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There's a good early evening bite on area ice

Ice conditions are developing nicely, which is one consolation for the cold snap we have just come through. Now it looks like we will enjoy more seasonal temps for ice fishing.

I have been out a couple of times this last week for the evening bite. For me it has been the, "should have been here yesterday" bite.

We jumped out on a bite a friend of mine had going. The night before, fishing by himself, he had caught eight walleyes and seven of them were too big to eat (20-25 inches) and one good 17-inch eater, along with a couple of "hammer handle" northern.

The next night we knew would be tougher because of the incoming cold front, but we still expected to get a few good fish, especially with three of us fishing. We fished from 3 to 6 p.m., and between the three of us, we landed a couple small northern, one 32-inch skinny northern and a 22-inch walleye that went back.

The other trip produced a couple perch, a couple of small northern, and a couple of walleyes too small to keep.

I have talked to others with mixed reports. Some are doing very well with consistency, but more realistic is two to three "eyes" a night with a short bite window in the evening starting at about 4 p.m. Other reports include a midnight turn on.

It seems best depth is in 17 to 22 feet just on the edge of weeds or rocks were it transitions to hard sandy bottom. The two primary presentations are shiners under a bobber about a foot off the bottom or jigging with jigging spoons and a minnow head four to six inches off the bottom.

Reports of crappie catches are from fish in 10 to 14 feet of water in open pockets in the weeds. Small ice jigs tipped with crappie minnows or wax worms are working on both Crappie and Sunfish.

I am writing this on Wednesday, so I expect by the time you are reading this, on Sunday, we will all have figured out more about the bite.

I look forward to the upcoming outings that are more like "the fishing was so good I thought it was yesterday" type of bite. Those are the experiences that keep us going out.

I enjoy the fact that this is a sport that you never get sick of the practice sessions.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)