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Author Topic: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions  (Read 3500 times)

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« on: Feb 03, 2018, 09:25 PM »
I'm headed to West Okoboji and Spirit Lake area next weekend and was wondering what the lake conditions were going to be like (ice thickness & snow cover). I have been hearing about anything from quads to trucks going through and was just wondering from some guys who have been on the lakes what to expect. Any information is greatly appreciated...

Tight lines,
Shoney :tipup:

Offline Brownstick

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #1 on: Feb 04, 2018, 08:50 AM »
Been on the bays of WEST only. Ice is 17Ē-18Ē. Snow is packed and easily manageable. No vehicles going through.

Online KinnickResident

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #2 on: Feb 05, 2018, 10:26 AM »
I wouldn't drive on Spirit. That's where the bulk of the people going through are happening. Most of the accesses are junk from heaves and also people chewing the ice up when they come on and off. Long story short, Spirit sucks. Unsafe to drive on and the fishing has been crappy this year. Lots of dink perch and if you're after walleye Silver is by far a better bet and has bigger limits/no slot. In recent years there's no reason to go up Spirit when you have West, Center, East, and Silver to play on with better fishing and safer access.

West on the other hand is totally fine. The ice on Emerson and Triboji is 20" plus, Miller's is the same. There is decent snow cover everywhere but it's packed and I did fine both days this past weekend with a 2WD pickup. Not sure what your experience is on West, but do NOT drive bay to bay unless you're ok with dying. Smith's, Triboji, Emerson, and Miller's all have access you can drive on from, don't risk it. If you want to move get back on land and go to the next spot.

As far as fish, that you'll have to figure out.  ;D  Stop into Stan's and if you spend some cash they'll be more than happy to help you out.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #3 on: Feb 05, 2018, 01:39 PM »
Did they get snow today? We got over 4" in Sioux Center today. That hard pack from yesterday might be a fluffy mess now.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #4 on: Feb 05, 2018, 02:00 PM »
I was wondering about the snow today as well... We're in the process of getting 3-5 inches as we speak here in central Iowa.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #5 on: Feb 05, 2018, 02:06 PM »
Ugh, there is snow 3 more times in the 7 day forecast. Might be tough dragging by next weekend. And its cold too. Last this time ice was melting off.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Online KinnickResident

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #6 on: Feb 05, 2018, 02:10 PM »
Ugh, there is snow 3 more times in the 7 day forecast. Might be tough dragging by next weekend. And its cold too. Last this time ice was melting off.
Anything to keep the trucks and idiot 6 year-olds on quads off the ice :)

I don't know if you use a harness or not but a deer drag was the best thing I ever bought for my ice fishing experience.

Makes the half mile from the Emerson ramp to little Emerson an easy walk.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #7 on: Feb 05, 2018, 02:37 PM »
Anything to keep the trucks and idiot 6 year-olds on quads off the ice :)

I don't know if you use a harness or not but a deer drag was the best thing I ever bought for my ice fishing experience.

Makes the half mile from the Emerson ramp to little Emerson an easy walk.

Or you could just pay the nice people at the church camp $15 to park there.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Online KinnickResident

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #8 on: Feb 05, 2018, 04:17 PM »
Or you could just pay the nice people at the church camp $15 to park there.
I thought they shut that down...

The last time I remember parking there it was $5 in a drop box but they stopped doing it because people weren't paying.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #9 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:33 PM »
You have to stop in the office and buy a hang tag for $15.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #10 on: Feb 06, 2018, 08:12 PM »
Looks like it could snow for the next 3 days.... ugh, this could get a little more interesting than i really wanted for driveability...

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:30 PM »
I got totally stuck on the ice once. Took a long time to dig out because of old crusty snow. We look back and laugh now. Someday you will too.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Online Buckshots

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #12 on: Feb 07, 2018, 07:48 AM »
I wouldn't drive on Spirit. That's where the bulk of the people going through are happening. Most of the accesses are junk from heaves and also people chewing the ice up when they come on and off. Long story short, Spirit sucks. Unsafe to drive on and the fishing has been crappy this year. Lots of dink perch and if you're after walleye Silver is by far a better bet and has bigger limits/no slot. In recent years there's no reason to go up Spirit when you have West, Center, East, and Silver to play on with better fishing and safer access.

West on the other hand is totally fine. The ice on Emerson and Triboji is 20" plus, Miller's is the same. There is decent snow cover everywhere but it's packed and I did fine both days this past weekend with a 2WD pickup. Not sure what your experience is on West, but do NOT drive bay to bay unless you're ok with dying. Smith's, Triboji, Emerson, and Miller's all have access you can drive on from, don't risk it. If you want to move get back on land and go to the next spot.

