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I will readily admit to you that I very much wish we had enough ice to be fishing on right now.  I L-O-V-E to ice-fish!  I am warning you, the longer this winter goes without ice, the grumpier I am going to get.

clam in boat_zpseleu9stg

But I have learned that sometimes life gives you lemons and you just have to make lemonade. . . .

A week ago I posted a little review of what has been a great, long, and very productive fall of fishing, Fall in Review, 2015.  I mentioned there that with the forecasts I was looking at, I was not sure my open-water fishing for this year had been completed yet.  It was not.

Last week was very mild for the second week of December.  I am sure that was true all across Nebraska.  I skipped out of work on a couple of those warm afternoons and got some yard work done at home.  We have three pin oaks in our yard and that means lots of leaves in the gutters and on the grass, every fall.

After doing that a couple of afternoons, I left the leaf work unfinished and got back on the water.  I could not stay away, and had just enough success to convince me I needed to fish hard as long as I could.  There was an opportunity to catch just one more muskie. . . .

Late in the day on the last day before the weather changed back to cooler, windier and much wetter, I had just enough time to fish one more spot.  As I said in the earlier blog post about fishing this fall, I fish hard in the fall.  I fished particularly hard this fall because I wanted just one more big fish.  So, it was very satisfying when, with just a little bit more time left to fish, I felt something thump my big muskie bait, and hammered the hooks into solid, alive, weight.  That is one of my favorite moments in fishing–that instant when I feel a fish eat my bait and set the hooks into a solid, big, fish.  “Mmmm, Yes!”  Then there were some mouth-wide-open head shakes, slow, long shakes from a big fish.  A couple, three runs stripped line off my old 6500C, hot-tub-size boils on the surface, and then my eyes got really wide when I put the piggy in the Frabill!


That ‘ski was 43 inches, fat, over 20 pounds, maybe as much as 25.  GORGEOUS fish!  Again I could not take my eyes off her, just marveled at that big, beautiful predator.

Catching that fish was so rewarding, so satisfying,

And a lot better than doing yard work.

I still do not know if I am done fishing open water for the year; that will depend on the weather.  I would love to be on the ice tomorrow.  I do know that if I am done fishing liquid water for this season, that fish was a great way to end, “the cherry on top”, or more appropriately for the season, that is what I call putting a bow on it!

I always tell folks that the only thing I know for sure about fish and fishing is that you cannot catch anything sitting at home on the couch (or doing leaves).  The more time you can spend on the water, the more you learn, and the more often you will catch fish including some big fish.  There ain’t many folks fishing open water in December, even when the weather has been mild, but there are a few, and any time you have a line in the water, you just never know. . . . I am still hearing some reports of fish being caught from open water.

This last photo is blurry, the light was fading, but I think you will get the idea of what I did with that beauty.


Do not worry.  We got all of our leaf work done on Saturday before the rain started.  Now the kids and I have been sitting on the porch with our shotguns shooting the few remaining leaves that have been falling from our oak trees.  After the work is done, we cannot have any leaves laying on our grass or landing in our gutters.

And it is about time for me to go fishing again. . . .

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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