• Chris Rothmeier

Behind the Bite: Ep. 3

We set out on what I guess you would call early ice, even though it was late December. We had 9-10” of ice with some snow, perfect for both wheeler and snowmobile travel. This was a relatively shallow lake, with a basin depth of 14-15 feet. We knew the panfish would be roaming the edges of the breaks and picked a rock point that dropped down into the basin as our starting point.

As the guy that procured this bite, I was a little nervous at first to see very few fish on the Garmin, and the first few come up the hole on the (very) small side. A move down the break a mere 50 yards provided a two-hour window of some of the best pan-fishing I have had. Doubles, Triples soon ensued. The variety of chuckles heard each time someone caught one bigger than the last was resounding. “Ooooh look at this one!” Success! 10” bluegills and 12-14” crappies, one after another. Throw in a few bonus walleyes, some perch, and a largemouth bass. We covered them all.

Now the times on this lake prior to filming were overcast, cloudy, snowy. This day started off the same. Throughout the catching, the weather was not noticed once, until the sun came out and the fish moved. And moved. And moved. Moved Faster. “20 feet that way, drill... 50 feet that way, drill… They are past us, drill…” We chased them for another hour. Jim took a #bearcatnap. We shot it, we packed up and headed on our way.

The bite seemed best on a tungsten and a waxworm. The fish were less likely to eat on a plastic. I liked switching between that tungsten and a buckshot tipped with a minnow head. When the fish seemed bored with the tungsten, the buckshot fired them right back up.

Minnesota is full of fantastic areas to fish, Alexandria being one. The variety of lakes and species is endless, and is centrally located between Fargo, and the Twin Cities. Big Bluegills are not as easy to come by as they once were. Practicing catch and release is key to ensuring these big ones to reproduce. All ours were released to be caught again. This episode outlines what makes ice fishing to me fun. Friends, buddies, family hanging out shooting it, catching them, taking a nap and having a great time. Its therapy. Its out of the house, its fresh air, its comradery. Its what is about.

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