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12th Annual

NEW PRODUCTS FOR 2020/2021

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ICE FISHING TIPS!

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 1


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 3


Ice Institute

ICE

This is YOUR Show

Welcome to the Ice Institute...... 5 Show Dates, Hours and Sponsors

Schedule............................................ 6

INSTITUTE

Check out New Products!

Vendors.............................................. 7

Contents

Ice Fishing

ICE FISHING PREP............................ 14

It’s Time to Prep Your Gear

SONAR PLUS CAMERA.................. 20

Lake of the Woods Style

EARLY ICE ESSENTIALS.................... 8 ICE SLED SELECTION..................... 10 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks

Contributors Joel Nelson Scott Olson Joe Henry Dakota Angler

Magazine Team

CEO/PRESIDENT: K.A. Lesnar MANAGING EDITOR: Paul Nester OPERATIONS MANAGER: Hosea Bennett COMPOSITION MANAGER: Catherine Krause Composition: Dan Brauer, Jesse Bierman

Marketing 605-274-2640

Paul Nester - Paul@midwesthuntfish.com

Ice Catch of the Day

RECIPES FOR YOUR CATCH........ 28

Ice’s Deadliest 1-2 Punch

Getting Started on the Hardwater

THE “BIG 3”.......................................... 24

Dakota Angler Ice Institute Todd Heitkamp Owner, Dakota Angler 1120 East Benson Road Sioux Falls, SD 57104 605-336-9132 todd@dakotaangler.com • www.dakotaangler.com

4005 S. Western Ave - PO Box 5184 Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5184 Sales: 605-274-2640 - Fax: 605-335-6873 sales@midwesthuntfish.com • www.midwesthuntfish.com

Publisher/Printer: SIOUX FALLS SHOPPING NEWS, INC.

All copy, pictures and graphics are reserved and may not be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed and information given are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Midwest Hunting & Fishing Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher.

Page 4 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020

Departments

ADVERTISER INDEX A Ardisam/Eskimo.....3, 27 B Black Hole Ice Shack........................13 C Clam Outdoors...........12 D Devils Lake Tourism.....................22 K Kroubetz Lakeside Campers...................30 M Minnow Hopper..........17

P PK Products, Inc.........13 R Rapala.....................2, 32 S Sheehan Trailers.........18 Shuck’s Lures.............16 SKB Cases..................31 Sven's Sleeve.............12 V Vexilar.........................23 Voyager Industries..................30 W Waubay Guide Service......................19

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Welcome to the

ICE

INSTITUTE Welcome to the 12th Annual Dakota Angler Ice Institute! My family would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the 12th Annual Dakota Angler Ice Institute! 2020 has been a strange year to say the least with the affects and impacts of Covid. The decision on whether to hold the Ice Institute was not an easy one to say the least, but in the end, we decided to give the people the choice to attend or not. So, to say the least, we are thankful to all of you that have attended this year! We have taken steps to keep everyone’s health in mind by encouraging the use of masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the event site. Covid has also impacted this year’s show. We are sorry to say that we will not be able to offer seminars this year. These seminars have become a staple to the Ice Institute with many people looking forward to them. But since we are not able to social distance enough, we could not in good conscience hold the seminars this year and we hope you understand. Twelve years ago, the first Ice Institute was held next to our store and a total of 75 people attended. Plenty of conversations were held between my wife and me on whether we wanted to continue to hold the Institute and as history has shown, we are thankful we did. As each year as passed, the Good Lord has continued to bless it with continued growth. This will be the 4th year that the Ice Institute is held at the Sioux Falls Arena. The expansive space of the Arena has allowed the Institute to grow even more in attendance making it one of the fastest growing ice fishing show of its kind. And this year we have expanded into the Convention Center and next year the Ice Institute will be in the Arena and the entire Convention Center!! Throughout the years, the Dakota Angler Ice Institute has continued to grow and this year, we have more vendors than ever before! Over 30 new vendors are on hand for this year’s show. So be sure thank each and every vendor for attending the Ice Institute and making it what it is today! Each of them has a busy schedule and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them making the Institute a priority! None of the success we have experienced with Dakota Angler or the Ice Institute would be possible without any of you. We know we have the best customers around and we appreciate each of you! We hope you continue to like the changes we have made this year to enhance your experience. But remember if you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve the show, please let us know. This is your show and we want to continue to meet YOUR needs. I’ve said many times that the Ice Institute is often imitated, but NEVER duplicated and that remains true today. We hope you enjoy the Ice Institute. Again, from my family to yours – welcome to the Dakota Angler Ice Institute! Fish on!! Sincerely, The Heitkamp Family Midwesthuntfish.com

2020

Todd Heitkamp Meteorologist and Owner of Dakota Angler in Sioux Falls, SD Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 55


