Thursday, December 26, 2019

Okoboji Lake Area

Iowa's prettiest fish: The Pumpkinseed
The Great Lakes of Iowa is truly a destination for all ice anglers in the Midwest.  It is a four hour drive for me, but I try to get here a couple of times each ice season.  While the fishing isn't always as planned, the multitude of lakes gives you many options to try.
This year a group of seven us took to the lake to figure things out and enjoy the thick ice of the Okoboji Chain of lakes.  The first day there we Emerson Bay, this location is known for its nice bluegills.  We were able to find many of these nicer gills along with many other species too; black crappie, perch, walleye, northern pike, and pumpkin seeds were caught that day too.  It was a good first day after driving all morning to get there.  

Just a typical Okoboji Sunrise
As we planned for the next day we were all excited to try for some perch on Spirit Lake.  A member of our group did well the day before in the same general area, so we were anxious to get there.  We all caught some perch in the big basin of Spirit and a few bigger walleyes were caught too.  It didn't
disappoint, but it wasn't as good as the day before.  We decide to move to the northern part of Spirit Lake and fish some shallow water for panfish.  This had everyone moving about, popping holes and catch fish.  It is amazing the ground you can cover when working as a team, we all were using the Vexilar FLX-28 units.  These units are made for hopping around the lake and trying numerous holes within a seconds of each other.  The instant feedback is a must for the shallow, weedy water that we were in.  Jigs and spoons were working on this day, I really think the key was using your Vexilar to find the active pods of weeds where the fish were swimming by.  They were hungry and willing to bite when surrounded by weeds.  As the sun set we were all a bit eager to get off the ice to clean some fish and eat like kings.  Perch fillets were the menu that night, we all ate our share and maybe a little more, it's hard to beat fresh fish, especially after a day of catching them.
A surprise 22-inch Walleye in 6 feet of water

The next day we decided to try and find some yellows on East Lake Okoboji, the entire morning of searching only came up with small perch.  We spent the last afternoon of the trip back in the weeds of Spirit Lake.  It was much of the same as the previous day, which none of us minded at all!  It was a great way to end the day, and the trip; gills, crappies, and perch were all present and dozens went back into the lake for another day.  

A big thanks for everyone fishing on this trip, although the entire group had never fished all together, we worked very well as a group helping each other move around and find fish for all.  I always hate leaving Okoboji, not only because of the 4-hour drive home, but the simple fact that a fisherie of this magnitude does not exist anywhere else in the state...if you haven't been there...GET THERE!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

First Ice of 2019-20 season

Mother nature just wouldn't let the ice grow this winter, this might be the latest "first day" in the past decade...nevertheless when ice fishing safety comes first and December 12th was that first day.  I headed out to a local public area and found the ice very nice.  Numerous fish were caught, including the typical three species of gills, crappie and bass. 

It is always a bit magical to walk on the ice, drill those first few holes and watch the Vexilar light up...a feeling that still gets my blood pumping!  Here's to a great ice season, be careful out there!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Fish GUMBO Recipe

I really enjoy fried fish, it is hard to beat a bluegill sandwich smothered with coleslaw.  However, a person can only have so much of the good stuff.  Over the past few years I have shared a few recipes on here that have turned out really well.  A few days ago I tried something a little different once again.  Fish Gumbo; to the side you can see all the ingredients that you will need, and your favorite fillets of course.  I always use Yellow Bass fillets when cooking them into a recipe, they have more "fishy" flavor than a crappie, perch or bluegill and I feel as though that fishy flavor helps create a unique taste after being cooked.  You can use any fillets you like or have around in freezer.  This is very simple and you can have a hot bowl of soup in about 30 minutes. 

How to make Fish Gumbo:
Ingredients needed- 
Bear Creek Gumbo Soup Mix
1 Can of Corn
1 Can of Green Beans
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
16 pieces of fish (8 fish)

~Place fish fillets on tray and cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (Toaster Oven works great)

~When fillets are baked place them on a plate and break them up using a fork to desired size

~Follow the directions on the soup bag

~Add the fillet pieces to the large pot when you add the contents of the bag

~Continue to follow the directions on the bag until finished

This turned out great, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!