Nebraskaland Jan-Feb 2023

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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16 Nebraskaland • January-February 2023 IN THE FIELD By Jeff Kurrus DOES WIND AFFECT FISH UNDER ICE? Open water anglers know the advantages and disadvantages of wind. Sight anglers want no wind, shallow-water walleye and wiper anglers want wind-swept shorelines, and clear water casting anglers want just enough wind to break up the surface. But what about ice anglers? It doesn't seem like wind could affect them, given the gigantic block of ice blocking the wind, but Nebraska Game and Parks fisheries biologist Daryl Bauer said wind is part of a larger story. "It's the factors along with the wind," he said. Typically, Bauer continued, a north or west wind means the weather is nasty and the fishing slows down. When it's from the south, stable weather and consistent fishing are in order. An east wind is atypical, meaning some sort of strange weather is on the horizon. Be ready for anything, he said. And this goes for fishing hard water as well. "The biggest thing that changes under the ice is water temperature," said Bauer. "When the water is warmest, the fish are the most active." So, pay attention to whatever weather patterns generate warmer water, especially after the mid-winter lull when snow cover on the ice has blocked out the sun's ability to warm the water and also generate oxygen from aquatic vegetation by photosynthesis. Then, look for those south winds that blow into Nebraska every late winter. They are the first sign of not only an impending spring but also a ravenous bite that will soon occur under the surface of the ice. Travel Note: If you are planning a trip to a shallow water lake to ice fi sh, pay attention to the weather conditions before it ices. If it was extremely windy just before freezing, there will be increased turbidity until the water settles. If possible, give these waters a couple of weeks before visiting so you get that beautiful, clear water so often associated with ice fi shing. Bluegill and yellow perch on the ice. ERIC FOWLER, NEBRASKALAND

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