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Ice Out Fishing


If you think it’s too cold for fishing,
that’s understandable. But if you think it’s too cold to catch fish, think again.
Dedicated Kansas anglers catch winter fish in a variety of ways, from ice fishing on
the coldest days to boat fishing on warmwater powerplant lakes like LaCygne and Wolf Creek. Cold water slows down fish metabolism, but
they’ll still bite. The key is finding fish and presenting food right in front of their
noses. Crappies are the state’s most popular winter fishing target, though white bass and
wipers are also popular winter gamefish. Ice-out in Kansas isn’t the same catalyst
for catching fish as in the northern U.S. where frozen conditions last much longer,
but even so, some anglers swear it’s a great time to hit the water. Underwater structure
like brush piles hold schools of crappies, and the trick is fishing at the right depth.
Use a minnow or a small jig under a cork, and change depths often until you catch fish.
Then stay with that pattern until it’s no longer successful. Ken Meyers of Pratt is a die-hard crappie
angler year round. Alone on Pratt County lake just after the last snowfall, he caught some
nice crappies when most fishers were home by the fire. “If you’re fishing Pratt County Lake,
you need to fish a minnow about three feet deep under a cork right above the brushpiles.
That’s the only thing I know. That’s what I’ve been doing.” Ken proves the point about winter fishing.
Get out there in tough weather, and you might be surprised with your success. And crappies
from cold water? Man, that’s good eating… I’m Mike Blair for Kansas Wildlife and Parks

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