John Hageman sent me this email today. Good Luck If you go, and HANG A HOG!!!!!!!!!!!! Last weekend the ice season kicked off in earnest, with lots of activity both at Put-in-Bay and off the Ohio mainland launches. Ice thickness in the Put-in-Bay fishing grounds now average 11 inches. Anglers are also off the mainland near Catawba and Marblehead, where ice thickness Saturday reportedly ranged from 1" to 12". Unfortunately, a slug of turbid water has engulfed the region effectively shutting off the bite, which had previously been excellent. With less than 1 foot water transparency, the fish, which according to the electronics are still present in good numbers, have been spooky and reluctant to bite. However, whenever the water clears up to as little as 2 foot clarity, the fish respond with a mid-day feeding binge, often between 12 noon and 2pm, as was the case Saturday. Limits were very common off the mainland up until Saturday, then slowed considerably since, dominated by some barely 15" fish, with many undersized fish released. Bigger ones are also showing up in the creel, with one over 11 lbs caught Monday near Rattlesnake Island. Saturday, my 8 fishermen had about 20 bites but only 7 walleyes were landed. Two exceeding the 15 inch minimum size limit, including a 23" and an almost 7lb, 26 1/4"er. The water got more stained Sunday and catches plummeted both around Put-in-Bay and off the mainland and has remained slow since. Based upon the numbers of fish marked on the electronics and the improvement in catch rates that has followed each time the water has cleared, we believe that as soon as the water settles the fishing should again be outstanding. The 7-day forecast would support sustained ice for the next week and beyond, although a slight warm-up is called for on Sunday-Monday (40-44F) . The mainland ice would be most vulnerable to this brief warm spell as it is thinner and less snow-covered. Strong winds should be respected and precautions taken to stay inside any cracks that may widen during the warmer days. Reef and shoal areas should also be given a wide berth. I will send an update next Tuesday, as I'll be in Columbus Wed-Thur. John Hageman, Manager-Stone Laboratory, Assoc. Extension Agent-Ohio Sea Grant and proprietor-Prime Time Ice Fishing 419/285-2029. For additional Put-in-Bay information- Pat Chrysler 419/285-4631, Bud Gehring 419/285-3615, Jim Massie 419/285-2115. Other guides can be found as a link from the Division of Wildlife Weekly Fishing Report (www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/fishing/freport/freport.html). For Airboat transportation, Joe Kostura 419/285-3106. Airplane reservations- Griffing Flying Service 419/626-5161 and Dairy Air 419/285-5057.