By Nancy Larson
Over the past several months I spent some time on lakes in Kandiyohi County to observe the type of experiences local anglers are creating during Minnesota winters. The fraternity of anglers are the first to share that each month (January – March) offers a unique opportunity to finding and catching fish.
Ice Fishing Essentials:
Gearing up and having the right equipment for ice fishing is half the battle. The Willmar Lakes Area offers plenty of unique choices when it comes to purchasing bait, tackle and supplies. These knowledgeable and experienced
Utilizing several lure and bait options in February is essential if you want to catch the fish.
dealers can help navigate local waters and give tips on the latest hot spots! Each store has unique offerings that really makes the entire experience more fun!
-Pete’s Surplus- www.petessurplusmn.com
-Mel’s Sport Shop- www.facebook.com/melssportshop
-Highway 71 Bait and Tackle- www.facebook.com/JandJ71Bait
-West Central Bait and Fisheries- www.gotwalleyes.com
-Skindelien’s New London
-Runnings Supply- www.runnings.com
Ice House Rentals and Companies:
Luckily the Willmar Lakes Area has multiple offerings when it comes to renting or buying a fish house. These houses are decked out offering comfort, unique design features and craftsmanship that are world class. Many of the ice fishing houses today are utilized year-round for purposes far beyond the winter months. Contact these local dealers to begin your next ice fishing adventure!
-Black Bear Fish House Company- www.blackbearfh.com
-Green Lake Rentals- www.facebook.com/GreenLakeRentals
January, the Cold Hard Facts!
January is typically not the most hospitable month for ice fishing but can produce big rewards. Ice shelter villages appear and disappear daily as anglers attempt to locate where they are biting in the early ice fishing season.
Ice houses, portable heaters and cold weather apparel are a must to protect against January winds and temperatures.
Planning ahead for unfavorable weather conditions and taking the time to prospect the best location is worth the effort. Ice shelters, portable heaters and cold weather apparel can be a deal breaker when it comes to protection against January winds and temperatures. Ice houses out on the lake in January can seem so warm and inviting especially when there is a soft glow coming out the window and smoke rising from the chimney. It’s a great way to get out of the house and experience a MN winter on the lake.
February, All About the Bait!
Utilizing several lure and bait options in February is essential if you want to catch the fish. Using aggressive presentations (flashy lures), subtle movements (quivering or dead lure) or live bait always seems to be an experiment and a big secret! This can literally change by the day or the hour until you dial in on what the fish prefer. No wonder there are so many bait options available. It can mean the difference between a bucket of fish or going home empty handed!
March can generate some of the greatest pleasures when it comes to ice fishing: active fish and warmer weather. The abundance of lakes in the Willmar Lakes Area offers ice anglers the unique opportunity to expand their reach (ice conditions permitting) and find the hot spots. March can offer an unsophisticated, mobile approach to ice
A beautiful winter view of a sunrise over Green Lake.
fishing that even a dog can embrace! There is something about sitting out in the open on an overturned 5-gallon pail and catching fish. The excitement can really get your heart pumping. The milder temperatures, longer days and the emergence of wildlife enhance the experience. Several years ago, we cleaned and fried the fish as we caught them out on Green Lake! Talk about fresh fish! Fishing moments create memories that last a lifetime.
After spending time with local fisherman and better understanding what the Willmar Lakes Area has to offer, it’s clear that the ice fishing experience can be whatever you want it to be! It is all fun and good eating!