ICE

INSTITUTE Vendors

Show Hours:

Friday, November 13: 3 PM to 9 PM Saturday, November14: 10 AM to 7 PM Sunday, November 15: 10 AM to 3 PM

Admission: $5

UP

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Name Booth # 13 Fishing...........................................EH24 2B Rods................................................. EH7 4Most Fabrication....................................14 Ace Rods..................................................33 Acme...................................................... EH3 Amped Outdoors......................................35 Ancil's Guide Service...............................32 Any Glide Aqua Vu...............................................EH10 Arctic Anchor..............................................8 Bait Caddy................................................30 Big Frig Black Hole Ice Shack & Quick Clamp Brookings Power Sports C&M Sno Bear Sales & Service Catch Cover........................................... EH5 Cherry County Tourism.......................EH18 Clam Cold Snap Outdoor Core Ice Houses Crytaleyes Fishing....................................34 Midwesthuntfish.com

ICE INSTITUTE BOOTHS

DH Custom Rods........................................5 Eagle Claw...........................................EH15 Elliott Rods............................................ EH6 Eskimo Eyeconic Fishing........................................3 Fishing Assault.........................................16 Garmin.................................................EH14 HardKor Outdoors HardWater Life............................................7 Helm Marine.............................................29 Hidden Hills Lodge.....................................9 Humminbird........................................EH13 I Fish Pro.............................................EH23 Ice Auger Machines....................................2 ION Augers..........................................EH26 Jiffy........................................................ EH2 JT Outdoor Products K-Drill..................................................EH20 Kroubetz Campers - Yetti Lakewood Products.............................EH25

Shappell..............................................EH15 Sheehan Trailers - Glacier Ice Houses Shimano..............................................EH11 Silencer Central..........................................6 Slayer Jigs................................................10 Strikemaster.........................................EH22 Striker.................................................... EH8 Sure Step..................................................17 Sven's Sleeve...........................................19 Thalmann's Guide Service........................22 The Bobber Buddy....................................27 Timpte.............................................Entrance Tuned Up Custom Rods Valley Outdoors........................................20 Venom Outdoors......................................23 Vexan Ice......................................... Hallway Vexilar..................................................EH19 Wallace Decoys........................................36 Widow Maker.............................................4 Wild J's Fishing Adventures & Shane Guy's Guide

Line Cutterz..............................................15 Marcum................................................. EH4 Maynard's Tackle Midwest Outdoors...............................EH17 Minnow Hopper........................................31 Norsk Batteries.........................................24 North 40 Fab Northern Lights Rattle Reels.....................11 Northland............................................... EH1 Okuma.................................................EH21 On The Go Flag Pole................................18 One Last Cast.............................................1 Otter Overkil Metals...........................................13 PK Lures..........................................25 & 26 Pure Fishing........................................EH12 RAZR Ice Augers.......................................28 Reineke Chiropractic Clinic......................37 Rotomold..................................................21 Scooter J Custom Rods............................12 Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 7 7


“They’re right where we left them”

I blurted while quickly dropping another small sucker to whoever was stealing them below. It was a private thought that worked its way out on last season’s first-ice-foray. I was pretty certain they were walleyes, as I’d fished them in the months leading up to ice. They remained right off of a point on the first shoreline break where we’d had two flags fly before drilling the rest of the holes. We jigged up a few perch and walleyes amongst those tip-ups right at dark, before gingerly creeping back to shore. We were on solid ice, a good 6” of it, but you never can be too careful. Even when well-prepared, I’m not the guy creeping on a few mere inches like I once was. Age, kids, and some dodgy experiences will do that to you. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Teddy Roosevelt more than a century before social media would commercialize and so readily invite it. At this point in the season, if you consume any digital content at all, you’ve probably already seen people walking on ice. They may be in Alberta, the high rockies, or even lowland portions of northern Minnesota. Chances are, you’re not fishing the lakes they might be, and chances are higher that even so, your ice-envy may be growing by the minute. Take a deep breath, get your

deer gun ready, and spend some time chasing other fall pursuits. Ice will be there when you come out of that wormhole. Freezeup this early can be short-lived should the mercury rise back to more average values, and extremely early ice usually suffers that fate. Again, those few early ice fall-throughs, whether personal or publicized tend to shape your thoughts on the matter. They also inform you as to what essentials you need for any first ice trip. As you might imagine, they’re a small kit with safety equipment that can be lifesaving. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to buy a few products off the rack to protect you should ice give way. I’ve pushed a canoe out with rope tied around my waist, but here are some better options. FLOAT SUIT There’s no excuse not to own one these days, as performance has dramatically risen, with value-minded options galore. They’re flexible, worn tackle bags as well, with quite a bit of thought and ergonomics going into their design. They shed water, rather than wick it up your leg like the coveralls of old, and really make ice fishing that much more enjoyable. You won’t know they float until you need them to, and that’s fine by me. SPUD BAR At the start of every season, I never leave the truck without a spud bar, and no spud is safe without “tuning-it.” Take any fish ruler, and start swinging that bar at the ice. Take good strong strokes, then physically measure inches of ice and how many hits in the same place until you start to see water. On average, each swing can remove 1” of ice, but every spud and person is

