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In two weeks we should have some nice ice. With below zero temps in the forecast, lakes will build about a quarter inch per evening. Northeastern Minnesota will always have winter. We’re just not sure which type of frozen north we end up with.

So do you put out the permanent ice shanty or auger along with the portable? I tend to go with the portable. If you buy a license for a spearing shack, your portable and a permanent, you may go broke.

Northern pike fishing in stealh modeBut one nice trick with a portable, especially on the fresh ice is worth paying attention to. The first day out punch your holes. One for a tip-up and one for a jigging stick. When you’re done for the day cover the holes with pine bows and then give them about a foot and half of snow pack. The topping on this ice cream sundae is to pour some lake water over it all so it freezes in place and the wind during the night won't blow it away.

The next day you reopen the holes with out any auger noise. Just scoop out your slushy, ice cream sundae.

I have an early season northern pike lake. 5 cabins on the entire lake that sits at the end of one very dead end road. This lake gets minimal fishing pressure all year for more than one reason.

One hundred and nine acres of five foot water depth or less with no improved public access. First it’s remote and second it’s not easy to get a boat into during the summer months. This lake in summer is almost completely surrounded by bog. The launch is with hip boots through some Labrador tea and sandbar willow.

There is one place in the lake that has between 7 and 12 feet of water. The size of two parallel football fields just west of a half acre island. The only reason I found out about this little honey hole was a guy who owned a cabin was having beaver trouble and he knew I trapped beaver.

In his yard sat a permanent fish shanty and a spearing shack. Both had current tags. That instantly tripped my curiosity button. He said for walleyes the lake was not very good because of freeze out and that the ice house was nice for grand kids to pan fish in the winter. I didn’t press him about the spear house but that was enough of a clue for me.

This lake has consistently put up three to ten pound northern’s for me since 1998 when I started to fish the lake. But taking the time to punch holes one day and then re-fish it the next through those quiet holes has really paid off. In the summer, with a depth finder, I found the deep spot and weed line and then it was just a GPS click on the corners to fence in this winter aquarium.

A ton of Irish luck comes into play here, but trying the quiet holes on the second day may put you on some stealthy pike this winter. So tight lines and keep your tip up.


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