It's February, and still no winter in sight

By Bill Bartusek, Outdoor Columnist

Balmy weather continues, so ice conditions improve at a snail's pace. Northern Minnesota is doing just fine now after some real cold nights. Here in the south, it's better but I wouldn't bet the truck on it.

Many have turned their attention to the river. Open water fishing on the Mississippi never stopped all season. Angling success there has been quite steady providing some nice walleye and sauger. This is the last month for catching big fish in Minnesota, of course, until May.

Walleye and Pike continue to bite despite it being February. Anglers are just getting to some of the sweet spots. I spent a long weekend at the cabin chasing panfish. I'm not kidding when I say chasing. Between three of us we burned over two tanks of gas in my four-stroke auger. That's in one afternoon. We were after sunfish and crappies. Most of the fish we found were in 20 to 24 feet of water and they were scattered.

After all the walking and drilling, I was too exhausted to fish on Sunday. I just stayed put in the cabin watching the birds at the feeders and anglers on the ice.

Don't forget the Youth Fishing Clinic on February 18.

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