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Lakes won't support anglers yet

Scenes like this won't take place this weekend, but certainly will be recreated many times in the upcoming months of cold weather. While waiting for the ice to strengthen, take some time to check out the new products for ice fishing at your local retailer. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

We are definitely close. Not close to cheering for the Vikings playing for diamond laden rings in the Super bowl. Not close to figuring out a way to fend off the anticipated snow without shovels and plows. But think positive, we are close to having enough ice on our lakes to walk upon.

We can focus on the negative; sports (which we can't influence even while screaming at the current game on the television); snow (the inevitable, good thing you have thick calluses for throwing it around with a grain shovel), but ice fishing is one of our winter escapes. That is, so long as we aren't required to clear all of the ice and slush from a lake using a grain shovel.

Currently, there is a thin skin of ice on many of the local lakes. This isn't nearly enough to safely support the weight of an ice angler. Yet a handful of sub-zero nights will push us ahead.

For now, we can entertain ourselves by hanging icicle shaped holiday lights from the frosty eaves or maybe prepare the home-front for arctic weather's certain arrival. One bit of advice, stop at a tackle dealer on the trip into town for those incidental maintenance items you'll need. Peruse the aisles of the dealer and maybe purchase a product or two. The innovative ice fishing gear for this year is yet another step forward in catering to angler demands and creative insight. But remember to cerebrally note those items you desire but have yet to purchase; i.e. the perfect Christmas present!

Now I realize you can't take too much time to look at egocentric items, but really, window-shopping is all right. Maybe you should bring a notepad and pen. Or a pencil and eraser. You never know if you want to upgrade your gift requests as you wander the aisles.

To point you in the right direction, check out these new ice fishing products:

Clam Insulated Bait Buckets: Tired of hauling that five-gallon pail half full of water and 1/16th full of minnows from hole to hole? Relieve some back pressure with a choice of three different bait bucket sizes in ½ gallon, 1¼ gallon and 2 gallon sizes. Oh yeah, they have an insulated outer cover with a mesh pocket to accommodate a tackle box.

Also get your hands on Northland Tackle's new Impulse line of soft plastic baits. Through simultaneous years of research, their biologists have created a bait that outperforms any other scent and flavor fortified plastic by 143 percent. After using them even once, you'll be convinced. They are additionally guaranteed, meaning you can return them for a refund if not satisfied. You simply can't go wrong.

Another product to research is the Double-Vision pack from Vexilar. In essence, this is a Vexilar flasher and Fish Scout underwater camera, joined into a single carrying case for easy and immediate access. Now you have easy portability and access to both types of underwater vision available at your fingertips.