ANGLER TIPS Jack Wollitz

Ice fishing this winter has not exactly set anglers afire with excitement.
Mild weather delayed the arrival of safe ice, limiting the opportunities for those who like to get out on the big reservoirs and jig for walleyes.
Ice finally formed in late January and last weekend lured those suffering from cabin fever to try their luck.
But judging from the action at Mosquito Creek Reservoir, it seems that the harvest through the ice will not put much of a dent in the walleye population.
Hundreds of anglers spread across the lake from the dam to the Ohio 88 causeway. Shanties dotted the frozen surface, but most anglers opted to fish without shelter as the mercury topped 30 degrees.
Fishermen clustered around the traditional hot spots -- the cemetery, the old Ohio 305 roadbed and other humps and flats. Little congregations of friends sat in circles around holes on folding chairs and upside-down buckets.
They jigged vibrating baits and spoons. They dabbled jigs tipped with bait. They set out tip-ups dressed with live minnows.
It was a nice day and some pretty good anglers were out on the ice on a lake with a big population of walleyes. The only problem was nobody told the fish to cooperate.
All that effort, all that equipment, all those thousands of minnows bought by the horde of anglers -- and hardly a bent pole in sight.
A few nice fish did come up, though most of what was evident last weekend was too small for the skillet.
The fish are there, however, and they will bite sometime before the ice is gone.
In the meantime, our consolation is that even a poor day of ice fishing is better than waiting for spring to cure our cabin fever.

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