
drained, and the Glenfidich had a good dent in it. Thinking back, I'm
surprised you received any article at all.

After the mass attack from the contest, we let the fish in Lake
John settle down a bit, and made a short trip to East Delaney last week.
The weather and wind moved in on "Schoolteacher Mike", Gary and myself,
so it really was a short trip, however the three of us caught and
released a dozen fish in about an hour and a half. A variety of
offerings were working as we landed all 'bows on Kastmasters, flies,
white curly tails, black maribou jigs and motor oil colored Squirmin'
Squirts. 7 feet of water off the West parking lot was the location for
some beautiful dark males up to 17 inches already showing their spawning

As we were packing up, local angler Joe Rudy met us in the parking
area to fill us in on his morning at South Delaney, where he landed and
released a peck of fish on about everything he threw at 'em. Also,
while talking to Jack Alcorn, he informed me that some friends of his
wrestled in some real dandies last week along North Delaney's south
shore, which all adds up to the versatility of North Park Lakes. When
one body doesn't produce to your expectations, there is usually another
close by that will.

As far as Lake John is currently concerned, or any small
impoundment for that matter, after undergoing the onslaught of a fishing
contest, the fish seem fidgety and are biting very lightly. Many
fishermen angling through ice huts are seeing plenty of fish bite, but
by watching, are literally yanking the baits from the fishes' jaws when
the fish only "mouths" their offerings. You would never know this until
you actually see it happen. Believe it or not, the best thing to do
when you see fish come in, is to look away until you "feel" them, then
set the hook. Another, even better way to achieve more hook-ups, is to

This past weekend the above scenario happened to a couple guys
staying in our cabins. After a day and a half of frustration with only
a few hours to go before they had to leave, I gave them a pair of small
scuds which they attached to their lightest rigs. Adding a small piece
of wax worm, they proceeded to catch enough fish to have the dinner
they promised their wives.

As February approaches, the smallest of tricks will become
enormously helpful. It's getting to the time of the season when you may
have to work a little harder when the fish won't cooperate. But if you
do, the rewards should be worth the effort.