As far as fish, that you'll have to figure out.  ;D  Stop into Stan's and if you spend some cash they'll be more than happy to help you out.

Whoa! A shout out to Stans! Thatís the best bait shop around. The out of towners always think Kabeles is the place to go... big mistake. The Spirit bite sucks. Has all year. Go to Stans if you want a true report.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #13 on: Feb 07, 2018, 11:42 AM »
The new owner of Stan's has made that shop much nicer. I am very surprised to see that. I really like John and the shop before but now I like Stan's even more. Shucks is great too. Kabele's is ok.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Offline Bryfish84

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #14 on: Feb 07, 2018, 08:08 PM »
I love the okoboji area and our family has a vacation home condo there for summers, but damn are the locals nasty. You can sure tell when they post on forums. Fishing always sucks, stay away 😉

Online Buckshots

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #15 on: Feb 07, 2018, 08:19 PM »
I love the okoboji area and our family has a vacation home condo there for summers, but damn are the locals nasty. You can sure tell when they post on forums. Fishing always sucks, stay away 😉
Disagree. I never said the fishing sucks to stay away. The fishing is great on West and East. Spirit is a Dead Sea. Dont believe me? Go waste a day there. Iím my experience we are all more than happy to help out of towners out here at the IGLs. Just ask. Donít go getting us mixed up with SD residents...

Offline Bryfish84

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #16 on: Feb 07, 2018, 08:28 PM »
Disagree. I never said the fishing sucks to stay away. The fishing is great on West and East. Spirit is a Dead Sea. Dont believe me? Go waste a day there. Iím my experience we are all more than happy to help out of towners out here at the IGLs. Just ask. Donít go getting us mixed up with SD residents...

Lol, sorry to offend. Definitely don't want to group you with SD residents.

Offline Bryfish84

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #17 on: Feb 07, 2018, 08:29 PM »
Disagree. I never said the fishing sucks to stay away. The fishing is great on West and East. Spirit is a Dead Sea. Dont believe me? Go waste a day there. Iím my experience we are all more than happy to help out of towners out here at the IGLs. Just ask. Donít go getting us mixed up with SD residents...
What do you think the reason is for Spirit being down?

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #18 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:05 PM »
Where is Stans located? I definitely want to go check it out!!!

Offline Bryfish84

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #19 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:16 PM »
I believe it's in Milford before you reach the Perkins.

Online Buckshots

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #20 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:21 PM »
What do you think the reason is for Spirit being down?
The lake is so full of shiners and small 5Ē perch that the walleyes are full. It makes them hard to catch. Come prime time, the walleyes will show up and come through just like youíd expect them to but they wonít bite. Some nights they will but not very often. You could sit out there ten evenings without a bite then all of a sudden have a good night. Not worth my time. And there hasnít been a good ice perch bite on Spirit for at least a few years. Kabeles is located out of the way up towards Spirit and the only way the can get business is by saying the bite is good on Spirit and stop in for bait and info. Otherwise itís way out of the way for most people.  Notice how no other bait shops are posting on social media?

Stans is located in Milford just south of the highway 86/71 intersection. Good bait shop and always a busy place.

Offline Mr.Seaguar

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #21 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:33 PM »
The lake is so full of shiners and small 5Ē perch that the walleyes are full. It makes them hard to catch. Come prime time, the walleyes will show up and come through just like youíd expect them to but they wonít bite. Some nights they will but not very often. You could sit out there ten evenings without a bite then all of a sudden have a good night. Not worth my time. And there hasnít been a good ice perch bite on Spirit for at least a few years. Kabeles is located out of the way up towards Spirit and the only way the can get business is by saying the bite is good on Spirit and stop in for bait and info. Otherwise itís way out of the way for most people.  Notice how no other bait shops are posting on social media?

Stans is located in Milford just south of the highway 86/71 intersection. Good bait shop and always a busy place.

Either that or it gets the piss fished out of it every summer because it's easy to fish and there are way fewer pleasure craft. Last winter was a great bite for perch on Spirit.
Every plastics manufacturer claims plastics outfish livebait. So now I use livebait just for the increased challenge.

Online Buckshots

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #22 on: Feb 07, 2018, 09:44 PM »
Not like it was 5 years ago.

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #23 on: Feb 07, 2018, 10:51 PM »
Where is Stans located? I definitely want to go check it out!!!

Wow....never been to Stan's ........one of the better ones.

Here Is how I'd rank the bait shops.

