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Learn To Ice Those ‘Eyes At Mark Martin’s February Ice Fishing School

If you’re one who, when the going gets cold, you go head-first into it, instead of heading indoors, Michigan pro angler Mark Martin’s second and final ice fishing school of the season is for you Feb. 9-12 on Saginaw Bay.
Martin, from Twin Lake, north of Muskegon, along with a talented group of pro staff helpers, will be taking his flock of students who want to learn more about the proper ways to rig line for ice fishing, how to properly set, and read, fish finders from flashers to the most modern LED screens, where to go to find fish on the ice, and most importantly, how to stay safe in the at-times Arctic-like conditions offshore on Saginaw Bay.

A kneeling Mark Martin helps a student land a Saginaw Bay walleye.
Bill Semion

Days before the school even starts, Martin and his staff will be on the ice to find safe passage and located where fish are, or are likely to be.

The actual school begins on Sunday, Feb. 9, when Martin and his staff meet and greet students, who will also receive a special “goodie bag” of lures, line and other items they can use on the ice the next day. That afternoon, Martin will go over the rules.

The Number One priority: no one become a snowmobiling Columbus on the bay’s sometimes treacherous ice and go off by themselves without telling instructors. If you do, you run a serious risk of getting into trouble that no one can get you out of.

Martin and staff go over each student’s fishing tackle and help them properly rig their rods and set up their electronics so they’re ready to catch fish the next morning. That knowledge is worth most of the cost of the school alone.

Monday, class is in session on the bay’s shore at Linwood Beach Marina, where they enter the taiga that is frozen Saginaw Bay. You’ll be taught proper fishing methods on the ice as well as how and where to set up before heading in to discuss what each did during the day. Each student receives a flag identifier so instructors including Martin can visit throughout the day to teach them the techniques behind reading and using equipment.

You’ll fish all day Monday through noon Wednesday. Each day ends with dinner and students and instructors discussing what they learned and how they caught fish to share the knowledge, all with the goal of making everyone better anglers.

Students should bring fish shanties and all equipment. Any additional equipment you’ll need can be purchased at Frank’s Great Outdoors. Martin and his staff will be available to show you what you need. If you don’t have a snowmobile, rides to fishing spots are available for $25 per day to cover cost of gas and equipment maintenance. Two-man heated shanties are available for $75 per day.

To sign up, contact Scott Szafranski at Linwood Beach Marina, 989-697-4415, or call mark at 231-744-0330.