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North Park Ice Fishing Report 3/15/09
Bill Wilcox Lake John Resort
I can't believe it is already mid-March. A year ago at this time you could literally walk up the snow bank from our back yard to the roof of the house and we couldn't buy a break from the blowing snow. The ice
on Lake John went off a month later than normal, and what campers did venture out on Memorial Day Weekend spent most of their time huddled up in RVs during a snowstorm. This year, at least if things continue, we may be in for an average spring arrival, which means there are only a couple weeks of ice fishing left. Now don't get me wrong, I know we'll have plenty more snow and cold, but once the melting process begins, it's only a matter of time for the hard water walkers.

Driving vehicles, except for ATV's, has ceased on area lakes for the intelligent sportsman. In areas of East Delaney where we fished last week, ice thickness was about a foot, down from 16 inches the week before, and the bays and inlet areas along the West shore are showing signs of weakness. Although presently safe, all three Delaneys had slightly thinner ice this year than Lake John had. Still with 15 inches or so of ice, John has already seen days when the warmer temperatures melt shoreline snow which runs under the ice cap and turns the water too muddy to fish. Slightly tainted water is all right, but if the water is dirty, fish elsewhere. With more nice weather predicted for this week, just be aware that things may change quite rapidly.

As far as the fishing goes - it's great! This past Wednesday, Gary, Mike and I fished both the north and south ends of Lake John, releasing a dozen fish in only a few hours using flies in shallow water. Nothing was brought to the surface that I would consider a true "hog", however a couple broke the 20 inch mark. Thursday, the three of us spent some time at East Delaney where the action was nearly non-stop, and we released close to 50 fish of all sizes. It's always good to see the different age classes in any lake, and East has them all. From last summer's fingerlings to the near 5 pounders, they were all biting for us. A friend of mine and long time fisherman of North Park waters showed me a picture over the weekend of a beautiful 25 incher he released back into the East Lake on Saturday after it had stolen his rod down through the hole during a moment of inattentiveness. A short time later while using a different rod, he managed to accidentally snag the line in which to retrieve both rod and fish. Sometimes we just get lucky. It didn't seem to matter what offering we used at East 'cause the fish hit 'em all, and a bare Rat Finkee worked for me. And you better keep it bare, because there are no baits whatsoever allowed at any of the Delaneys. I couldn't join Mike and Gary on Friday, again at Lake John, where they released a half dozen and reported to me that they were getting spoiled. "These fish were smaller," they told me, only about 3 pounders."

I've been telling you for weeks, if you love to catch fish through the ice, then get ready for a Spring ice fishing trip to North Park. Well, the time is now, the fish are ready, and the ice won't last forever. Fish small, fish shallow, set the drag correctly and don't put your rod down. Believe me, the fish will know.