"Southa the border, down Canada way," WW&W Wildlife Correspondent Paris Hiltunen sang as we slipped beneath the frigid, yet not frozen over, waters of the Detroit River and into the Windsor Tunnel south to Ontario. "It feels good to slip outa these Carhartts and into something more comfortable and a little thinner, " she added, "In the U.P. a girl's gotta wear a snowmobile suit and thermal long johns to stay warm. Both leave a lot to the imagination."
She was right. Yooper girls are covered from head to toe, not like Sara Sota and those Florida girls who go fishing in bikinis.
"It's not fair," she added, "but it's proof that Jim sticks with his correspondents through thick and thin."
I must admit I do maintain symbiotic relationships with all WW&W correspondents, which is more than you can say for most marriages. Among the most traumatic outdoor news of 2009 was the remarriage of the Michigan DNR and DEQ. Their married name takes too long to say so I'll just use initials: MDNRE.
"This is only their first fiscal quarter re-hitched," Paris said hopefully, "They're still on their honeymoon, of course they're happy."
In other outdoor news, the groundhog saw his shadow on Tuesday, which means we're down to our last 12 weeksa winter.
Hitting the road to Florida always feels good and I look forward to getting a little sun and sin on me, two commodities in pretty short supply in the Keweenaw.
There's a lot to be said for clean living, but if I stuck around much longer, I wouldn't have anything to give up for Lent except winter.
You don't have to look too far to find sun and fun in Tampa Bay; they both come right up to you.
But enough cultural observations and back to the real world.
This year's ice isn't what it's cracked up to be. But fear not, our biggest and best ice-making months are still ahead of us. Good thing too: K-Bay was sporting whitecaps last week, but has now re-frozen over 5-7 inches thick.
"There are 75 to 100 tents back in Shantytown and they're running sleds and 4-wheelers out there now," said Steve Koski of Indian Country Sports on the downtown L'Anse Vegas waterfront. "There's ice from Lighthouse Point to the moutha Beaver Crick in Aura, Township Park in Skanee, and Pequaming to County Line," he added,
Go to NOAA or just google Lake Superior modis images or aerial photos and you can see satellite photos of K-Bay and where the ice is and where it ain't.
"The bite has been good with an interesting mixed bag out there," Koski continued. "They're catching steelhead and lake trout in the shallows, and herring, whitefish and yumbo perch in 30-40 feet."
"One guy caught five lake trout in 10 feeta water and the guy in the next tent over caught a burbot and menominee. Try Swedish Pimples, Northland Macho Minnows, Jigging Raps and jigs tipped with live or Berkley minnows. Fish feed most aggressively around sunrise and sunset, but they don't bite til you get there."
Next weekend is Michigan Free Fishing Weekend, Valentine's Day and the Lunar New Year.
For bait, ice conditions and fishing reports, call Indian Country Sports, L'Anse, (524-6518), Harter Mountain, Calumet (337-0913), Northwoods Sporting Goods, Hancock (482-5210), Gas Lite General Store, Copper Harbor, (289-4652), Northwoods Bait Shop, Chassell, (523-4878), Fish On II Guide Service, Lac la Belle, (289-4481), Greig's Taxidermy & Tackle, Ontonagon (906-884-2770), Russ's Bait & Tackle, Lake Gogebic (906-365-5505).
WW&W 2010 Winter Outdoor Calendar
Feb. 7-10, Mark Martin Ice Fishing School, Bay City, Saginaw Bay, icefishingschool.com
Feb. 13-14, Winter Free Fishing Weekend,
Feb. 13, Greenlight Ice Fishing Tournament, Portage Lake, Harry, 523-4417
Feb. 13-28, Keweenaw Whitetails Predator Hunt, 289-4522
Feb. 27, Chassell VFW Fourth Annual Ice Fishing Tournament, Jesse Sohlden, 523-9089.
Feb. 26-28, Winter Becoming an Outdoors Woman, Big Bay, Sharon Pitz 906-228-6561, michigan.gov/bow.
Jim can be reached 24/7/365 at firstname.lastname@example.org.