Photo Credit: Otter

Photo Credits: Matt Addington

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different. For me, an aggressive chisel end spud bar showing water on 1 or even 2 swings is a no-walk-zone. It should take a good 3 or 4 hard swings with these until I’m finding the 4+” that make me comfortable. Spud anything that looks different than what you just walked on. Spud the milky ice, the black ice, the snow-covered ice, and the stacked ice. All of it tends to have slightly different thicknesses early, and you never know where there could be a spring, inlet, or other unwater current. Eventually, you’ll get better at “reading” that ice, but there’s still no substitute for a good spudding.

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PICKS Put them around your neck and forget about them. No matter how many times they get in your way, move them out of the way. Early ice can be some of the worst to climb back onto, especially when it’s black. Add water to that surface and there’s no substance slicker. CLEATS Speaking of slippery, you should really have something on your feet to keep grip. Boot treads won’t cut it. The worst I’ve ever seen was a foggy first ice trip on black ice where I was the only one who didn’t have them. I literally couldn’t move out there, it was ridiculous. Never again. After seeing some ice injuries in person and even a concussion, there’s more reasons than simple grip to be wearing these first ice. THROW ROPE There’s convenient ones all ready and in a bag for you these days, but it can be any kind of rope you’d like. Preferably, it would be 25’ in length or longer, and have some relatively heavier item tied to the end for accurate throwing. While I’ve never had to use mine, I can see plenty of scenarios where it would be preferable to finding a stick on shore, an auger bit, or other long item to pass a soaked friend after they’ve gone through. Before you check your favorite haunts, remember we’ve still got a few weeks to go. It’s a good time to prep your gear, get a few last items, and think about lakes you’d like to hit. If you still have open water, there’s time to find first ice spots. If not, take your time and be safe out there before you start swinging that spud bar.

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 99


Ever thought about the best sled for hauling your gear onto the ice? If you’re like most people, it’s not a strong consideration, at least until it’s spills over at the launch, runs into the back of your ATV, or weighs you down when pulling it through snow. It’s a gear category that most of us really take for granted, even after disaster strikes, as most of us tend to make do with whatever we have. Like many things, I’ve learned the hard way that not all sleds are created equal, and depending on how you’ll be using it, some features lend themselves to success better than others.

The Cheapie I’ve towed ice gear in everything from red plastic kids sleds to drywall mud mixing utility tubs. The chief upside is price and availability. Chances are, you’ve got one laying around, and if you’re pulling by hand over fairly even terrain and little snow, it may serve your purposes just fine. Downsides are plenty however, from the way they pull over deep snow (plowing through or floating unevenly across the top), to how well they secure your gear inside. No slopes, no high speeds or with machines, and no expensive gear should be some basic rules of the road with these sleds. They’re the first to disintegrate, quickest to frustrate, and fastest to end up back in the garage from my experience. If you ice fish or winter recreate even only a few times per season, you can probably do better. The Hand Tow In terms of price, you’re looking at a sled that’s mid-range. They tend to be large, but not overly so, as the poly rope that’s typically attached is meant to be hand-pulled in a variety of conditions. The sled is heavier duty, but again, not to the point of feeling overweight, as the main goal of these sleds is for foot traffic and transport. You want higher sides if possible, along with a good lip at the edge all around, such that you can use bungee straps or other means to secure a load over the rough stuff. I’m in the camp that everyone should own at least one of these kinds of sleds, for a variety of reasons, including the off-season. These sleds are almost always under $100, and can haul over dry land and snow just the same. The angle of attack on the front of them allows for better towing in deep snow, and good grooves running the length of them help it to track straight behind you as well. They’ll float a deer across a small river, and haul landscaping plants around the yard. You may wish to upgrade the rope to something that feels a bit better to bare hands, and also make it longer. Easier yet, a strap system that secures around your waist, paired with that longer lead makes pulling a breeze over longer distances. There’s a million uses, but these improvements apply pretty well to most applications. The Machine Tow If you haul gear around the ice by snowmobile or ATV, the sled you need is entirely different than the first two mentioned. Higher speeds, more torque and tension, along with the temptation to tow heavier items requires something made specifically for the job. For that reason, roto-molded is the only way to go. It’ll cost you more money, but the investment ensures even thickness of the sled throughout, especially in corners, angles, and pockets where it counts Most other sleds are thinner and weaker in these locations. The manufacturing procedure adds some weight, but when behind a machine, you won’t notice it, yet have the durability advantage for your efforts. Page 10 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020

