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jerkin'm

Nebraska Ice Fishing?

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Anyone know anything about the hot panfishing? Will be headed through next weekend and wonder if it is worth a stop for a few quick hours of fishing? Headed across I-80. Any info appreciated.

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if you can find safe ice...good luck...go for it. there is a NICE fishing lake up on West Center Road and 166th st. I dunno what the name of it is but it is killer for crappie and smallmouth in the summer. I went to college in Omaha, NE. Made the best out of it, not much good fishing down there.

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I've been fishing southeast Nebraska's small lakes & farmponds this month. Our supercold temperatures didn't come until after a couple of snow dumps, so there's plenty of slush on top of good ice in the eastern third of the state.

We've been catching bluegill, bass, & crappie. Size depends upon the body of water.

If you're going to be driving I-80 between Grand Island and Ogallala, you may want to try some of the sandpits (public) that are along the hiway. Again, the species & size depends upon which puddle you're fishing.

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I live on the Lake Zorinsky, the one kodiak is talking about. I fish there everyday in the summer and I know there are no smallmouth. The best fishing all year is during November for largemouth and walleye. I've only been on the ice few times this year on Zorinsky but some guy caught a very large walleye and everyone can catch catfish. There are some decent crappie but the smaller outnumber the large 100 to 1.

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I was thinking the sandpits along I-80 as you mention eyewinder. Any helpful info in choosing one over another? If you don't want to give anything away(which I can't blame you) e-mail me. Thanks-

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I don't know anything good enough to be secretive about it. I fished the I-80 lakes when I was younger and lived in that part of the state. If I were doing as you are planning, and fishing them cold (if you'll excuse the expression), I would fish the ones where other fishermen are fishing.

The bigger lake at the Minden interchange is stocked with catch & release trout, so there are almost always fishermen there.

I don't have any real interest in stocker trout, so I would hit & run, using the Vexilar, one rod rigged with a jig & waxworm, and the other a deadstick with a minnow. I'd fish one interchange to the next until I found fish that interested me.

