In the North Country, there’s a moment that all anglers hold sacred: when the last ice slowly dissolves away, revealing open water lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. After enduring one snowstorm after another, winter springs into summer and all thoughts turn toward getting our boats ready and being on open water once again.
For Al and his son Troy Lindner, ice out is a tradition. Troy, who lives in the Los Angeles area year-round, travels north every spring to fish for coldwater smallies, a hard-biting and fighting fish that both anglers simply love to catch, over and over again.
In a new video by Lindner’s Angling Edge, Al and Troy find themselves out on a lake near Brainerd, Minnesota, just a week after ice out.
The water is still very cold – about 42 degrees. But the warmth of the turning season is evident as they locate smallies on rock and gravel flats in 4 to 8 feet of water. When a spring cold front comes in, these same fish, which are aggressively feeding in anticipation of spawning, can be found on the edges of these hard-bottom flats, in 10-15 feet of water.
When it comes to coldwater smallies, there’s only one answer, tie on a Rapala jerkbait. On warmer days, when the smallies move up onto the flats, the Lindners both use X-Raps.
On colder days, when the smallies head deeper, they tie on Rapala® Shadow Rap® Deep. Both Al and Troy use 10 lb. Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline® with a Sufix® Advance® 100% Fluorocarbon Leader.
In both cases, they’re covering lots of water, steadily casting while using the trolling motor to cover water. After casting, they use the following retrieve: jerk, jerk, jerk – pause – jerk, jerk, jerk. Or, as Al says, in his thick native Chicago accent: “Boom, Boom, Boom – Pause – Boom, Boom, Boom.”
When fishing the Shadow Rap Deep, he pauses a tad bit longer.
“At this time of the year,” says Al, “you have a much narrower window. The fish can see the bait, but because it’s still cold, they’re not rushing over to grab it.”
Check out the new video by Lindner’s Angling Edge. And best fishes to all our friends in North Country on the beginning of open water season.