Fish Talk, 2.17.18

It has been awhile since we have seen the snowfall in the Northland, but the sub-zero temperatures are keeping the woods white and the trails in great shape. High winds have curbed my excitement to see solid ice on the big lake this week as we enter the last half of the winter season.

Ice anglers have been singing the blues lately while fishing during high-pressure systems that make fish act like slugs. Gunflint Lake traditionally goes through a mid-winter slump during the coldest few weeks of the season, then usually gets better as the temperatures start to rise. As a guide I would try smaller lakes, after being humbled by the lack of action Gunflint is sometimes known for – and find better action with fish less affected by the barometer.

Now that I talk more fishing than fishing, I have learned some etiquette in the world of fish talk, which vaguely resembles poker. For instance, if a customer enters our bar and tells me he went fishing today without mentioning where, then I know not to ask. These are the “poker face” anglers that simply want me to know they went fishing and may or may not have caught any fish on the undisclosed lake.

On the contrary, if the anglers give me too much information by telling me they caught a pile of splake on Kemo Lake in eight feet of water by the leaning pine tree on the north shore with 1/8th ounce white teardrop jigs and waxies, then I know they are either bluffing or do not understand how to play the game.

Regardless, the jealous angler in me will make sure to have an arsenal of white teardrop jigs and waxies while I am looking for that leaning tree.

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