With Illinois having above normal temperatures this winter, ice fishing opportunities have been hard to come by. Actually, there have only been a couple days of “safe” ice that I was able to drill holes through.
It was nice to be able to catch a few bluegills for the frying pan, but my ice fishing needs were not getting fulfilled. The only options I had was to wait it out and hope for ice that might not happen, or go to where the ice was. Option one was not really an option at all, so I decided to go to where the ice was. My nephew Ray, and wife Lotte decided to join me.
After doing some research online, we chose Why Knot Guide Service out of Dyckesville, Wisconsin with Captain Zach Burgess located 5 hours north of my home in Central Illinois. We would be fishing on the Bay of Green Bay. On the day we arrived, there was plenty of ice, and the perch and whitefish were just beginning to bite.
Upon our late-night arrival at our hotel, Lipsky’s On the Bay, we checked in to get some rest before we hit the ice at first light the next morning. The temperatures were forecasted to be in the low teens, and the ice thickness was nearing 10-inches thanks to below zero temperatures the previous 5 days.
After a short drive onto the lake, we parked at our fishing grounds. A warm shack was waiting for us, and our guide quickly took up the task of drilling holes. The plan was to have tip-ups outside of the shack that we could keep an eye on while we sat in the warmth of the shack and fished with small jigs tipped with grubs inside.
While setting our third tip-up of the morning, the first tip-up we set just minutes before sprang to life, and Ray quickly pulled up a nice whitefish. If this was any indication as to how the rest of the day was going to be, we were in for a treat.
After a short introduction of the techniques we would be using to jig, and a quick course on what we were seeing on the electronics, we were ready to begin jigging and catching fish.
It did not take long for the first fish to be coaxed into biting Lotte’s grub tipped jig. It wasn’t a perch she was hoping for, but we were happy to be pulling any fish through the ice. In this case, a nice whitefish.
The action continued on throughout the day as we were pulling perch and whitefish through the ice at a pace that did not allow us to get bored. We brought a football along for a worst-case scenario situation, but we never had to resort to tossing the football back and forth on the frozen tundra.
There were two times that the electronics showed the fish had moved off, but Zack was always ready to move us to pre-scouted areas on the lake, and the bite was quickly back on.
I have ice fished with guides before that set us in a spot, and you did not see them again for a while. That was not the case with Why Knot Guide Service. Zach was right beside us the entire time, giving us pointers, improving our odds of getting a limit of fish.
We did not get our limit of perch or whitefish that day. But, we got plenty to take home for several meals, and had a great time trying. There is no doubt that we could have got our limits, but we only had a few hours that we could fish before we had to head home. Christmas was only 2 days away, and 5 hours of fishing was our limit before we had to return to the hustle and bustle of the holiday preparations.
We enjoyed fishing with Zach, and something many Midwest fisherman do not think about is just how close good ice fishing is to them. Instead of waiting for ice that might not ever happen in your neck of the woods, take advantage of the good ice fishing that is just a few hours away. Everyone in the Midwest can be on ice in just a few hours.
Guided ice fishing adventures are not expensive, and everybody who loves to ice fish owes themselves the joy of fishing on a big lake with someone who knows where the fish are, and how to catch them.
Besides fishing for whitefish and perch in the winter, Why Knot Guide Service also offers ice fishing for walleye and pike, as well ice shack rentals for the do it yourselfer. Trout, salmon, walleye, northern pike and musky fishing trips are also available from spring through fall months on their Baha Cruiser that comfortably holds six people.
For more information contact Zach at 920-559-7473, or email him at email@example.com. Lodging is available at Lipsky’s On the Bay, 920-866-2277.