tricks! by JOEL

NELSON

twe

Next you need to think about how you’ll be attaching the sled to your machine of choice. Again, my opinion is fairly strong in saying you need a rigid hitch system. Long ropes are great until you stop suddenly or are on glare ice, in which case your gear quickly becomes a projectile that slams into the back of your machine, or catches and edge and flips over. Rigid steel bar hitch systems completely prevent that and are the premium option for towing. Make sure you’re using an appropriately sized pin and key that adequately secures said hitch to the machine, as looking for pins in the snow is the worst. Equally important is how the hitch system attaches to the sled. Bolt through options, though common, put too much pressure on small areas of the sled, often resulting in failure. A better design is the hitch-pocket system, molded into the sled, that utilizes a pin pushed through the sled, hitch, then sled again. Pressure is distributed evenly throughout the front of the sled, rather than at two individual points, making it far more durable andMidwesthuntfish.com trustworthy.

P


tricks!

tricks!

tweaks!

tweaks!

From here, you can consider Hyfax Runners that wear out before the bottom of your sled will. If you go over gravel, concrete, or any rough patches with regularity, these pay for themselves in time. So too do travel covers that secure the load inside of the sled, keeping it relatively snow free and dry while you pull. If you’re not worried about it floating, I drill a single small hole in each of the small longitudinal wells in the sled at the back end. This allows any water that was trapped inside to escape in my garage by simply propping up the front of the sled slightly. Choose a purpose-driven sled this winter, and enjoy the benefits no matter how you fish or recreate. Especially if you’ve purchased some nicer ice gear over the years, consider it an investment in the whole setup.

*Photo Credit: Otter

Photo Credits: Otter Outdoors Midwesthuntfish.com

Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 11


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 13


Prepping for the winter season for some resorts is a year round process. For most, though, the process starts up towards the end of summer. Resorts begin the process of getting their ice fishing vehicles, trailers, fish houses and other equipment ready for the upcoming ice season. For the many fish houses, there is painting, adding new skids, repairs, checking heaters, fixing windows and a myriad of other tasks that are all part of the process. Part of this process is the decision of how many houses to retire from the fleet. Some of these fish houses have seen 40º below temps, gale force winds, thousands of fish and have been the stage for families, groups and couples making lifelong memories. From a mechanical perspective, light ice rigs such as Geo Trackers with heated trailers are the norm for transporting people out to the fish houses early in the season. These rigs are fixed up, tuned up, welded and made operational so that when the ice is thick enough, typically in mid-December, they are ready to roll.

Page 14 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 14

As the ice thickens, many resorts will transport visitors in a bombardier or possibly a homemade type of track rig. These rigs allow clearance over large snow drifts and exceptional traction with tracks instead of tires. The rigs are typically steered with big skis on the front of the vehicle similar to snowmobile skis, rather than tires that would get stuck in the deep snow. Fully heated, these rigs are traditional on The Walleye Capital of the World. In early December when the ice finally forms, resorts from around the lake up through the NW Angle are working hard marking trails on the thickest ice. One of the first patriarchs on the ice, often only when the ice is just forming, is Brian Ney of Adrian’s Resort. Ney has a reputation of going out on that first ice that would give most of us goose bumps. “I typically start out by walking out with a chisel when there is about 1” of ice. Some areas of ice end up being thicker than other areas, but that’s how we begin staking a trail across 4 Mile Bay,” says Ney. Midwesthuntfish.com


Thousands flock each winter to

Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods

to enjoy some of the best ice fishing in North America. Resorts over the years have taken a very cold, harsh environment and made it enjoyable. From heated resort to heated fish house with the holes drilled and the thermostat set at 70º in areas of the lake teaming with walleyes and saugers. Resorts will even clean your fish! Not a bad way to spend a winter day.

When the ice reaches about 3”, most resorts use a chainsaw to check the thickness of the ice. The guide bar of the chainsaw is marked off in inches. While slowly cutting down into the ice, the ice workers can tell when the water begins to spray up how thick the ice is by how deep into the ice the guide bar is. This is a quick way to check the ice in a variety of different spots while staking trails. Once across the bay, the road goes over a thin strip of land that separates the bay from the lake called Pine Island. This island is made up of primarily sand. As soon as they can make it across, resorts that have a road or bombardier trail, like Adrian’s, will actually cut a hole in the ice and pump water into the sand. “We really soak the sand with the water. This not only makes travel easier, but reduces wear and tear on fish houses and other equipment,” explains Ney. “This is normally done on cold days so the road will freeze hard, making it easier to cross the island.” Midwesthuntfish.com

