Hi Folks, I have been getting after it on the hard water with guests. I like mixing up locations and species pursued. It is where the portable shanty is awful handy. The last week had been in pursuit of northern pike and yellow perch.  The lakes where I have been pike fishing have a solid 12-14” of black ice covered by 4-6” of snow pack. The trout lake I visited yesterday had a solid 6” of black ice covered by 8” of snow pack. The yellow perch fishing has been good. Small Hali jigs tipped with maggots and strips of cut bait worked a turn to two turns off the bottom have garnered interest. We have been locating perch over grass beds in 10-15’ of water. The perch we caught yesterday were in deeper water over a hard bottom about 20’ down. We did land several perch on tip ups that were set in deep water just under the ice. The pike fishing was decent the last week, just no big fish.  Having some success getting northerns to eat dead baits suspended off the bottom. Yesterday was my first foray trout fishing this season. A lot of the trout lakes are big bodies of water with wind influence and varying depth. The ice does not form as quickly as it does on some of the featureless shallow pike lakes I venture onto to. We jigged up smelt in 15’ of water. They were holding 5 turns off the bottom. A small blue/silver and green/gold Hali jig tipped with maggots caught the smelt. The smelt bite really turned on towards dusk. The fish of the day was a hefty Brown Trout that ate a pin head minnow or small Emerald Shiner set on a tip up. The trout took the bait 5’ under the ice in deep water off a saddle between a big underwater hump and point. The fish took a lot of line. It is always exciting to see a big fish as it comes to the hole. Most decent fish are lost at the hole. It is important when bringing a fish through the hole to commit and get the head turned up and pull. We landed the big male took some photos and returned him to the depths. I am off to pike fish this morning. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy