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UPSmallie

Ice Fishing on 24 inches with a 3/4 oz Spoon Gets Me These Guys

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This is kind of long winded, but I'd say worth the read.

 

I'd never ice-fished for splake before, but it had always been on my bucket list.  These last few weeks I had heard that they had been catching them down in the usual spot I go to off Lake Huron.  School had been keeping me busy and overly windy days had kept me sidelined.  Finally, the conditions aligned and I had just enough time to give it a shot.  The latest DNR report said there was still ice and the catch rates were moderate.  This past Friday I had the afternoon off so I packed up my gear the night before.  I'd be tipup fishing with shiner minnows and then jigging various lures and spoons in my main hole tipped with minnows.

 

I get to the bait shop (Wildness Treasures in Pickford, MI) and the guy gets me an assortment of some medium shiner minnows, tons of little ones, and just for fun he throws in a 5 inch sucker minnow.  I go to pay for them but he says it's on the house.  I thank the man for his kindness and get back on the road.

 

I get to the pier where I catch splake from in the spring time and unload my gear.  Out about 300 yards on the ice is a cluster of shanties and fishermen.  I get out there and the ice is a lot thicker than I expect.  24 inches of solid ice.  I throw out my tipups and start running through jigging lures in my hub.  I'm primarily using my medium-heavy Fenwick ice rod and reel combo I picked up from Gander Mountain's going out of business sale.

 

I'd been fishing for about 2 hours when I finally get some action.  There isn't much current out there and the water is 16 feet of crystal clear water.  You can see right to the bottom.  This allows for excellent sight-fishing.

 

I happen to be jigging a 3/4 oz Little Cleo tipped with a couple of minnows when a 4 lb splake comes in hot and bumps my spoon.  He then circles around and bumps it four more times before taking off.  It's nothing I can set the hook on, but it is some action at least.

 

4 and a half hours of fishing and I have only seen the one fish so far.  I'm jigging the big Little Cleo again with 4-5 minnows on it this time (Chandelier Style).  It's 5:30 PM and a blur of movement catches my eye.  I look down and see a Splake flash its side and missile-lock onto my spoon!

 

Before I can react, my rod gets ripped down hard and the first splake of the day is on!  It takes a while to get him in because you have to wait till they angle their head just right to get up the hole.  After 10 minutes I hoist the 5 lb beauty.  Alright!

 

I stick with the big spoon and minnow combo.  I'm running out of minnows though since all of the ones I'm tipping onto the spoon are one by one falling of the treble over time.

 

I pull in one of my tipups so that I can tip my spoon with the last of my minnows.  I have two minnows tipped on my treble and that's it.  The only other thing I have left is the 5 inch sucker on my last tipup.

 

I have a feeling that I'll see at least one more splake.

 

It takes a while, but at 6:40 PM, the one I've been dreaming about rolls in.

 

He comes in hot and takes aggressive swipes around my spoon.  I know he's going to commit, it's just of matter of when.

 

He makes one more turn and crushes the spoon!

 

I set the hook hard, but the drag is set too loose from the last splake!  I frantically try and pump him in to make up for the loose drag, but I'm too late.  I feel the treble pop out.

 

Instinctively, I quickly pump in the spoon to the top and tighten up my drag a ton.  The splake stripped my spoon completely.  I now have nothing to tip it with.

 

Oh wait.  I have the 5 inch sucker minnow.

 

I sprint to my tipup and hoist the sucker minnow out of the hole and run it over to the shack.  There might be a school close by!

 

I chop the sucker in half and then cut the tail section in half the long way so that I'll have two long strips with bits of tail to mimic what it would look like if I tipped my spoon with 2 minnows.

 

I'm just about to drop my spoon down when I ______ my pants.  The goliath I just hooked is right beneath my hole sucking up all of the dead minnows that have fallen off my trebles!!!  I can't believe my luck!  

 

I know I've said on these forums before that once you hook a fish then it's game-over and you have no chance of hooking it again right away.

 

Could this really be happening?!

 

I drop my spoon down and watch as it flutters down towards destiny.  I just know what's going to happen.

 

I bounce it in front of it face.  He takes a hard lunge past it, circles back, and then

 

Chokes It Down Hard!

 

The fight takes me literally 15 minutes and pushes my 6 lb suffix to the test.

 

After what feels like an eternity, I lunge my hand into the icy waters and grab hold of my new PB Splake.

 

The beast tapes out at 25 inches and comes out at 6.75 lbs.

 

Mission Complete.

 

I get home and one of them is loaded with not just minnows, but a crap ton of tapeworms.  I didn't realize it till after I had filleted both fish and threw them in a bag together so it is what is.  I've been told by fisheries biologists that they can't physically reproduce since they are sterile and only plant-based fish, so I don't feel too bad.

 

Well it looks like I have an excuse to get back at it while the ice is still strong.

 

FISH ON!

 

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Nice Fatties ~

Congrats

A-Jay

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Nice fish, just wondering those look like huge brook trout, what is a splake??

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18 minutes ago, Swbass15 said:

Nice fish, just wondering those look like huge brook trout, what is a splake??

A splake is a hybrid of two fish species resulting from the crossing of a male brook trout and a female lake trout.

A-Jay

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Explains the colorations!! Beautiful fish!!

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Nice fish, great pics!

 

:ok-wink:

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Thanks Guys!  Fun times to be had in the winter wonderland that is Michigan lol.

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Wish we could catch some of those out of our little ponds in Nebraska:)

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