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Jarrid Houston column: That's a wrap for the 2022 open-water fishing season

Time for some deer hunting and the ice fishing shows before ice fishing starts for real.

Jarrid Houston
Jarrid Houston
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Well that’s a wrap for the 2022 open-water boat fishing season. In the words of the late great northwoods angler Steve Picht, it was another dandy.

Starting this Saturday we will be in the deer woods taking a stab at the great Wisconsin gun deer hunt. Of course, we will be keeping tabs on fishing, but we won’t be hot and heavy into a regular angling routine. As we quickly reflect on the successes and failures of this season, we take pride in learning more about this great sport every year. Many times, throughout the year, people ask what sets successful anglers apart form others. It sounds silly and often repetitive, but is so true. The answer is time! Like anything, more time spent creates more opportunities for success. And failures.

We of course want to take a second to thank everyone for all the support this open-water season. We look forward to getting back to it come spring. For now, we have some unpacking to do, and then some new packing to do. In other words, after deer hunting, bring on the ice!

Lake Superior is now a ghost town with next to no anglers except for a very few die-hards still taking pokes at giant Chequamegon Bay smallies. On account of the recent weather, these die-hards are as tough as they come. We checked in with one of the best this week. Sharaku Kishida, or what most of us call him, Shark. He has been finding a little time chasing these late-fall smallmouths when he's not busy pumping out Marine General duties. Shark says tubes, blade baits and swim baits have been working for sure. By covering some water whipping single-tail plastic swim baits and blade baits, one should be able to locate active fish. Once located, drag tubes! Reaction bites are still the thing and the "blow ups" are crazy good in the cold water. A couple of Shark’s late fall favorites are tubes by Howie's Tackle and swim baits by Keitech.

No new news on Superior trout/salmon. For the small Gitch tribs, stream angling has come to a close for another year, so make sure to mark your calendars for March 2023.

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The St. Louis River Estuary is still ice-free but, like Lake Superior, it has also been more like a ghost town as well. The fishing was good the past week continuing to concentrate on channel edges and mid channel humps. Live bait has been best, but casting stick baits has also turned a few late "fall brawl" swimmers. Muskie hunting continues to be an option but we haven’t heard many success stories.

Inland lakes are cold and in the very early steps of ice development. With the cold weather forecast for this weekend, we will start to see many small shallow waters cap up. In the far north, we have already got word of ice building. We are a long way from tip-toe angling, but certainly on the way. For now, we will stay focused on the next couple of upcoming seasons: Deer hunting, Thanksgiving and then ice fishing shows. As of now, I forecast first safe ice around the second weekend of December. However, as usual this can change depending on what mother nature dishes us. The recipe for good ice is cold weather, with no wind and precipitation. We will get there, but, for now, it is a good time to start that early ice season shopping list. If you are still getting out fishing, be extremely careful.

For you deer hunters, good luck in the woods! Looking forward to hearing all your stories these next several weeks.

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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