By Nat Wexler | Photo courtesy of Twin Cities Snobear
When the weather gets cold, true fishermen know that’s no reason to give up on the sport. Winter simply ushers in a new angling season: ice fishing. We recently caught up with local fishing guide Scott Dillion to talk about his experiences ice fishing on Geneva Lake, his best tips and tricks, and what’s new for winter 2023.
ATL: How long have you been ice fishing?
Scott Dillion: Since I was a kid!
ATL: What should people know about ice fishing versus soft-water fishing?
SD: Once the ice is on the lake, the fish are in an aquarium-like enclosure since no outside factors are coming into the lake once it is frozen. This limits the fish’s food sources. Ice fishing gives them alternatives, which makes it fun.
ATL: What are some of your best fishing catches?
SD: The best catches, and the fish you will mostly catch in this part of the state, are the walleyes, panfish and Northern Pike. I have caught some pretty big walleye, in the 30- to 35-inch range.
ATL: What tips are you willing to share with our readers?
SD: Always watching the depth of the ice, is a major one. We have had some issues in previous years where people are going out, and the ice is never frozen uniformly on this lake. I think there are 13 or 14 springs that feed this lake. So when you get around the areas where the springs are, the ice can be much thinner. It’s just very important to be careful out there because the depth of the ice can range.
ATL: What is new for you for winter 2023?
SD: The SnoBear [a fully enclosed vehicle designed specifically for ice fishing] is the newest thing for the business this winter; it just totally changes ice fishing to something more enjoyable than being exposed to the elements. The only time you get cold is when you go outside the vehicle. Otherwise, when you’re in the SnoBear, you can set the temperature, listen to your favorite music, and enjoy your favorite beverage on comfortable seating. One of the nice things about the SnoBear is that you can move it around a lot. The more locations that you can try, the more you increase your chances of catching fish, which is really helpful. I can’t wait to get my clients out in it.