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Ryan Brod

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Best Baits for Ice Fishing Pike

Ice Fishing

Best Baits for Ice Fishing Pike

It was early March when pike patrol the shallows in pre-spawn mode. I was guiding seven anglers, several of whom had never fished before. I chose a shallow, weedy bay and spread my tip-ups to cover prime territory. I tipped my 3/0 red octopus-style hooks with lively golden shiners, 4 to 6 inches...
Last Ice: How to Stay Safe and When to Call it Quits

Ice Fishing

Last Ice: How to Stay Safe and When to Call it Quits

The ice at the lake edge is dark, slushy, and covered in standing water, as if the lake dug a moat around itself. Farther out, where I want to set my tip-ups for pre-spawn northerns, the ice integrity looks uniform and solid. I don’t see any obvious pressure ridges or widening holes that mark danger...
Ice Advice: Staying Warm During the Coldest Fishing Season

Ice Fishing

Ice Advice: Staying Warm During the Coldest Fishing Season

In my earliest fishing photo, I’m two years old, stuffed in a baby blue snowsuit, shoveling Cheez-Its in my mouth on the floor of my dad’s ice shanty. Some 30 winters later, I’m thinking of that same photo—of my genuine look of comfort and coziness—as I drill holes through Clearwater Lake, in...
Hardwater Basics: A Guide to Tip-Up Fishing

Ice Fishing

Hardwater Basics: A Guide to Tip-Up Fishing

After augering 10 holes and clearing the slush, we moved on to setting tip-ups. My fingers were already losing function due to the cold, but the adrenaline kept me going. As usual, we were first on the frozen lake, my father and I. The sooner we set up, the sooner our jumbo shiners would swim at...
First Ice: Early Hard-Water Fishing Safety

Ice Fishing

First Ice: Early Hard-Water Fishing Safety

We stood in the trees near the shoreline, waiting for sunrise. The morning was frigid and windless. A few feet beyond, lake ice folded against land. As far as I could tell, we’d be the season’s first ice anglers; it was early December and a week-long cold snap had hardened my favorite local lake. In...
Pike Under Ice: Advanced Tactics for Spooky Winter Northerns

Ice Fishing

Pike Under Ice: Advanced Tactics for Spooky Winter Northerns

I came to pike fishing by way of salmon, which is to say I was utterly unprepared. Landlocked salmon—the preferred quarry at the outset of my ice fishing journey 20 years ago—require delicate leaders, small hooks and pin smelts pierced gently beneath their dorsal. Call it finesse ice fishing, if...