PWT fishermen come back to town
Written by The Daily Minning Gazette   
Monday, 27 December 2004 10:29
They say the best place to start ice fishing is where you caught fish during the summer and fall. They also say that first ice is the hottest bite all winter.

?"They" in this case are ice fishermen, fisheries biologists and professional fishermen. They also say things like "collapsed submergent vegetation," and "points, pinnacles, humps, bumps, holes, shoals, reefs" and other words denoting strategic bottom structure and prime walleye hangouts.

If these key words aren't terms of endearment to you, read no further. The 2005 Walleye Pros Ice Fishing School in Houghton, January 9-12, probably isn't for you. The popular school has been a sell-out success on Escanaba's Bays de Noc in past years. This is the first time it has been held in the Keweenaw.

"With the reception we enjoyed during the past two PWT Championships in Houghton, we wanted to move the ice fishing school here to see if we can track down the winter bite," walleye pro(fessor) Mark Martin said.

While some people think ice fishing is like watching paint dry, professor Martin is pumped about it. Whether you're in his boat or sharing his ice fishing shanty, his enthusiasm is contagious. Same goes for fellow PWT pros Mike Gofron, Mark Brumbaugh and Ross Grothe, all instructors at the school.

Their business is teaching beginners to catch fish and helping good fishermen become better fishermen.

Where you fished by boat last summer, you're now approaching by snowmobile and ATV. It looks different and feels different. You've gone from walleye chop to walking on water, but GPS waypoints don't lie. Here you are.

As you drill through a foot of ice, you wonder if the fish are still here ... Do they spend the winter in the same areas they were last summer?

I've worked enough of these events and seminars to know these guys have good answers to your questions. They're teaching pros. They love their jobs and sharing what they know. They're smart, articulate and easy to talk to.

There will be an ice fishing seminar, free and open to the public, in the Superior Room, high atop the Best Western Franklin Square Inn at 7 pm Sunday, Jan. 9. Any remaining openings to the school will be sold at that time.

Ice Fishing School clinics, seminars and product demonstrations take place at the hotel Jan. 10-12, during breakfast and dinner, with hands-on instruction on the ice. Breakfast sessions begin at 6:30 am, with departure for the ice by 8 am. Dinner sessions will be held at 7 pm.

"Everything you ever wanted to know about ice fishing," taught by PWT pros who fished these waters hard during the In-Fisherman/Professional Walleye Trail Mercury Championship back in September. And the September before that.

"They've fished these waters hard, now they're coming back to fish these hard waters," said Gary Lubinski, Franklin Square Inn, host and event organizer.

"They'll be bringing their GPS coordinates with them," he added, "Not to mention all the latest ice augers, underwater cameras, sonar, and fish-catching electronics and technology for you to play with."

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