An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 1-30-2013

by Mike Walters

Fox Lake/Excellent Potential

Hello friends,

I recently spent about 48 hours living with my very pregnant golden retriever “Fire” in an ice shack on Dodge Counties 2625-acre Fox Lake.

Monday, January 14th
High 23, low 12

My plan was simple; I had three Otter Sleds loaded to the hilt with camping and ice fishing gear. I was going to pull each of them a short distance to an ice shack that I had been previously told about, set up my “Eskimo” Fat Fishermen ice shack and call it home for three days.

My plan changed, Rod Bensley who lives near Fox Lake, and is my pheasant preserve connection had contacted his 39-year-old son Dusty who is a very avid fishermen.

Dusty and Rod Bensley met me on the ice, hauled my gear by four wheeler and just before dark tonight, the three of us along with Jay Keel, a buddy of Dusty’s since they were kids, were tip up fishing for walleye.

Fox Lake, as I have been reading about and hearing from friends is an extremely respected fishery and has healthy populations of very fat musky, northern pike, walleye, and bass with crappie and bluegill in large numbers as well.

My tip up tripped just about as soon as I put it out and yielded a beautiful 30-inch northern pike, which had to be released due to the minimum 32-inch size limit.

Soon after that it was dark and Dusty Bensley, whom I had just met tonight told me that I should stay in his shack instead of living in my tent, I liked the idea and was loving life when a flag went up and a small walleye was caught, and later I watched Rod catch an 18-incher which is the minimum size limit to be kept.

The four of us spent about three hours together in the shack and I heard some amazing stories about some big, pig walleye that Jay Keel and Dusty have caught this year and in the past. Jay Keel keeps a shack close to Dusty’s, his kids catch big walleye as well, and I think the local Fox Lake “Men’s Association” has some very important and fun meetings in these shacks that probably go well into the night and are held quite often.

My pals left Fire and I (she is very large and due in six days) and my favorite season of the year was embraced with my favorite pastime, which is ice fishing and winter camping.

Tuesday, January 15th 
High 19, low 4

There is no snow on the ice and today was a windy one. Before first light, I caught a 15-inch walleye. As soon as it got light out, I caught a 16-incher and an hour later I caught an 18-inch largemouth bass. Soon after that I pulled my tip ups and headed in to shore where my friend Lori Schick was waiting and excited for a day of fishing. On the walk out to the shack, Lori fell twice and once we got to the shack we put out four tip ups and then began jigging for walleye.

I had never fished with Lori before and she is hardy, into it and gets very excited when she gets a fish on. Unfortunately, the big fish Gods did not want Lori to catch a whopper today, as every time she had one it got away.

All in all the fishing was kind of slow. I caught a 28- inch northern pike with the jig pole that I was praying would be a walleye, and Lori Shick put in about 12-hours with high hopes and a few excellent opportunities for those hopes to become reality.

Jay Keel came by tonight, fished for crappie in deeper water, and caught a bunch in the 7-9 inch range.

Fox Lake is one of the most written about lakes on Lake Links and I can see why, put in your time, learn from your mistakes and you will see some nice fish.

My next week will be an interesting one, Otter trapping, coyote hunting, and watching Fire become a mother.

Take care, Sunset

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Downing Tractor Parts