“Once to the lake, the lake ice is usually more consistent than the bay ice. Sometimes, there can be areas of really rough ice. We normally chop it down and then flood it, making the ice road as smooth as possible,” explains Ney. There are a few pilots in the area that will fly the lake to observe and take notes on what part of the lake freezes first, what part of the lake stays open the latest, where there might be rough ice, which gives resorts some help to stake a trail on the thickest and most consistent ice. Resorts continue to test the ice out to fertile fishing grounds. Closely monitoring the ice every day, they know when it is right to allow the first bit of travel from ATV’s with collapsible fish houses. After a short time of cold weather, resorts begin bringing put out the first few fish houses. These first houses out, in many cases, experience some of the best fishing of the year. All winter long, it is important to follow the marked trails of the resorts as thickness of the ice can obviously vary. Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 15


Typically around December 15th, the snowmobile trails are staked from the mouth of the Rainy River across the lake to the Northwest Angle to the north, Warroad the west, and to Baudette along the Rainy River to the south. These trails really open up travel to the many resorts up at the NW Angle. Gregg Hennum, owner of Sportsman’s’ Lodge stakes and grooms the trail. “We actually have six snowmobiles the day we mark the trail. Two sleds haul trailers with the stakes. Two more go ahead and drill holes that are about 2” inches in diameter while the other two follow and stick in the marker poles,” explains Hennum. The poles are colored black with reflective tape around the top, not only to see the trail, but the black marker allows melting in the warmer weather months. “With those black markers, the ice around the marker melts nicely in the spring, allowing us to pull markers out while moving along at a nice clip on a snowmobile. We have one person drive while the other will sit on the back of the snowmobile and pull the trail markers,” explains Hennum. Trails on the lake and the Rainy River are checked on a regular basis throughout the winter. Nick Painovich, owner of Zippel Bay Resort is also busy preparing for the busy ice season. He, like many resort owners, is one of the first people out early on thin ice checking conditions and staking a trail. “I invested in an airboat a number of years ago to make things easier on me. This way, as I am checking ice on Zippel Bay and eventually out on the main lake, I have a sense of security,” explains Painovich. With the goal of thicker ice, Painovich sometimes helps Mother Nature out a bit. “Out in the open areas, we get some wind that blows the snow off the ice, creating thicker ice. Back in the narrow parts of the bay, the wind doesn’t hit these areas so much and snow starts accumulating. Because of this, I will take out my airboat and give it some power, blowing much of the snow off of the ice, which allows it to freeze quicker.” Page 16 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020

Zippel Bay is famous for their Igloo Bar on the ice. This oversized fish house is in the shape of an igloo, painted the color of ice blocks and shaped like a real igloo. With over 1,000 sq. ft. on the inside, electric lights, big screen TV’s, full bar and partial food menu, this is definitely a gathering spot for visitors who can actually ice fish inside the bar. “We take the Igloo Bar out in two pieces and with a cumalong, pull the two pieces together once the bar is in the right spot. We need about 15” of ice to bring it out,” explains Painovich. “We also prepare the ice some before setting the igloo. I actually will build a snow bank around the spot where the Igloo Bar will be placed. I punch a hole in the ice and pump lake water on the ice, flooding it. I will build this spot up, actually forming a crown on the ice of 3-4” also giving the ice more strength.” Painovich said the Igloo usually gets out on the ice before Christmas. Yes, the winter months at Lake of the Woods are filled with good times, snowmobiling and certainly lots of ice fishing. The next time you come up and are being transported out to a fish house, driving on an ice road or are zipping along on a snowmobile trail, give an extra thought about all of the preparation that takes place to make this frozen environment an ice fishing mecca.

Photos by Joe Henry

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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 17


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Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020 • Page 19


