As winter in Minnesota dragged on, and on, and on, I grew increasingly depressed and frustrated. No open water until late April. No hunting for nightcrawlers, just mountains of snow and ice.
But, in the midst of a rough winter, I also sensed an opportunity. In previous years, when winter held on and the lakes had ice well into April, I had managed to pull a few white suckers through the ice at one of my favorite ice fishing spots. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera ready to document these important catches. This year, with another slow ice-out at hand, I was ready. But in addition to suckers, I met with a few awesome surprises. Usually, when I ice fish, I'm lucky to pull 2 or perhaps 3 species through the ice. This is one of the reasons ice-fishing kinda sucks sometimes. But this year, at my usual spot, my buddy, my wife, and myself, managed to land 7 species. On several trips, we caught all 7 in the same day! Waxworms and fathead minnows were our bait of choice, and more than once I ended up with a fierce fight on my 2lb. jigging pole! These were not isolated catches or just dumb luck either, as we figured out some genuine patterns of activity and bait preferences as we gained practice. Some of these fish had some real size to them too, which made catching them all the more fun! Never knowing if a waxworm would attract a tiny perch, sunfish, big sucker, or some other species definitely made things interesting.
Here's the species list: yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, white sucker