Hi Folks, Been guiding the hard water for the last week straight. Spending a bit of time chasing trout and smelt. Got sidetracked on Sunday and had some fun catching pike. With all of the cold weather, there is lots of safe ice. On the trout lake I have been fishing there is 8” of solid black ice. Pike fishing we found 17” of ice and actually drove on the hard water. People were driving all over the lake. The smelt fishing has been solid. Lots of action. Chumming in 30’ of water has helped hold schools of smelt under my shanty. We have big catching them on a large Hali Jig in orange and chartreuse and Fire Tiger. I have been tipping the jigs with maggots of a small strip of smelt. The smelt have been hugging the bottom and moving up in the water column at days end. We have been setting our tip ups with the smelt we catch. All of the brown trout landed have taken a smelt on a tip up set just under the ice. Whether the tip ups have been in 5’ or 40’ of water I have placing smelt 1’ to 5’ under the ice. Trout will use the layer of ice to trap bait. Plus the contrast of a struggling bait against the ice In the dark water must be a bonus to hunting predator. Pike fishing was fun. Lots of action and flags to chase. We landed 8 pike on tips ups and jigged up a few nice perch. We set large golden shiners on tips ups above thick weed beds in 6’ to 10’ of water. It was important to place the bait above the weed beds so the northern could locate their prey. Baits down in the weeds did not produce any action. We had a lot of flags where the bait was dropped by a pike. It was a good workout running all over the ice chasing flags. I am off to chase trout today with guests. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy