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North Park Ice Fishing Report 2/15/09
Bill Wilcox Lake John Resort
I have an old truck, in this country it's required. It was left here in the sagebrush behind the resort when we bought the place. It's a 4WD, three-quarter-ton GMC that was brutally neglected. All these years it's been a continuous work in progress just to keep it moving - in both directions. I mounted an old snow plow that I found with the weed-whacker, recycled the engine, and it's been a summer and winter workhorse ever since. However, some of the ongoing work that needed to be done to extend the life of this old truck exceeded my abilities, which really isn't all that difficult. Anyway to make a long story shorter, several years ago, a few of the "Carhartt Boys", (did I mention that they are as good with friends and old trucks as they are with ice fishing?), took my old unit under their wing, after I drove it to their garage in Kersey. (I still can't believe it made it that far with the transmission nearly visible from the rear view mirror), and did wonders with the next to nothing I gave them to spend. That was some time ago, and my workhorse still limps along to keep the resort open in winter and haul trailers, gravel and tools in summer.

I know by now you're wondering what this has to do with ice fishing. Well, it happens quite often, I'm sure it's because this is the only business in the middle of nowhere, that I get called upon to yank out stuck ice fishermen attempting to drive where they shouldn't. This past weekend, for whatever reason, I was called upon more often than usual, even once by the local Sheriff's Dept., because they couldn't get the wrecker to assist a stranded fisherman who was probably where he shouldn't have been in the first place. Please- it only takes a few minutes to get out of your truck and walk through the area you intend to drive before you get your lazy butt stuck for the better part of the day when you could be fishing. Besides, it will keep me from
feeling bad and save having to give you this long explanation of why I can't use my old truck to jerk you out. I apologize in advance because I make a living at helping people, but if anything was to take the old
beater out of commission, especially in winter, I might as well lock my doors.

Despite it being the middle of February, typically the slowest time of the ice fishing season, fishermen tend to be holding their own against weather and quarry. Although not fast and furious, many coldfooters are satisfied with the bite while enjoying a pleasant day, at least by North Park standards in winter. Lake John has been putting out average fish in the two to two-and-a-half pound range, and even though full limits are not the norm, a good number of sportsman are at least having the chance to do battle with one of the bigger brutes that John has been famous for lately. The recent success has definitely been awarded to those fishermen who out-work the others. Knowing that fish are in the area is key. Whether by watching down the hole, using electronics, or simply getting bites, you must be into fish. If not, move. However having fish under you doesn't necessarily mean you'll catch them either. The trend lately is to go small with a subtle jigging motion keeping your rod in hand at all times. With the light bite, the slightest of hesitations means set the hook. Use a small piece of meat where legal and change up often if not getting action.
Don't go too deep. The best action has been in 6 to 10 feet of water.

Even with the tendency for the lakes to slow down after the pressure of a fishing contest, the Delaneys seem to be cruising steady. During the tournament, all three Ds had a fair bite, and even with North getting hit the hardest, it continues to put out a few fish. Local angler Gary Arnold spent some time on South Delaney last weekend, pulling out several nice fish using flies of his own design. During the contest I fished with a couple of the Carhartt Boys and Schoolteacher Mike, and even though no one was in the money (I got knocked out by a tenth of an inch), we caught a lot of fish with several over-slot. We landed fish on a variety of offerings, however the biggest hit on crawdad colored tube jigs, Kastmasters and flies. Once again, don't go deep. Our best luck at any of the Delaneys was 5 to 8 feet of water. Reports from Cowdrey Lake are that some days are better than others, which is typical anywhere, but on a good day, even though the fish are small, fun can be had by all.