Author Topic: Merritt or Big Alkali?  (Read 864 times)

Offline schie03

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Merritt or Big Alkali?
« on: Jan 18, 2022, 02:32 PM »
Taking the wife to fish the Valentine area this weekend and planning on hitting the refuge a day or two and also trying either Merritt or Big Alkali.  I have never fished either of those and looking for recommendations or pointers. I know the Merritt tourney is next weekend so wasn't sure if it will be packed with pre fishing.   I will also mention we'll be walking in.  Any info would help thanks!

Offline Sandbilly

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Re: Merritt or Big Alkali?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 19, 2022, 09:14 AM »
Big Alkali if targeting pike. Merritt for general fishing. Both lakes have been kicking out some impressive crappie this winter but a much higher density of sport fish in Merritt.

Only 3 groups on Merritt last weekend so don't think overcrowding will be an issue. Most of the tourney prefishing will occur on the 27th & 28th.

With no snow and glass ice conditions, walking is nonrestrictive unless of health problems or an overloaded sled.  :) Good pair of cleats is a must.

IMO one of the greatest rewards in ice fishing is breaking down new water. The sense of achievement one gets by figure it out and sticking fish in unfamiliar territory is just plain fun. My advice is don't get overwhelmed with the entire system. Take a section of the lake and break it down. Sandhill lakes like Big Alkali are pretty simple. Eventually you will find a contour depth fish are running or feeding area they use. Sometimes it takes a lot of holes. Merritt is more complex due to forage availability, expansive structure opportunities and vast water column. Most first timers stick to the Boardman Arm of Merritt because it is a smaller playing field and has several access points. Powderhorn Arm is also a smaller area but it does have active springs throughout that stretch of the lake so ice conditions will vary. Enjoy the Sandhills!           

   

Offline schie03

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Re: Merritt or Big Alkali?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 19, 2022, 11:13 AM »
Thanks for the info Sandbilly!

I have always wanted to try Merritt since moving back to Nebraska from Montana :'(.  Big water like Merritt tends to get me over thinking it pulling me in different directions since most lakes I fish are under 500 acres.  Super happy to hear there is no snow!

I completely agree with your take on new water also.  No better feeling than when it all comes together!

 



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