1 Stan's
2 shuck's
3 Kabel's
4 pure fishing
5 Vicks corner

Online KinnickResident

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #24 on: Feb 08, 2018, 09:50 AM »
I love the okoboji area and our family has a vacation home condo there for summers, but damn are the locals nasty. You can sure tell when they post on forums. Fishing always sucks, stay away 😉
I'll concur with Buckshots. Spirit does suck. Unless you talk to one of the Kabele's fanboys :)

The perch bite is good on West with a few walleyes thrown in at night, and the gills are fantastic every year if you work at it. No legit reason to fish Spirit, especially since you can barely drive on it.

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #25 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:40 AM »
Bags are packed and gear is loaded, Thanks for all the good info guys. For the past few years this has been my last trip of the year, with work and life lately, it will be my only trip north this season. Ice has been good in central Iowa this season, but fishing has been TERRIBLE.... So this trip is a little bigger than normal. Thanks again to ALL who weighed in  :)


Tight lines,  :tipup:
Shoney

Offline Bryfish84

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #26 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:54 AM »
Bags are packed and gear is loaded, Thanks for all the good info guys. For the past few years this has been my last trip of the year, with work and life lately, it will be my only trip north this season. Ice has been good in central Iowa this season, but fishing has been TERRIBLE.... So this trip is a little bigger than normal. Thanks again to ALL who weighed in  :)


Tight lines,  :tipup:
Shoney

Beat of luck up there!

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #27 on: Feb 09, 2018, 04:31 PM »
Bags are packed and gear is loaded, Thanks for all the good info guys. For the past few years this has been my last trip of the year, with work and life lately, it will be my only trip north this season. Ice has been good in central Iowa this season, but fishing has been TERRIBLE.... So this trip is a little bigger than normal. Thanks again to ALL who weighed in  :)


Tight lines,  :tipup:
Shoney

Good luck. What are you targeting?

Offline Shack man Shoney

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #28 on: Feb 12, 2018, 08:27 PM »
Got home today from my IGL trip, and my luck continues this this year, but I will give a short report anyway. I went with a few other guys targeting mostly Perch and Walleyes (we also tried yellow bass and Gills/Crappies) We fished hard Friday, Saturday and Sunday on East and West Okoboji, Big Spirit and even tried a few hours on Silver Lake. Fishing was tough as we saw a lot of fish on camera in Emerson and Miller bays but only managed a few keepers. Final tally for me was a dozen Perch (1 keeper) and a dozen Yellows (all dinks) and (1) 4" walleye. Like I mentioned we saw lots of quality fish on Camera but 99% had a vicious case of Lock jaw!!! I threw everything in every different color I had in the tackle box at em, and tipped with spikes, waxies and minnows... Still no takers.  I still had a good time with the guys who made the trip. Despite our poor showing some people did OK according to the guys at Stans (sounded like mostly on yellow bass on East O). I will be back next year hopefully we get a better bite and size then. Thanks again to all!!!

Tight lines,
Shoney  :tipup:

Offline Agronomist_at_IA

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Re: Okoboji and Spirit lake conditions
« Reply #29 on: Feb 12, 2018, 08:44 PM »
Got home today from my IGL trip, and my luck continues this this year, but I will give a short report anyway. I went with a few other guys targeting mostly Perch and Walleyes (we also tried yellow bass and Gills/Crappies) We fished hard Friday, Saturday and Sunday on East and West Okoboji, Big Spirit and even tried a few hours on Silver Lake. Fishing was tough as we saw a lot of fish on camera in Emerson and Miller bays but only managed a few keepers. Final tally for me was a dozen Perch (1 keeper) and a dozen Yellows (all dinks) and (1) 4" walleye. Like I mentioned we saw lots of quality fish on Camera but 99% had a vicious case of Lock jaw!!! I threw everything in every different color I had in the tackle box at em, and tipped with spikes, waxies and minnows... Still no takers.  I still had a good time with the guys who made the trip. Despite our poor showing some people did OK according to the guys at Stans (sounded like mostly on yellow bass on East O). I will be back next year hopefully we get a better bite and size then. Thanks again to all!!!

Tight lines,
Shoney  :tipup:

Shoney,

It's a tuff body of water don't feel bad. Just a question. When you were fishing what kinda line did you have on? Also, what were u using for a jig. Just interested, because when I used a small tungsten mooska jig and clear 3lb line it made a huge difference. After seeing it on camera......all my rods open water and ice get clear line now.

I also gotta ask about silver.....I've only ice fished it once in all my years. Besides the two small points and the Island it's a pretty bowl shaped type of lake. We've done pretty well open water on it trolling for walleye and have got a few good sized fish out of it & lots of eaters mixed in with a few nice perch and crappie. I've thought about trying it on the ice.....but I'm afraid it take a lot of drilling and moving to find much.

Also, how was the snow? Did you see many full sized trucks and wheel houses. I've been planing on taking the ice castle over but haven't gotten over there yet.

 



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