Mississippi River Prairie du Chien Wi. Ice Fishing


On Tuesday 12/16/03 I met up with Bob Mikolajczak(aka..The Osprey) and his fishing buddy Bob C. from south central Illinois.

The equiptment used this day…Micro thin line,spring bobbers,small jigs like rockers,lil mics,moon glitters,poles used were short ice poles and I used the 54 inch pulator rod..

We started out hittin a close to the road spot that usually puts out some decent 7-8" gills. We hit the area pretty thorough with no brusiers to be found.Lots of 5-6 1/2 inch fish but no good quality 7+ inch fish. So i walked over to Bob M. and said "we are going to have to go for a walk" he said lets go !!

We set out for about a 1/2 hour – 45 minute walk stopping and testing the bite in spots that , with the lower than normal water level, I thought might hold some fish..

One of the first spots we hit was loaded with fish…It was nothing to pull 6 to 8 fish out of some of the holes. Most fish again were in the 6-7 inch range with a bunch of smaller ones to keep the action going.

Bob C. was the first to pull a tru 8 inch gill from under the hard water…Bob is an acomplished ice fisherman. He uses his Vexilar to tell him when the gills are finike and need some persuasion, or on a terror and swarming under his hole..Here is Bob C’s first 8 incher.

Well from here we decided to head to another spot that I love to go to. It’s a bit of a haul on foot but I have found it well worth the trip each time I go there.

The gills today didn’t seem to care if I gave them a waxie or a spike, and with all the action we were getting I opted for the spike because there is a lot less time adding bait to the jig.The fish seemed to be all through the water column, some came high and some came right on the bottom, and the smaller fish just took it and ran but the bigger fish would just lightly pull down on the jig or lightly push it up.The use of a spring bobber in these cases are a must. A regular float just won’t pic up these touchy biting fish.

The gills were a bit bigger from this next place we tried..Lots of fish…here is another quality fish caught by Bob M.

There is something about meeting new people and fishing together that is just about the best feeling a person could ever experience. The three of us shared a little bit of ourselves out there yesterday and I do believe i found a couple of new friends..These two belong to a fishing club that has attracted several Big Name people, and I believe it must be due to type of comradery and willingness to share information about the sport of fishing as I experienced on the ice with these two yesterday…

Lots of nice fish out there, so if you be sure to throw some of the bigger gills back we will all be able to share in this wonderfull fisheree we have .

remember to click on the pix to see them at full view

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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. Dave, as I recall the question was “do you want to go for a little walk” I never asked for a definiton. Since when is 15 miles into the teeth of a 20-30 mph wind with blowing snow, glare ice, with one of us without ice cleats (because he was too stupid to go back to the truck and get them) a “little” walk. (Really it was only 1.5 to 2 miles).

    Now for the rest of the story … Despite all of us having to fish out in the cold, wet, windy, invigorating weather today because BC’s and my shelters would not hold on glare ice, along with falling temps throughout the day Dave NEVER, EVER dampened his spirit or enthusiasm.

    The 3 of us always shared what was working at that particular time, such as when of found larger fish just 6″ under the ice. We all participated while it lasted. (You must fish the entire water column)

    Today, color was not that important, however presentation and the ability to sense extremely light bite was critical. We all use very light spring bobbers for this along with a good deal of concentration. As the day wore on, presentation got slower and slower and slower to the point of almost 0 movement as temps were falling and the front was passing.

    It really was 4-6 fish/hole then move. I presented Dave with a mission, should he choose to accept it, that being to catch 20 or more fish in a hole within 5 min before moving. After finding that neither he or Bob C had a straight jacket for me, he accepted and we succeeded. The Vexilar was showing a lot of activity so I knew or suspected, a school was present. The trick was for both of us to fish the same hole with different baits. One fishes while the other is unhooking a fish. If you miss a fish, immediately pull your line and your partner drops his bait ans so on until nothing for 2 min or so. A school of ‘gils can be so competitive, this little trick can add to your catch and have a lot of fun in the process. (With all the laughing and hollering by Dave and myself, I’m surprised that someone did not initiate a search and recue mission)

    For the day we conservatively estimate that each of us caught between 125 and 150 ‘gils and bass. At 6 fish/hole that tells you how many holes we cut.

    Had we wanted to, we could easily have kept a limit of 7 1/4 to 7 3/4″ fish. Bob C and a few other friends are extremely fortunate to fish both public and private waters where 8 to 10″ ‘gils are common and can sustain a limited harvest. Limits are never our objective. Our fishing club, Walleyes Unlimited promotes and teaches this concept.

    New waters, new techniques, meeting new and exciting people and just having fun are what we wanted. After talking and corresponding with Dave …. we met our objectives.

    You take what the river offers. On tues it was not a lot of 8″ + fish, but what a super, super day was had by all, a new friend was truly made.

    Last word, We did not fish on wed because I could not bend my right elbow or touch my right ear in the am. Xrays were negative, neither the elbow or shoulder require surgery, the elbow now bends a little and the shoulder is a little looser. Why oh why didn’t I go back to the truck to get my cleats?

    The Prairie Motel was great, we never found the recommended steak place.

    We shall return !!!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year to all.

    Bob M

  2. Nice report Buddy!
    Keep them coming.
    Pulling nice gills through the ice on super lite equipment is always something I look forward to every ice season!!

  3. Nice job guys on finding the active fish. I don’t know if you could have a bad day fishing with Dave, he’s a great guy to fish with.

    The size of the gills this year is a little perplexing. It seems for the most part the bigger gills are hard to find. Most of the people I’ve talked too have also caught alot of those 7 to 8 inchers with only a few over the 8 inch mark. Hopefully the bigger ones will show up soon.

  4. Nice report! Action like that keeps us going back out, even if the weather is miserable, to try to duplicate the results. Sunday afternoon I made it out for an hour or so to change the pace, catch some gills for supper, and get a little gill fishing out of my system. I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to go bull hunting. Note to self: remember the ice cleats.

  5. Hey Bob,

    The first thing i’m gonna do is put in another set of ice cleats in my bucket…I never even ney you took a dive until Bob C. told me…I sure hope you’ll be ok…

    I’ll keep looking for the 9+” fish that I told you about and when I do I’ll give you a hollar…

    I have to tell you guys something…These two guys that I fished with said they were 62 years young…They sure didn’t seem at all like it …These fellas are in great shape and never once declined “one more spot” before we call it a night…

    I’ll work on a couple of the tricks you showed me and I can’t wait till I can get a couple two or three of us around one hole and put them in their frenzy..

    I knew I had my work cut out for me when these guys told me that they were used to catching 8-10″ gills…so when we were pulling 6-7″ gills out of the holes I knew I had to do better…

    I gave it my best and with that we all had a great day…I can’t wait till monday when i can finally pick up my Otter..

    Thanks again Bob M. and Bob C. for a very memorable time…

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