Mississippi River Backwaters Early Ice

Water Body

It was a real ruff start to the ice season for this guy..

First day out was on the local lake here on P10.. Geared up with the Otter Sport Sled, an assortment of jigs and plastics and the Lazer hand auger and I was set.

Met up with Alex at 7am and we were fishing in a quick 15 minutes… The fish were very tight lipped on Friday ..several fish were in the circle of my LX6, but a measly 25% of them would actually commit..
We tried just about everything in the bank to loosen the lock jaw on these scaly critters but nothing would work and a move was in order..

Alex and I decided to make a trek with the spud bar to find some more fish hoping they would be more cooperative..

Negotiating a creek was one of biggest feats…I’m not 24 any more… Making bridges with trees three times our size..not to smart…the tree won.. Alex and I positioned it just perfect at the edge of the creek…working it up foot by foot..the top towering over our heads…with just a few more feet would topple it over to the other side of the bank and wa~la.. we would have our bridge…. Just getting it to it’s peak of balance… one ..two..three HEAVE…tiiimmmmbeeeerrrrr…rind to the center of the creek… LOL
One huge benefit to my otter sports sled.. crossing a creek !!!

We safely crossed the creek and then had to get across the slough.. This is where the spud bar comes into play.. safely get across the slough and were in prime first ice again… We popped several holes with thoughts of monster panfish coming to our offerings… NOT !!!

We managed a few fish but again…these fish thought it was Feb or something.

Duke and I were off to explore with his hovercraft. Duke has spent many hours fine tuning this chariot during the off season. He has done a fantastic job !! It is a nice assurance that when you go out in one of these, you know you’re going to be able to get back !!

Day two was not much different than day one was…

You have to know..when you’re fishing with Duke and he barely manages a dozen fish for day… the bite is OFF !!!

Better fishing is in store.. I think these fish just were not prepared to be fished this early… I can’t remember the last time i was on the ice this early in the season..

Till Next Time..

The Tug is the Drug Baby !!

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Dave Koonce

Koonce’s home waters are Pools 9 and 10 of the Mississippi River, neither of which is too far from where he lives in Prairie du Chien, Wisc. “It only takes about 15 minutes to have my boat at the landing,” Full Bio ›


  1. Nice to see ice reports. I heard that they were biting fairly well on Bussey Lake, I don’t know if you headed down that way but I’ve read the gills and perch were biting pretty steadily. Nice report!

  2. We have been doing pretty good in pool 8 Mississippi river mostly blue gills and a few crappies and perch. The biggest bluegills we have caught are 9 inches.

  3. Quote:

    We have been doing pretty good in pool 8 Mississippi river mostly blue gills and a few crappies and perch. The biggest bluegills we have caught are 9 inches.

    That looks like a fine fish fry you have there. Nice fish.

  4. Hover craft, that is something I might have look at getting or a fan boat. A fan boat would def be the bomb. Nice fish guys, keep catching. Koonce any luck on the mustache worm, – QB

  5. My hovercraft experience, (all of last season and two trips this season), is mixed. The ability to safely access areas beyond bad ice and open water is wonderful. The unit itself is quite reliable and they are repairable in the event of an accident. I had bad issues with road salt corroding many parts on my machine so I had a lot of off season work to do.
    Throttle and choke cables seized up and wiring harnesses eaten up. I’m trying a travel cover this season and excercizing more discretion on when I take it out on the road. They don’t do well with a bunch of loose powdery fresh snow as the lift engine blows it every where, the same with dust and dirt in parking lots.
    First ice and last ice on the Mississippi, well worth the grief.


  6. Next time I want a ride in the hovercraft! My dogs are still barking after the miles we put on Friday! To add to this report, on Sunday I turned my drive home into an impromptu fishing excursion making stops along the way from PDC to Winona to wet a line. The fish were fussy just about everywhere I stopped, most just coming up and staring at my offerings. Not real sure what’s going on with them! Either way it’s always a pleasure to hit the ice with you Dave and I’ll be sure to get in touch with you when I get back here over Christmas. Hopefully the fish cooperate a little better!

  7. Great write up! I was never able to hit the backwaters of the MN rivers but it’s on my bucketlist! How deep of water would you say you targeted??

  8. Dave,

    Monona is all locked up now except for a tiny crecent in the middle. Waubesa is good to go and is where I am heading Saturday. You wouldn’t believe the view of Lake Monona I have from my new office.

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