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Add excitement to winter fishing -- attend a derby

I love to be able to say again this week "go Vikes." I hope we can all be saying that in another two weeks for the Super Bowl.

Fishing for me this last week was fairly slow. I didn't get out as much as I wanted to, as I needed to finish up a remodeling project. I did get out four times and did get fish. I was able to locate perch and small walleyes in shallower water.

On Big Pine and Otter Tail, I was contacting fish up on the flat in 8 to 12 feet of water. The areas adjacent to very sharp breaks to deep water were holding fish. Buckshot Rattles and Swedish Pimples tipped with minnow heads seemed to produce the bites.

I will admit to missing a number of fish and having way to many come unbuttoned on me this week. I blame the fish and the goofy way they were biting. Jigging aggressively to call them in seemed to work, but when seeing them on the flasher, you had to tease and pause, lift slow, and pause briefly. After feeling the weight of the fish on the line, pause briefly again before setting the hook. It is a fun little game between yourself and the fish, but I do like it better when they just grab the jigging spoons!

We are now at the start of ice fishing derby time. The big Brainerd extravaganza was held yesterday. Pelican Rapids will have an event Saturday, Jan. 30 on Lake Lida from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 6, Park Rapids has a great event on Fishhook Lake from 1 to 3 p.m. Alexandria hosts an event on Lake LeHomme Dieu on Feb. 13 from noon to 3. The famous Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake is set for Feb. 19 to 21, and the Forest Lake event on Feb 27. These are all great social events as well as fishing derbies, and the playing field is level. These might be some fun events for you and friends or family to attend and can add some excitement to your winter fishing.

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