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Dick Ellis Blog:
10/9/2019
Fall brings with it something for everyone in the field from the angler to the hunter.  Just a few recent sessions of shooting the bull tell me that autumn is for the youngest of outdoorsman just learning the games to those of us more seasoned with our eyes focused dead ahead on for example, the whitetail rut. James Wallace captured this great buck on trail camera during summer scouting. James Wallace, my nephew-in-law (is there such a ...
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A New Hip & New Iceā€¦The perfect mix

Later this month I receive a hip replacement.  My hip is the only thing that hurts on this 55 year old body.  But man, it hurts.  I have been hobbling around in the field or whispering “owie, owie, owie” as I climb on my portable deer stand carried in on my back for the better part of a decade. The only thing good about this bad hip has been a built in excuse for a bad golf game.

ice fishing
Ty Kinziger of New Berlin, shown here fishing with his father and Ellis in Waukesha County, are ready for another hardwater season along with about a million other Wisconsin anglers

A large part of this audience is made up of Boomers.  We wear out and friends all around me are trying out or about to step into new hips, shoulders, knees…the aching things ready for the scrap heap that are keeping them from the field.

If this surgery places me back on stand painless or allows me not to limp as the price paid for a wild rooster busting cover, I will consider it a modest version of a medical miracle. When I met my orthopedic surgeon last week, I was a bit shocked that I looked so much older than he did.  I wasn’t a bit shocked when he held my x-ray and offered the following four-word diagnosis; “your hip is horrendous.”

But he also threw me a verbal lifeline. “We like young guys like you who are active outdoors because we’re about to open a new door on your life.”

I see a lot of you silverbacks limping around out there just like me. Allow me to be your guinea pig.  I will let you know how this goes and what you can expect as you decide whether you too really want to make an appointment with the knife. I really do hear, from brothers and friends, that this is the only way to go.

I’m also really pleased that ice fishing is here just in time for me to challenge my lack of coordination on slippery surfaces.  I’ll bet since snow cover would save me from a tumble on the hardwater….it won’t snow in southern Wisconsin for two months.

Speaking of, the Wisconsin Ice Fishing Show will be held December 13, 14 & 15, at The Patriot Center in Rothschild, Wisconsin. I’m going, and will also take the opportunity traveling north to try and fill a deer tag

“Changing The Way Wisconsin Looks at Winter” is the focus of the Wisconsin Ice Fishing Show, an event for the Lodging, Tourism, Transportation and Ice Fishing Industry to showcase their products, services and information in Wisconsin, according to Show Director Brad Hansen in a media release we also post in its entirety on this website.

“Everything one would need above the ice, under the ice and getting through the ice-including, augers, electronics, tackle, tip up - tip down rigs, apparel and other accessories will be on display and for carry out sales throughout The Patriot Center,” Hansen said.

“Our goal is to produce a show that anglers in the Midwest will be eager to attend year after year. Whether you are an avid fisherman looking for a few new accessories, an experienced angler in need of an upgrade, or totally new to the ice fishing sport, you will find what you are looking for at this show.”

The Patriot Center in Rothschild, a suburb of Wausau, Wisconsin, offers over 3,000 free parking spaces. Is conveniently accessible from major highways and offers a variety of lodging options in the area for weekend visitors.

Hours for the event will be:   
December 13, 1-9 pm                 
December 14, 10 am to 8 pm
December 15, 10 am to 3 pm                     

To read every detail about the Wisconsin Ice Fishing Show, connect on this website to “Outdoor News.”  I will see you there.

To get you in the mood, let’s tap into part of the reports submitted this week by OWO guides and writers Phil Schweik who spends most of his time with clients on the Wisconsin River system near Wausau, Price County Guide John Carlson writing from Phillips, and Rice Lake fishing expert Jordan Marsh of Marsh Outdoors. You will find all of our guide reports along with DNR releases and information, deer photos, firearms features and a whole lot more posted weekly throughout our site.

Schweik says 3 to 5 inches of ice on many area lakes in central Wisconsin has anglers heading out for the first hardwater high of the season.

fish fish

“The bite has been fantastic for walleyes, especially during low light periods and after dark,” he said. “Most of the action is occurring in less than 6 feet of water associated with green weeds or shallow muddy bays.  The best bite has been on large golden shiners or medium sized walleye suckers set about one foot off the bottom on a tip-up.”

As you know, we post each issue of “On Wisconsin Outdoors” online for your convenience.  Read Schweik’s feature in the current, “November-December” issue, “First Ice Walleyes-Tips for a Great Season.”  Obviously the man practices what he preaches. Schweik also sends us photos of “a pretty good deer season.”

deer

John Carlson says negative and single digit night time temps have provided a solid three to eight inches of ice on most Phillips area lakes with reports of limited ATV travel on some lakes.  “As with all Ice travel please take caution, he writes, “As ice thickness can change.”

“Most of the early ice anglers are headed to the shallow areas of the lake for evening walleye or all day pike fishing,” Carlson said.  “Walleye action has been fair with mostly smaller fish being caught. Walleye suckers at dark or right at first light have been the best producers. Northern Pike are hitting well using shiners fishing near weed cover.”

fish

Jordan Marsh also stresses safety first in the Rice Lake area as people transition from the deep freeze of the deer season opener to the first ice opportunity of the year. “Make sure to use extreme caution right now,” Marsh said. “One area can have good ice, while other areas might be thinner. One positive note for this year is that we had real cold temps to make good ice before we got this snow. However, the snow will be added weight on that ice, so be careful and walk to your location.” 

“Walleyes are a key target right now for early ice anglers. Find areas in 6-15 feet of water to jig and deploy tip ups. Hard bottom areas such as rock, rubble, and sand are great starting points. However, do not overlook weed beds which hold fish cruising the edges. Tip ups can be tipped with suckers or shiner minnows.  If you are getting fish to take the bait but they drop it, put on a fat head minnow.” 

Search the shallows in early ice for the panfish before they start spreading out deeper. Sunken wood, cribs, or weed edges will concentrate these fish. A small jig tipped with a wax worm should catch perch, gills, and crappies.”

Thanks for connecting with On Wisconsin Outdoors.  Shoot straight.

Dick Ellis