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Houston's fishing report: Beware the ice of March

Jarrid Houston

Welcome to the official end of winter. This is the time of year when ice conditions will start to deteriorate rapidly. Cars and trucks on the ice are a no-go from here on, and snow machines or ATVs should be the only vehicle traffic — if ice conditions are still stable. Very soon, it will be walking only, as shorelines will start open up. To be clear, ice will become very dangerous and start to disappear on area waters. We advise anglers to use extreme caution.

Inland lakes continue to be the best opportunity in the Twin Ports. The reservoirs north of Duluth continue to see anglers frequenting popular panfishing spots. Crappies are being caught on small minnows under a float. The middle to lower part of the water column has been ideal for suspended fish. The same holds true for bluegills. Using small tungsten jigs or mini spoons tipped with larvae or waxies has been best. If fish are being marked on the graph, but are not biting, it is a good idea to relocate to find a more aggressive school.

Lake Superior also offers fishing opportunities at this time. We have been getting reports of anglers taking to the open waters of the North Shore and trolling for salmon and the occasional lake trout, as well as a few Kamloops rainbows. It is a fun time of year because you don't have to have downriggers to catch these near-shore fish. Most fish are being taken by long-lining shallow running baits like Shad Raps. Trolling depths of 20-80 feet are best. Anglers are also still catching an occasional fish from shore by casting.

Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.

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