Hi Folks, Back on the hardwater! What a crazy start to winter. Lots of early snow and cold temperatures. Then in a few days, everything went to “Hell in Handbasket.” Still a select few bodies of water have safe ice. The smaller lakes and ponds that are not  very deep, might be at higher elevation, lack significant drop offs, and don’t have big turnovers in fall and spring tend to freeze first. Warm water ponds that hold bass, pickerel, pike, pan fish, and perch tend to freeze quickly. I have found 5” to 6” of safe black ice. We have been fishing in 5’ to 8’ of water. Safety gear is a must. Picks of life around the neck, rope, and the buddy system are all good measures when early season ice fishing. My guest caught a nice female northern pike today. I caught a mess of small yellow perch for bait. The big hen fish ate a wounded perch under tip-up in 6’ of water. We had 3 other flags without fish. I suspect large perch were attempting to eat our golden shiners we had set for Northen. We had pretty good success jigging for perch. However, we struggled to land any big yellow belly perch.  It appears that winter is returning this weekend. Will be nice to expand the repetoire as more lakes and ponds freeze. Remember to clean your gear and keep the non-native species at home. Have Fun, Willy