"Hello Mr. Bluegill, we see you!" For those of you that regularly ice fish the gin clear waters of West Okoboji, this is a common statement often made as we peer down our ice holes and see those huge gills slowly moving through the water. Seeing is not the problem; getting the fish to bite is!
Interested in taking ice fishing to the next level? How about a three-day in-depth fishing school right on West Okoboji on March 5-7? Ice Roads is a comprehensive ice fishing school and part of Lrn2Fish, a series of schools designed by fishermen for fishermen.
Jim Hudson, a highly renowned guide on Lake Superior, will head a team of instructors for three days of "fishing curriculum" designed at helping both veteran anglers and those new to the sport of ice fishing. Host site will be Camp Okoboji with registration and check-in starting at 10 a.m., with classroom seminars beginning early afternoon.
On-the-ice instruction is followed by lots of practical application-fishing-with continued workshop leader support.
Curriculum for the "classroom" includes learning the tools to help students become masters at locating and then catching bull bluegills and sumo perch, along with instruction on the proper methods of jigging to entice the bite.
Everything from beginning the search at home through map reading to proper placement of drilled holes to searching with both your Vexilar electronics and anglers' eyes will be extensively covered.
"All of this experience and knowledge will be shared, both in the classroom and on the water, and will be taught in a very easy to understand and enjoyable setting. Lrn2Fish has handpicked each school destination to be held on waters with the best bites known in the fishing circle, all to accomplish our mission and to give participants the best chance to learn the most of what we are teaching," noted Hudson.
Saturday and Sunday will be the "on-the-ice" learning classroom where participants will have hands-on demonstration from the instructors. Both days are marked as "fishing time!" Saturday evening will be "recap" and social time as participants and instructors reflect on the experience of the day.
"We encourage people to bring their favorite equipment. In that way, they can fine tune what they already do successfully, while at the same time see what and how the instructors use the equipment we demonstrate during the seminars. If people don't have equipment, we will provide the equipment for them," said Hudson.
Along with Hudson, Dave Genz, known as Mr. Ice Fishing, will be on hand, along with other die-hard anglers from around the Midwest to help ensure participants are taught by the best of the best for this body of water.
Instructors include Scott Reed (representing Pure Fishing), Rod Woten (winner of the recent Okoboji Hardwater Open), Dennis Kassube, Jim Kusuda, Don Cox, Scott Seibert, Kody Seibert and Shelly Holland.
Reed shared his excitement about the event. "As instructors, our goal is to share some of those 'fishing secrets' that will truly help the participants become better hard water anglers. At the same time, it is a great opportunity for me to work with the other instructors. If I wanted to assemble a dream hard water team, these are the people I would want to instruct the class. It is a blend of both legends in the ice fishing world and some of the best sticks around."
"Each have years of experience in the search for bluegill and perch, fishing countless bodies of water for these species, including a lot of time on our target waters. Also, staff from our family of sponsors will be on site along with bringing some treats to fill your gift bag that will be an immediate help at this school," added Hudson.
"Also, for a treat and a change of pace, we will head over to Big Spirit Lake and see if we can go after some of those huge schools of perch."
Corporate sponsors include Ice Team, Clam Corporation, StrikeMaster Augers, Vexilar and Berkley.
This school is all-inclusive with all lodging and meals included in the price of $45.
This school is limited to the first 40 particpants.
As of the end of Jan., 20 individuals had already signed up for the fishing school.
For more information, contact Ice Roads at (715) 779-5833 or (715) 209-6431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.