by

JOEL

NELSON

It could be the most common question found on internet forums, Facebook groups, and among the freshman class of ice’s newest anglers – “Sonar or camera?” Sounds like a simple question. Multiple choice even. The answer has always been straight-forward too, with most experienced anglers leaning towards a sonar first, then purchasing a camera to eventually fill in the knowledge gaps as needed depending upon their species of interest. Yet, in many respects the game has changed, and perhaps the answer to that old question should too. Let’s first take a look at the sonar landscape. For years, anglers had few choices regarding sonar, and most were in the $500 price range save a few budget options. Now, a dizzying array of digital and a flasher style sonar units run the gamut from a few hundred dollars, to nearly a grand. As feature sets have become more rich, so has the spend, tempting new anglers to join in at higher price points to “buyup” in technology so as not to get left-behind sooner than later. Meanwhile, mapping has become a critical portion of an angler’s fishing needs, supported through on-phone apps and also sonar/gps combos alike. Depending on your preference, it can be nice to have everything on one unit, yet, ice electronics these days are all about customizing feature sets to serve the species you fish for, in the depths you most frequently target, to get the most bang for your buck. In that light, a $700 flasher as an answer to the question “Sonar or camera?” – may not be the best solution, especially for panfish anglers. As sonar technology has pushed ahead, cameras too have benefitted from better sensors, smaller screens, and lighter, sleeker form-factors. Just as with any consumer electronics, advancements that were 5 years ago top-of-the-line, are now available in budgetfriendly options. As equipment evolves, so too does our angling, meaning the way we did it years ago has likely changed for the better. All of which begs the question, regarding sonar vs. cameras, as to why you wouldn’t do both for even money? Cameras have always played 2nd fiddle to sonar, and that’s likely because you’ve always been able to monitor the whole water column with sonar. However, for a shallow-water angler pursuing panfish, sometimes trading a 9º cone angle for a 90º view of underwater realestate yields more information. Rather than interpreting signals, you’re learning on the fly with your own eyes. Page 20 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020

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While one or the other may get you most of the way, a sonar plus a camera could be the deadliest 1-2 punch on ice. These days, there’s few reasons to settle for one or the other when solid options exist at price points to support both. While it’s well understood what would be missed without a flasher, there’s still some misconceptions about the idea of cameras being more toy than tool, more for fun than function. Tournament anglers have long known the benefit of cameras, from identifying cover and structure like the greenest weeds of the bunch, to sorting through smaller schools of fish to find the right one, there’s a major advantage to seeing on screen a live image of what you’re looking at. Rather than targeting a bottom-hugging school of suckers for hours, quick confirmation of the fact that they’re not walleyes helps anglers move on. Not to mention, when the bite is ultra-tough, there’s nothing like a camera to learn new ways to fool old fish—like laying the bait on bottom and watching them eat. There’s really no substitute on the toughest days with the most finicky of fish. There’s nothing like an underwater camera to make you a better angler as well. Key concepts such as lure-spin, crappies looking up to eat, and gills double-clutching baits, all learned or better understood with underwater viewing. If you want to get better at fishing any bait in your box, fish it in front of an underwater camera first. Then pair the jigging motions you see on-screen to the signals moving on your flasher. You’ll learn very quickly how to translate the perfect jigging stroke from camera to flasher, then replicate it when the best sonar marks come through. There’s plenty of times when a camera is used before a flasher too, especially when staking out a long sit in a wheelhouse or portable for the day. If you’re setting up for an entire weekend, a camera can verify you’re at the exact spot on the spot. From hanging one end of the house up shallow and the other off-break, to positioning on a gravel edge just off of boulders. Nothing is better at confirming exacting locations for difficult fish. So when you’re at retail, considering a brand new sonar with all the bells and whistles, consider all of your options before you pull the trigger. It just may involve scaling back your flasher purchase a bit to make room for a great underwater camera.

Photo Credits: Matt Addington

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Big The

With the turning of the season, our favorite outdoor retail stores have been gearing up for the coming ice season by putting out all of the latest and greatest lures, devices, and accessories to help us be more efficient and successful out on the hardwater. As the popularity of the sport has grown over the last decade, the amount of gear to help us bring those fish up through our ice holes has also grown exponentially. And during this time of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, the outdoors has become both a place of refuge and solace for more people than ever. The current climate could spur on more growth of people wanting to try out the sport for the first time or pick it back up if they’ve been away for a while. If you’re either of those, take heart! Given the massive amount of choices in rods, reels, lures, shelters, ice suits, and other accessories, getting into the sport could seem overwhelming and expensive. But for the beginner looking to get into the sport, it really boils down to getting the “Big 3” to start with before looking into rods, tackle, and accessories. Big Item #1—If you don’t have an auger to get through the ice, you really aren’t going to get too far. And here, you have many options. Gas powered augers are the traditional method and come in a range of prices. But they are not always the most convenient option, with the gas/oil mixing required for most 2-stroke models as well as their weight. Likewise, with propane augers, though these eliminate the hassle of fuel mixing. Advancements in technology has fueled the building of lighter, battery powered augers, such as the Ion, Jiffy, and Strikemaster versions. Others, however, only require a highquality lithium battery powered drill to operate. If you have the drill already, then all you really need to do is purchase one of the standalone augers out there: the Pistol Bit from Eskimo, the Lite-Flite from Strikemaster, the E-Drill from HT, or my favorite, the K-Drill from Vexilar. Besides being ultralight, these augers will last for years to come. With any of these options, you will be drilling holes through the ice in no time. If you go this route, I would also recommend picking up the Conversion Plate from Clam Outdoors. I run the Conversion Plate with a K-Drill and absolutely love the combination! Not only will this plate save a lot of wear and tear on your expensive drill thanks to its design, but it will also save you a lot of stress on your wrists from possible torqueing of your auger as it cuts through the ice. Page 24 • Midwest Hunting & Fishing - Ice Institute Edition - 2020

