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Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior

by Will Roseberg on 02/06/2013

First Fish of the Trip!
A few years ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to fishing the Great Lakes by my good fishing buds Brad and Chad. After multiple open water trips chasing Kings in the Summer and Brown Trout in the Spring, this past weekend was my first experience ice fishing the big water and all I can say is Oh my lord, why haven't I tried this sooner!

Our destination was the Apostle Islands on the Southern shores of Lake Superior and the game plan was to spend a day chasing Lake Trout in deep water, then use the rest of the weekend exploring the shallow water looking for browns and splake. Unfortunately due to uncertainty of the ice and the tragic loss of a guide just one week earlier we were limited to focusing on structure within walking distance of shore. Being that we were heading to unfamiliar ice and with a cold front bringing absolutely frigid temperatures, we smartly chose to wait until after it was light out hit the water. Arriving just after sun-up to air temps at -10 with 15-20 mph winds never have I been more grateful for my thermal Otter Pro Lodge which, even as wind chills dipped to -30 and below, left me fishing in nothing more than a sweatshirt.


Big Brown!
We set up on the edge of a small shelf that slowly fell from 25 to 35 ft before turning into a cliff-like drop-off and started each using a different style/color of spoon. Before I could even get my spoon down the hole I hear Chad yell "Fish on! Excitedly I ran over and quickly started to realize what we were dealing with as Chads line was stretched tight scraping around the bottom of the hole seemingly ready to break at any moment as the fish made drag peeling run after run. Quickly running back to my shack I grabbed a gaff and finally on the 4th or 5th time having him in hole we had a monster splake on the ice!

Holy smokes! If a splake puts up that kind of fight I could hardly imagine what it would be like to lace up a big brown. Luckily I didn't have to wait long to find out as shortly thereafter my LX-7 lit up with what I thought was a school of small fish. As I coaxed them up instead of the small tap I was expecting I felt a huge thump and the rod was almost ripped from my hands. The fight was unlike anything I've ever felt through the ice before. Luckily in preparation for the trip I had just picked up a brand new Tuned Up 36" Power Precision rod built exactly for a fish like the one I had on the other end of my line. With plenty of backbone to bury the hook and handle the drag stripping runs but still enough give to keep from ripping the hooks out during violent head shake after violent head shake this rod was perfect for Browns. Working it slowly towards the hole I hadn't even caught a glimpse as it ran almost straight up and was just inches under the ice making runs back and forth under my feet, then as I got to the leader and slowly lifted the rod tip all of a sudden the water just exploded and there it was seemingly filling the entire hole. In one quick, almost reactionary swoop I grabbed my gaff and scooped it onto the ice!


What a Rush!!
It was at that moment that I realized I had the adrenaline shakes. Think walleye, bass, and pike now add them all together then multiply by 5 and you'll end up somewhere close to what a big brown feels like on the end of the line. I was surprised by my excitement level (much like the feeling of having a huge buck walk into range during archery season) but what wasnt surprising is that my 1st ever Brown fell victim to a Slender Spoon! As we quickly found out, they're as deadly on trout & splake as they are on walleyes. Without catching another fish for the weekend my trip would have been a success, but we ended day #1 catching 14 splake and 2 browns

Day #2 we headed to the same area but got there to find that with warmer temps (now hovering around a balmy +2 degrees) we had company. Moving down the shoreline to get away from others we quickly started catching splake but then just as quickly they were gone so we made what turned out to be a great decision as we packed up and moved to some fresh ice a few miles down the shoreline. One of the things that you'll immediately notice if you ever fish this area is the current and in moving to our second spot we immediately noticed a change in current strength. I wasnt even able to see my spoon without drilling an extra hole for my transducer 5 ft away in the direction the current was pushing my spoon and switching from to the heavier 5/16 variety in my favorite red/silver color. Just as we had hoped the current change made all the difference and we were again catching fish right away.


