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Ice fishing under way on Erie, northern Ohio lakes

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Perhaps you might not realize there are people who actually like all the sub-freezing and sub-zero temperatures we have been experiencing in the Midwest. Those who really look forward to sustained frigid temperatures are ice fishermen.

It has to get cold – very cold – for several days in a row to get the ice safe enough to hold ice fishermen and all their gear. That sometimes involves ATVs and on occasion even cars or trucks.

Some years there is not enough ice to support fishermen, but this year it’s looking like good ice on Ohio’s northern lakes. I spoke with ice guide Bud Gehring, who lives in Lebanon and Put-In-Bay. He said his area just northwest of South Bass Island toward Rattlesnake Island has really good ice (about 12 inches) and he hoped to put his 18 heated shanties out soon.

“Right now the problem is snow,” Gehring said. “There is too much snow to be able to get to the ice.”

Ice fishermen there are hoping the wind will blow off the snow or they may plow off some areas.

While the Lake Erie fishing is taking off, so has the ice fishing at some of the inland lakes like St. Marys, Indian and Loramie. At St. Marys some of the best ice fishing has been around the bay on Coldwater Creek with a number of saugeyes being pulled through the ice.

In some of the other channels I’ve been told they are catching crappies, bluegills and a few yellow perch.

At Indian Lake the ice fishing action has been picking up all over the lake. Some of the top areas I’ve heard about are Moundwood, Long Island and Blackhawk. Most of the action has been crappies and bluegills, but saugeyes are also starting to hit.

Lake Loramie has had good ice around the Luthman Road bridge where some saugeyes are being caught. Earl’s Island and the Minster Branch have been producing crappies and bluegills.

Anyone who is unfamiliar with ice fishing, but plans to try it should first familiarize themselves with ice fishing safety tips. They can be found at dnr.state.oh.us/Home/enewspages/icefishsafetytips/tabid/19601/Default.aspx. Another good site is dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/travel.htm.

But to me the most important ice fishing tips is: go out with another person, preferably someone with ice fishing experience.

Cincinnati show starts Friday: The 56th annual Cincinnati Travel, Sports and Boat Show starts Friday at the Duke Energy Convention Center. It will feature its usual large array of boats, travel destinations, RVs, ATVs and seminars.

Some of the seminars will be led by professional anglers, including Cincinnati’s own Joe Thomas, Nicki Leonard and Stu Eversole. Dan Armitage will put on some kids fishing seminars.

Hunting programs include Bill Epeards hunting for deer and turkey and several dog training seminars. For all schedules, dates and admission charges, visit hartproductions.com.

Deer take down: No thanks to the previous weekend’s record cold temperatures, hunters took 5,091 fewer deer than last year during the Jan. 4-7 Ohio muzzleloading season. Last year’s muzzleloading season saw 21,555 deer taken, compared to 16,464 this year. Hunters have killed more than 185,000 deer so far in the 2013-2014 hunting seasons. Ohio’s deer-archery season is open through Feb. 2. For more information, visit wildohio.com.

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