By MIKE CORN
WILSON LAKE -- Call it two-fisted fishing, the practice of alternately twitching fishing poles in both hands.
Some sort of seating arrangement is preferable, ranging from relatively comfortable lawn chairs to buckets that do double-duty as tackle boxes.
Of course, warm clothing is paramount and a pair of cleats don't hurt at all.
We're talking ice fishing, and the action of late is quite the opposite of the weather that has frozen lakes and other bodies of water.
"There have been some fish being taken," said Wilson Lake fisheries biologist Tommie Berger.
The ice at Wilson is about 8 inches thick, twice what is considered to be safe. And there's sure to be more by week's end, considering the temperatures this week has brought.
That's why coves are hot spots for ice fishing, especially when the temperature moderates and the winds die down.
Anglers taking to the ice have been lucky enough to pull out stripers, white bass, channel catfish "and whatever else they can pull through the ice," Berger said.
At Wilson, a quartet of family and friends joined up on the last day of 2009 for a nice day on the ice.
The temperatures were decent, but still cold, and the stripers were biting.
Among them was Randy Suiter, a Macksville farmer and rancher.
It was the first time he and his father, Bud, had the time to venture out on the ice, so they joined up with John Horner, Larned, and Scott Loomis, Great Bend, for a day of fishing.
While Suiter said the fishing wasn't bad, the sizable stripers laying on the ice suggested the fishing was good indeed. Both Horner and Loomis pulled big stripers from a small hole in the ice.
"Don't give all our secrets away," Suiter said before venturing back out on the ice with a different fishing pole in hand.
Four other hardy souls were on the ice, including Brad Flickinger, Sterling.
He said the southern Kansas lakes are slow to freeze over, so he prefers fishing at Wilson.
Plus, he was hoping for a nice striper from the water a few dozen feet from the shore.
Ice fishing hot spots vary year by year, Berger said, depending on weather conditions. Wilson is sometimes slower to freeze over because of its large size and slightly higher salt content.
This year, the upper reaches of the lake iced over in December, he said, "and they've been hitting it since then."
When the ice reaches safe levels, people flock to the area because often the fishing is best shortly after the ice forms.
While the concept is the same, Berger said ice fishing is more about catching fish than casting about for hours to see where the fish might be.
"If you're stand our there and freeze your behind off, you want to catch something rather than stand for hours and hours and not catch anything," he said.
While Wilson and Waconda are both ice fishing hot spots in the state, even the Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin -- stocked with rainbow trout -- can be a destination for people wanting to head out on the ice.
Tom and Matt Schreck were out on the ice recently, each picking up a limit of trout.
"It's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel," Tom Schreck said of how active the fishing was that day.