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This has been a really disappointing winter for ice fisherman; the ice has been either thin or non-existent. In the past few weeks a number of Ice Fishing Derbies have been cancelled because of the dangerous ice conditions on Lake Delavan, Lake Geneva, the Fox Chain and Bangs Lake.

Unfortunately we also lost a fisherman on the Fox Chain late last week. He broke all the safety rules for ice fishing: Don’t go out alone at night, always have lights that are visible, and know your fishing area, especially at night. We lost a really good guy who just forgot the safety rules.

The best ice fishing is currently to be found north of Milwaukee, where the snow has been consistent and the ice much more stable. Winter months can be spent at the sport shows in the area looking at the new equipment and talking fishing with everyone. Great shows are coming up in Madison, Milwaukee, Rosemont and Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Show is still predominately all fishing and the layout is great for seeing everything in an afternoon. It is only three hours down to Indianapolis and the information is available online. The show runs Feb. 17-26 at the Indiana Fair Grounds. The Madison show, which has been growing every year, is running Feb. 24-26; that information is also available on-line.

A good way to spend some time, when not heading off to a sport show, is making fishing lures for the coming season. A lot of lures get lost during a year of fishing; unfortunately the biggest fish tend to live in the some of the thickest, nastiest spots on the lake, often rock piles for walleyes or weed beds for bass and panfish. Rather than buy more each year it is easy and fun to make one’s own jigs during the winter. Once one has purchased the necessary hardware, making jigs is not only fun, but also cost-effective. I can make 100 jigs for what I once paid for a small package of 8-10, and I can get them in colors I know work where I fish because I add the color myself.

Enjoy the shows if the opportunity comes up and look into making some lures. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at www.hookedonfishing@comcast.net.