January 2016 IFO (Ice Fishing Outing) South Dakota Report

The last weekend of January found this year’s IFO group heading for Henry, SD for a couple days on the frozen water! Tracy Hayward and I from Cedar Rapids along with Ralph Kitson and Steve Schaefer from Sioux Falls, SD met up at the Pepper Slough Lodge in Henry on Friday afternoon, January 22nd. We headed over to our guide, Neal Jensen’s, home base to discuss tactics for our two days with him on the ice. You can reach Neal at www.harcorewalleye@gmail.com to set up your ice fishing or open water trip–you’ll find him a friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful angler! After a short night’s sleep at the Lodge, we rose early and headed just north of Henry to Long Lake. The winds were howling from 30-40mph so Neal had us fish out of his “Ice Castle”, sitting in about 12 feet of water, while Ralph toughed it out in his new Jason Mitchell Clam two man sled. We did catch quite a few small walleye, some perch, and then Tracy caught a nice keeper through the ice to compliment Steve’s catch. Ralph caught a limit of nice walleye before we set up my shack and gave up the hard sided shack to Neal’s partner who was entertaining his family on the ice for the afternoon. The wind laid down and so did the bites–it was really slow for us but we stayed out until dark hoping for the transition bite when the sun goes down. We treated Neal to dinner with us at the “Double Barrel” that night. If you like meat, a great place to eat! The town of Henry boasts two steak places so you can mix up your dining out when you visit. Sunday, the 24th, dawned with heavy fog. We had breakfast then followed Neal to a “no name” lake some 40 miles north and west of Henry. He provided a 4-wheeler for Steve and Ralph to pull their shack on the new lake while Tracy revved up his Arctic Cat to pull my new Frabill purchased last year but never used until the weekend. We followed Neal past a late model Chevy pickup which had hit a not so thick patch of ice–the front end was mostly submerged in the lake! Part of our afternoon entertainment was watching locals successfully pull the truck out of the ice!! We set up shop per Neal’s direction and fished in about 17 feet of water. Tracy and I had one 15-inch walleye right away and thought, “game on!” However, we only caught one other fish the rest of the day–a pesky pike that managed to swim through all four lines plus the cord to Tracy’s new Aqua-Vu!! While we were untangling the mess, Steve called on the two-way radio and said, “get over here, Spike!” Ralph had a huge pike on his line and was able to bring it up through the ice hole. I shot some video of the nice fish and got some good pics. He caught the brute on a Rapala jigging rap–one of the tips Neal had provided before our trip up. We packed up as the sun was setting and headed for the trailers to park the four-wheelers and the shacks. Back in Henry, we had to eat one more time at the Double Barrel, drink some fine adult beverages, and discuss our fun two days with Neal. When we got up early Monday morning, we had two inches of snow on the vehicles to clean off and had touch-and-go driving all the way to Sioux Falls then ran into the bad stuff from Mason City back to Cedar Rapids. Even though we didn’t catch the numbers we were hoping for, we called the IFO a success for good fellowship with dear fishing friends. Hope you enjoyed reading this story and looking at the pics from the weekend! More adventures to come during the 2016 fishing season!! Be sure to check out walleye wisdom’s Facebook site, too! Take care, SpikeIMG_4527

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