Published February 06, 2013, 12:14 AM

WILTZ: How about 'No Spin' ice fishing report?

When I went into Abby’s at Pickstown Friday for some wax worms, there was a photo of Mike on the counter with a recent 20-pound, 8-ounce northern pike.

By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic

When I went into Abby’s at Pickstown Friday for some wax worms, there was a photo of Mike on the counter with a recent 20-pound, 8-ounce northern pike. Big pike get my attention right now! I figured, right then, I’d give Mike a call for a possible story. Well, I didn’t have to call as I ran into him Saturday morning at the Yankton gun show.

The big pike came through the ice from what I call the Boat Ramp Bay beneath the dam at Pickstown. Mike said the pike were scattered throughout the bay. Dick, the Abby’s proprietor and all-around great fisherman, told me the pike seem to congregate near the mouth of the Houseboat Bay in the northeast corner of the larger Boat Ramp Bay.

I believe the pike, and lots of them, will remain in the bay area until ice out and well into the spring. I know that Mike prefers tip-ups, but if you don’t have any, leave the bail open on your spinning rod and it will work just fine. You might also consider a jigging spoon. For bait, Mike uses live chubs or frozen smelt. Live chubs are hard — and expensive — to come by, and some anglers are going all the way to Sioux Falls for chubs. The big pike seem to be hitting throughout the day. Experiment with different depths.

Walleye action through the ice is excellent in the Buryanek area north of the Highway 44 Platte-Winner bridge. Late afternoon is best. Try a jigging rap adorned with minnows. Be sure to wear flotation coats or life vests, and have readily accessible ice picks around your neck. Don’t go alone to fish this hazardous area. Actually, this holds true for any ice fishing. If you are a long-time column reader, you know if it hadn’t been for a very brave man, I would have lost a good friend through the ice in this area.

The Burke Men’s Association ice fishing derby is history, and some very good-sized pan fish were caught including bluegills and crappies in the pound and a half class. Stop at Stella’s, the new restaurant in Burke for lunch and ask Pat for his ice fishing advice. If nothing else, you can’t go wrong at Burke Lake — which holds some big pike.

If you have the patience to fillet smaller bluegills, Dante Lake will provide plenty of action. Last Friday after wasting an hour fishing in six feet of water, I moved to 15 feet of water. I was soon too busy to operate two rods. I used tear dots and wax worms. Dante Lake is extremely accessible as one can go to the boat ramp and back right up to the ice. I would like to see our Game, Fish & Parks people liberalize the Dante Lake bluegill limit and thin them out a bit. This might enable the stunted fish to grow a bit larger.

At the Yankton gun show, I picked up a sample copy of the January edition of the Outdoorsmen magazine. The article “Ice Fishing Ideas” by Bob Jensen had an interesting idea. Bob suggested that when fishing on clear ice, one should drill holes where snow covers the ice. This will muffle auger noise as well as hide the anglers from the fish. I like to drill where there’s snow, but I do it to give myself a non-slip surface.

I’ve never thought about hiding from the fish, but I have caught suspended crappies that could readily see me peering at them through the hole. It didn’t bother them.

In the same magazine, gun smith Pat Laib suggests removing the screw-in choke tubes from our shotgun barrels during the off season. He has had a lot of work loosening choke tubes that rusted in place. I like to give my tubes a shot of WD-40 before threading them in place.

Getting back to big northern pike, I can hardly wait to get after those pike in open water next spring! I’m talking both above and below the dam at Pickstown and all of Francis Case. Ten years from now you’ll hear, “Remember the springs of ’12 and ’13? It was awesome!”

* * * * * * * * * *

The phone rang the other day. It was the National Rifle Association, and they wanted a donation. It wasn’t a recording, and I told the lady I wanted a truthful answer to a question. She said that she would give me a straight answer. I wanted to know if she was the NRA, or if she was working for a company that solicited for the NRA.

She told me that she worked for a soliciting company, and that her company would get 25 percent of my donation. I told her I would give directly to the NRA so all of my donation could be used to fight the gun control people. She thanked me and hung up, but I appreciate her honesty. Whether it is the NRA or the American Cancer Society, phone solicitors will almost always get a piece of the action. Be generous, but be careful.

* * * * * * * * * *

I mentioned earlier that I went to the Yankton gun show. At the show, I traded my Ruger over & under shotgun for a Ruger No. 1 single-shot rifle. Even though my new rifle was only a single-shot, I had to fill out the federal 4473 form that asked if I was a convicted felon. Among other things, it also asked about my mental health. Following completion of the form, my name was run through a federal background check on the telephone.

I’m telling you this because the gun control people want you to believe that there are no background checks or gun registrations at gun shows. This simply isn’t true.

*See you next week.

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