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Big Item #2—If you don’t have outerwear on that is both warm and windproof/waterproof, you aren’t going to be heading out unless it’s 40º or more outside. Ice fishing is, after all, about fishing on the ice and in the snow and cold. If you get cold, you aren’t going to enjoy any of the sport. Most options you may have already for colder days could be sufficient, but the best option is to look at an ice suit. Whether it’s Clam, Striker, Eskimo, or Strikemaster brand, these suits will keep you warm, dry, and in many cases, safer on the ice. I run with the Clam Ascent suit. It’s wind and waterproof, warm enough for well-below zero days, and has buoyancy properties that will keep me afloat if I were to fall through the ice. It’s like wearing an ice shelter and most days, it’s all I need to stay cozy and dry on the ice. Other brands will have very similar features. But there are options and ranges in prices. It is important to look at all the features and decide what works best for you and your area as well as what conditions you will be looking to go ice fishing in. And Big Item #3—This may seem like an extravagance to a beginner, but trust me, after your auger, there is no more important piece of equipment to bring on the ice than a flasher! You can drill all the holes you want, but without a flasher, you won’t know if there are any fish around. I remember going ice fishing with my friends in high school and college. We drilled holes and put down lines without ever knowing if fish were around. Sometime we got lucky. Most of time, we ended up messing around since the fish weren’t around. I got my first flasher many years ago, a Humminbird 45. My eyes were truly opened to what I had been missing out on! With it, I was catching so much fish since I could see if they were around and if they liked what I was presenting to them. Soon I upgraded to the FL-18 which was my first foray into Vexilar and I haven’t looked any other brand since. I absolutely love the brand and how the units hold up under all conditions as well as the company’s service. I upgraded further still to the FLX-28 four years ago and I still can’t believe what I see below me. Now in no way shape or form do you need to go with the best model (unless you really want to). Entry models like the FL-8 or FLX-12 will work for you just fine for getting started. These are very good, simple units. And there are other models out there as well for every angler and their ice fishing situation. But if you are truly serious about getting started on the ice, a Vexilar in any model is an absolute must have! Midwesthuntfish.com

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Dr. Auger Ice Fishing Services Ice fishing services offered around the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Specialized in targeting a wide range of fish and fully outfitted for both the beginner or seasoned ice angler. For information or to book a trip, email dr.auger81@hotmail.com or visit website, drauger81.wixsite.com/drauger81.

Photo Credits: Scott Olson

When it comes to the other gear like rods, reel, and tackle, I recommend figuring out what kind of fish you are looking to target as well as what lakes you are looking to go on. That way you can eliminate other gear that you won’t need. Whether you want to target panfish or walleye or pike, knowing what you want to fish for will help to break down what rods to look at as well as reels, line, and tackle. For those getting into the sport or looking to get back into it, knowing where you’re going to fish and what you’re going to fish for can narrow down the gear to look at in stores or at shows. Now once you’ve done this much, then you will of course have a plethora of choices in each type of fish category, but some simple online research can help with that too. For the most part, a medium light rod will catch most fish comfortably if you don’t want too many rods. Spring bobbers may be necessary to attach if you plan on targeting pannies with it. But it’ll handle most larger fish and jigs and spoons up to an 1/8th oz. I recommend diversifying a bit and picking at least three rods to use at a given time with their action entirely based on what you are fishing for. For pannies, ultralight, light, and noodle rods are my choice armed with tungsten jigs or light spoons. For walleyes, trout, and bass, light to medium light fits the bill for the most part with heavier jigs and spoons. For target bigger walleyes, pike, or lake trout, definitely look into medium & medium heavy since the rod will have to handle not only a larger and heavier lure, but also a larger fighting fish. If you take care of the “Big 3” to start with, you will find that your time spent on the hardwater will be so much more warm, efficient, and enjoyable. These items may have a bigger price tag than tackle, but these need to be looked at as investments that are going to last for years to come. After these are taken care of, then it’s just a matter of figuring out what you want to fish for. And there’s plenty of help out there for that! Ask your local bait shop, outdoor retail store, any of a number of ice fishing pro staff members that are available to ask questions on social media, or check out online forums. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get the best bang for your buck when looking to start out in ice fishing. It’s just a matter of asking! Have fun out there and here’s to a long hardwater season of tight lines!