Weapons of choice - TUC
Power Precision and Marcum
LX-7
And then I saw it, another mark that looked like small school of fish all moving in unison. It was exactly like I had seen the day before on my LX7, only this time as it moved towards my lure just as I was readying to bury the hooks it moved away at the last second. This happened at least a dozen times as it approached again and again but didn't commit. Luckily, by being able to configure my LX-7 with both a vertical zoom and a full flasher I would see within a fraction of an inch how it reacted to each movement of my spoon and I was able to read this fish like a book. By timing my jig fall to be exactly as the fish moved in towards it WHAM, I finally felt that hard thump and the drag started peeling. This time as I eased the fish off bottom and towards the hole I was able to peer down and see as it made 5 runs back and forth about 10 below the ice before I finally brought her topside. Watching the fight only added to the excitement and this time I bet I didnt quite shaking for a good half hour. What an absolute rush!

Our 3rd morning started out much the same way with a just under 20" brown and multiple splake, but then the current quickly died and so did the fishing so we decided to call it a weekend. For the trip we iced between 40-50 splake and 4 nice browns, not too bad for our first ice trip to Superior!

With a huge thanks to Brad and Chad for dragging me along on one of their salmon trips a few years back and getting me hooked, I already cant wait to get back over there this spring, and next summer, AND again next winter!



Location : Wisconsin
Water Body : Lake Superior
Species : trout
Technique : ice fishing


--------------------
http://www.facebook.com/Will.Roseberg.Fishing

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.


Will Roseberg

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


A couple more photos from the trip...

Another thing that I strongly reccomend if you're interested in heading to this area would be to check with someone who knows the area about either a fully guided trip or even just some spot guiding to help narrow the learning curve, make sure you have the necessary gear, and ensure you stay dry and safe. PM me and I can point you in the right direction

1360178884_brownOtter2.JPG1360178946_splake.JPG1360178981_bigbrownwithOtter1.JPG
1360178884_brownOtter2.JPG


Edited by Will Roseberg (02/06/13 03:17 PM)


Joel Ballweg

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Pretty cool report Will!
It sure sounds like an absolute blast.
Nice pics as well.

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JOEL BALLWEG - IDO FIELD STAFF
B'Fish'N Tackle.com
Ballweg's Guide Sevice, LLC
Lake Wisconsin Fishing.com




Devin Holten

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Nice Fish! Sounds like you had a great time on the ice catching some giants. Great job!

Jake Bohnsack

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Fun report to read Will!

Now the only problem is I read it right now before BED!! Yeah, not gonna sleep now! I keep thinking if I cut out a few hobbies and species I will have more time to focus and get better prioritizing my time... This report is adding to my list however, a good thing I guess! Looks like it was a good thing you had the Thermal lodge- they are a blessing in brutal temps! The split pants makes the story even better! I wish I could have heard the drag while looking at those photos, Lakers and Browns truly fighters!

Keep the reports coming!

Jake

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Jake Bohnsack
Jakebohnsack@gmail.com



Jmarksman

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Awesome Report! The bite is still going strong.

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John Marksman
Marksman Guide Service
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marksman-Guide-Service/184699227210?ref=hl


Will Roseberg

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Quote:

Fun report to read Will!

Now the only problem is I read it right now before BED!! Yeah, not gonna sleep now! I keep thinking if I cut out a few hobbies and species I will have more time to focus and get better prioritizing my time... This report is adding to my list however, a good thing I guess! Looks like it was a good thing you had the Thermal lodge- they are a blessing in brutal temps! The split pants makes the story even better! I wish I could have heard the drag while looking at those photos, Lakers and Browns truly fighters!

Keep the reports coming!

Jake




Next year you'll have to join us Jake!

--------------------
http://www.facebook.com/Will.Roseberg.Fishing

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.


Will Roseberg

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Quote:

Awesome Report! The bite is still going strong.




Thanks John! It was great getting a chance to meet up with you for a on Friday.

--------------------
http://www.facebook.com/Will.Roseberg.Fishing

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.


Will Roseberg

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


Quote:

Pretty cool report Will!
It sure sounds like an absolute blast.
Nice pics as well.




Thanks Joel!

--------------------
http://www.facebook.com/Will.Roseberg.Fishing

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.


Joel NelsonAdministrator

Re: Shallow Water Browns Thru the Ice on Lake Superior


It's been too long since I've done that Will, and your trip makes me want to get up there even more! Love all the colors and variations of those fish, along with the anticipation of knowing that your next fish could be gigantic. Thanks for the report and info Will!

Joel

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Joel Nelson - Ice Pro Staff
joel.nelson@in-depthoutdoors.com



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