Targeting Northern Pike on the West Okoboji and Big...

Rod Woten, the Iowa Team Extreme Tournament Director, holds a slab crappie taken during one of his tournament competitions. Woten is looking forward to the Team Extreme Tournament on West Okoboji’s Emerson Bay on Sunday, January 12.

Team Extreme coming to West Okoboji’s Emerson Bay

December 26, 2013 Comments (1) Fishing Notebook

Ice conditions continue to improve

By Steve Weisman

What a year for making ice on our area lakes! It looks like we’ll have lots of vehicles on the ice pretty soon. Still, even with the good ice conditions, be careful. Stay away from points and areas such as bridges where currents might be. Also, there is still an open spot on the north shore of Big Spirit where thousands of geese have kept an open hole.

If you want to catch walleyes, Big Spirit is a logical choice. However, be prepared to catch mostly slot fish with only an occasional sub-slot fish being caught. Best areas seem to be 18-20’ of water off of Reeds Run, Red Nose, Big Stony and between Big Stony and Jackson Point.

Bluegills have been hit and miss. The usual shallow water bite on Little Millers, Little Emerson and Big Emerson has been pretty inconsistent. The best areas I have found have been just off the weed edges in 12-15’ of water. It seems they are cruising more than relating to weedbeds.

Speaking of bluegills…it was bound to happen. As a matter of fact, I had been looking for it for the last few years. I mean, Dave Genz, known to ice fishermen as Mr. Ice Fishing and the icon who years ago had designed the famous Genz jigs that revolutionized ice fishing jigs, had not jumped into the new world of the tungsten jigs.

However,in a conversation with Dave late last winter, I had a feeling something was in the works.

Tungsten has been the buzz word for the last couple of years, because the tungsten jigs fish heavy for their size. They are small but their weight gets them down more quickly than the typical lead jigs, and they react much more quickly and consistently to jigging patterns because of their weight.

Sure enough, Genz has teamed up with Clam Outdoors™ to introduce the Dave Genz Tungsten Drop Series™, a series of seven distinct models that will, from what I have previewed and researched, be dynamite this winter for a wide range of fish.

Of course, for me it’s about panfish, especially the clear waters of West Okoboji, and I believe that the “drop” series will be lights out.

The new Genz “drop” jigs are 70 percent denser and 30 percent heavier than lead.

According to Genz, the new tungsten jigs had to do the following:

  • punch through slush (especially important on clear water lakes-when fish shy away from the light allowed by the hole),
  • get up and down fast (important when a bite is on or a school of perch is sitting down their waiting for a bait),
  • show up well on a flasher (means the gain does not have to be up so high),
  • let you experiment with cadence (being able to go from a quiver, to a jiggle to a jig),
  • produce crisp sensations in your hands (means you can more easily “feel” the lure’s movement)

Initial results and thoughts

Well, I’ve fished with the size 1/64-ounce Red Glow Drop jig three different times with positive results. I have always like glow jigs, and this one works well. It is a small size, but the tungsten jig gets down to the fish quickly and it makes the kind of jiggle, jiggle presentation that I really like. Its weight also helps keep the line taut so the movement is crisp and immediate.

More on this jig as the season progresses. I am sure that these little tungsten gems will be super effective in the early spring after ice-out and later over the spawning beds!


The author with a big gill taken on a 1/64-ounce Red Glow Drop jig.



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