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t n g r e s e u h d . . d y . r g o h ,

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walleye

Dip

Ingredientsı • 2 walleye filets • 1/2 tsp. dried dill or 2 tsp. fresh dill • 3-4 whole peppercorns • 1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese • 1 C. shredded cheddar • 1/2 C. mayo • 1 tsp. hot sauce • 1 tsp. chipotle hot sauce • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley • 1/2 lemon Directions: In a small frypan, poach filets in 1 C. of water seasoned with dill and peppercorns. Cook 4 minutes. Fish is done when it turns white. Remove from water; drain on paper towel. Combine softened cream cheese, cheddar, mayonnaise, hot sauces, chives, parsley & fish. Mix well. Pour onto glass pie plate. Bake at 400º for 10-15 min. Broil an additional 5 min. for crispy top. Remove from oven, squeeze lemon over top, serve with hard crackers or torn bread.

Pan Fried Perch & Tomatoes with Mustard Sauce Yummly Ingredients: • 2 shallots • 11 oz. cherry tomatoes • 1 1/2 lb. perch fillet • salt • 3 Tbsp. pastry flour • 2 Tbsp. olive oil • 1/2 C. white wine (or vegetable broth) • 3/4 C. soy creamer • 3 Tbsp. grainy mustard • pepper • 2 sprigs dill Directions: Peel shallots; cut into very small pieces. Rinse cherry tomatoes; drain. Cut fillet into 3/4 x 3/4” pieces. Lightly salt fish pieces; coat with flour. Shake off excess. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Fry fish on each side briefly. Remove; place on a plate. Add shallots & tomatoes to skillet; sauté briefly. Stir in white wine & soy creamer; cook 2 min. Stir in mustard. Add fish back to skillet; cook 45 sec. Season with salt & pepper. Rinse dill, shake dry, pluck fronds & sprinkle over fish.

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Honey Fried

walleye Ingredientsı • 4 walleye fillets • 1/2 C. milk • 1 C. flour • 1/2 tsp. salt

• 2 eggs • 1/2 C. honey • 2 sleeves of Saltine crackers • canola oil

Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs, milk & 2 Tbsp. honey. Crush up saltines and mix in salt & flour. Cut up walleye into small chunks. Pour a 1/2” oil in a frying pan; heat to approx. 350º. Dunk walleye chunks in egg/honey mixture; soak for 5 min. Remove walleye and dredge in the crushed saltine mixture. Fry the walleye for 4-5 min. per side, or until it flakes. Remove walleye from oil, drain on paper towel and drizzle honey over them. Serve with sides of choice.

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crappie

Cakes

Ingredientsı • 1 lb. fresh crappie fillets • 3/4 C. bread crumbs • 1 egg • 1 tsp. seafood spice • 1/4 C. red bell peppers, finely chopped • 1/4 C. onions, finely chopped • dash worchestershire sauce • 1/4 C. mayo • 1 tsp. dry mustard spice • 1/2 stick of butter • 1 Tbsp. olive oil Directions: Dice onions & red bell peppers together. In a mixing bowl, combine ingredients, except oil & butter. Stir ingredients together, then form 4-5 patties. Heat oil & butter in black iron skillet. Place patties in skillet, and reduce heat to medium. Cook patties 7-9 min. per side, depending on thickness. Serve on lettuce with remoulade or mustardbased sauce. Ingredientsı • 5 slices bacon, cooked & chopped • 3 Tbsp. butter • 1/2 C. celery, chopped • 1 large yellow onion, chopped • 1/4 C. all-purpose flour • 4 C. cold milk • 2 C. cubed red potatoes • Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste

walleye

Chowder

• 2 8 oz. walleye fillets, in chunks • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions: In a large stock pot, heat butter over med-high heat. Add celery & onions, sauté until softened. Stir in flour to create roux to thicken sauce. Slowly whisk in milk. Add potatoes & bacon; stir gently. Reduce heat; simmer for 30 min, until potatoes are cooked through. Add fish chunks; cook for additional 6-8 min, until fish is cooked through. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Garnish with parsley; serves 4-6.

Healthy Parmesan Garlic Crumbed FISH Ingredientsı • 2 5 oz. white fresh fish fillets, skinned • olive oil spray Crumbs • 1/2 C. Panko breadcrumbs • 2 Tbsp. parmesan, freshly grated • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

• 2 tsp. dijon mustard • salt & pepper • 1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped • 1 clove garlic, minced • Pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat grill to 400º or broiler on high. Combine crumb ingredients; mix well. Season each fillet with salt & pepper; spread mustard on top of each fillet. Press crumb mixture onto mustard on each fillet. Press down firmly to make it stick. Spray oven proof fry pan (preferably non stick) with olive oil and place on stove over high heat. Place fillets in pan; cook 1 1/2 min. Then place on grill or under broiler, 5" from heat source. Cook for 5 min. until crumbs are golden brown.

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12th Annual Dakota Angler Ice Institute MHF  

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