I believe there are several I-80 lakes between North Platte & Ogallala that have decent-sized panfish, if you can find them.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Without a doubt......NAP KILLZONE.  Shoot great and really drop the hammer when they connect with a deer.
    • Another win for the icefishinnut  with 323 pts. For win number 3 in the year.😀 2--Fishing_Novice             311 3--Juneau4                         292 4--BlackLundProV             283 5--Rip_Some_Lip               267 6--huckfin                           247 7--mnwildman                   239 8--rl_sd                                208 9--Swiveldigger                  80 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Season totals 1--Fishing_Novice                   7811 2--Juneau4                               7658                   The score in the top three are getting closer and with the ROVEL and Dega --🤔 3--BlackLundProV                   7654 4--huckfin                                 7485 5--icefishinnut                         7398 6--Rip_Some_Lip                     7384 7--mnwildman                         7265 8--Swiveldigger                        6971 9--rl_sd                                      6623   Good luck with the guesses this week. ( except for the  Fishing_Novice!😁 BlackLundProV could back off a Little too.😁   Good Luck in the mess this Week.
    • Sounds like a great trip and a really fun experience, congratulations! Thanks for all the pictures and sharing your story. I know that's a lot of work and it is much appreciated.
    • At this point we had one full day and one morning left to hunt.  No more elk moved into the drainage behind camp.  By some miracle a cow and spike did come back to the hillside we had elk on that first evening, but neither Dad or I could get in position quick enough before they went back over the fence.     All added up we had 2 very good opportunities, and one decent, which by our standards and past experience in general OTC type units was a pretty decent week of elk hunting even though no elk were killed.  We learned a lot about the unit and a potential better way to access the landlocked area behind us via a possible easement logging road, but we have to confirm that with the forest service at a later date.       You might be wondering what happened with our whitetail tags.   We had numerous run-ins with deer on an almost daily basis.  There were at least three occasions where does would feed right into camp, and it got to a point I kept my bow in the cook shack to try to shoot out of it as a blind.  They never stuck around long enough though to actually get a shot off.      Dad sat his tree stand a number of times above camp as he came down at sunset with enough time to sit in a tree for a half hour or so, but the deer always seemed to pass through the spots he could not shoot or see.  One time he climbed down to two deer staring at him from within range, he just did not see them coming...   Almost every evening we walked down the road behind camp we would kick up a deer or two bedding in the quakeys, but as the week progressed they clearly became more skittish of us.  I also tried hunting back down the gravel road and found some good spots where they crossed the road and creek, which if I actually focused on sitting over with a treestand I feel I could have shot a deer, but I wanted an elk more...        Our Elk B tags are good through rifle season, as are the deer tags.  If the stars align and my wife allows I might make a run back out.  I have an acquaintance in the area that I am checking with to see if he might be interested.       I hope Scoot and ArcherySniper come back to report better luck on their hunts.  
    • It rained that night, and the next morning we went up high to glass back where we left the elk.  They seem to have never left the cut we saw them bed in.       Some interesting low clouds.   It rained all afternoon, but the forecast said it would clear a couple hours before sunset.   We observed snow on the high peaks in the distance.        Once the rain stopped and the skies looked clear we went back to see if we could finally shoot an elk.  We worked the wind back up to where we had last sat so we see the elk and still move down to intercept if they came down for water/feed.   The elk were still up high, but shifted left a couple cuts.  We were now close enough to confirm that the bull was in fact a smallish 6 point.       We waited a long time watching the cows get up to feed and then bed down again repeatedly.  As sunset neared the lead cow looked ready to commit to coming down.  Our plan was to run down fast to intercept, watching as we fast-walked down to the bottom.   It was clear now the elk were following the left most ridge, and moving quite fast, they definitely wanted to get to the bottom for the good creek water and green grass!      The plan was I would run ahead to intercept as I could get their faster.  I knew the place they were going, having scouted it earlier in the week.  It was a perfect funnel.  The cows went behind the narrow ridge they were following, but the bull stayed high watching the drainage.  I managed to get up through the saplings quietly and in position, and could see the bull up high, and the cows feeding and walking right to me on a string!      Unfortunately behind me I heard a loud stick break.  The bull did too and was pacing back and forth rapidly trying to figure out what was below him...  I could see my dad standing in the creek bottom.   I adjusted my position, the cows were coming closer, I ranged for shot options, they would pass within 40yd and the bull might walk right over me...    The bull unfortunately had had enough.  He swooped down to the cows and herded them back up the hill...  The cows had no clue what was going on, but the bull clearly was not stupid.   After waiting until it was close to dark I picked my way back down to my dad, who was standing on the cattle trail we had gone up previously.  It turned out that he tripped over a downfall fell badly.   He was not hurt, but he thought the bull could not see him, but I had a better view from above as to what was going on.  Those elk were not seen again for the rest of the hunt.    
    • Unfortunately the weather turned bad on us and it rained over night, I forget if it was day four or five.   In any case a cloud system rolled in and low cloud ceiling filled the drainage behind camp.        We went up the front side of the area hoping elk would be out there to get out of the clouds.  It was extremely windy now as well.  I went high back where I saw the spike days earlier and was glassing back up the drainage when I saw a bull and three cows in the wide open up high!   I considered running down the cut between us to try to intercept in the creek bottom below, but did not want to risk bumping these elk when they were the only elk in the entire drainage!     Dad sidehilled across to join me, followed by a herd of mule deer does...      Selfie with cloud covered hills.        We watched where the elk bedded and decided to ambush them in the evening.  We decided to drive out to town to hit the grocery store so Dad could have more fresh food and not have to resort to eating what I brought.  The cloud system over the area did not look good from below at all...     That evening we went to the hill the elk were on in the morning so we could see where they were bedded.  The clouds were so thick now in the drainage we could not see up to where the elk were.  It was very windy and cold. The elk never showed up.  We left before sunset.     Another selfie in the clouds, so cold and windy I had to break out the facemask and extra layers while hunkering down behind a blowdown.      
    • I told my dad that he should not follow me up that hill, it might kill him.  He did not take me seriously...  He followed anyway.  We left camp very early as it was a long walk up the drainage, and I wanted to be on top before the elk, but I still needed daylight to get up the dangerous last 700ft.     Sunrise behind me on the way up:   I made it to the top and set up in the rock outcropping.  Time passed, Dad was nowhere to be seen behind me.  I saw a group of elk below me in the next drainage, a nice bull and what might have been the cows/calves I was seeing on the spine the previous days...     I waited, and waited, and saw lots of fresh tracks in the dirt.  Dad showed up, still no elk up high...  We waited until about 10am, long past when they had passed through the other times.  The elk below us bedded and a satellite bull moved in on them.  Another bull was bugling to the one below us, and we heard one lone bugle to the right.   We had no intention of going down to try to shoot one, because if we did it would be a nightmare for us to get the meat out again.        We gave up and picked our way back down the chute and all the way to camp.  After doing this walk two days in a row my feet hurt like hell and I was beat.  I would not be able to do it again a third day in a row.     
    • I think it was the third morning when I walked back up the big drainage behind camp to get a good look on the ground for elk sign.  On the way I saw more elk way up on the spine of the drainage.  Lots more elk sign in the back cuts.  It was clear this area held a lot of elk during the summer, but they got busted out by hunters during the early part of the season.    I decided I was going to get a closer look at the potential trail to the top of the drainage spine.  I am a rock climber, so heights don't bother me so much.  I was more concerned about footing and if my dad could get up there, and if I did shoot one how would I get it down...   The top of the spine where I was targeting was 1600ft above camp, the last chute is about 700ft alone and very steep.   I slowly picked my way up the chute, sweating profusely in the sun, but was rewarded at the top.    The view back to camp:   The view down the back side, one square mile of almost entirely private landlocked national forest.       The elk highway along the spine that I was seeing elk use, and was covered in fresh tracks.       The elk trail at the top funnel together at a rock outcropping that I knew I had to use as a blind. If I shot an elk up here it would have to be at the very top, because hauling meat down the hill behind me was bad enough, but I did not want to have to haul any up the hill either as it was just as steep on the other side!   I made plans to come back early the next morning and kill an elk at this spot.   That evening I sat on the other hill we had been hunting more consistently, and watched the herd of elk taunting us from a far off ridge.  Here is one of the small satellite bulls.    
    • Dad had seen a black bear below him that first morning, and when I walked down the next day with him I was able to snap some photos in the early light with my bigger camera.  They are grainy, but it looked like a nice bear to me.  We did not have a tag.     Herd of elk way out on private range land:   Interesting spider:
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