Under a total lunar eclipse this morning, I set out with fingers crossed, hoping for thick enough ice to fish on at a spot that reportedly just capped this week. Armed with a piece of plywood to stand on (just in case), I was hoping for more than 2 inches to keep me from a watery grave.
The ice bug finally bit me and its poison clouded my thoughts to the extent that I was ready to take the long drive, only hoping that the ice was ready.
When I pulled up to the lake, I was elated to see that it was 95% capped, but a bit uneasy about stepping onto the frozen surface. No holes to be found from previous fish folk, only rocks that had been hurled to check the thickness. It appeared that I would be the first to test the ice fishing this year.
With some hesitation, I took my first step, then another two. No cracking sounds or pings and pangs were heard, so I drilled a test hole and was a bit surprised at how long it took.
Wow, 4 inches already? Granted, this was still pretty close to shore, so I took 30 paces and drilled another. It was slightly thinner, but still very good. New, hard, clear ice to fish from. After another hole, it was game on!
My poles weren't quite ready yet, so I got that all situated while I let the freshly drilled holes "de-spook".
On the ice rod, I rigged a Radical Glow tube with a Nuclear Ant under it. The RG was tipped with a super mealie from the pet store. The NA was left naked. On my second rod (regular spinning rod), I threw on a minnow shaped jig that I got from Wallyworld a year ago and put a minnow on the hook.
First drop with the long rod and a quick hit stole my minnow. When repeated, I met the same results. They were biting quickly and only once. There were many misses before I finally landed one.
The first fish was a 15" rainbow and I slid it back into the hole without a pic. With such fast action at this lake, I was sure to get plenty of photo ops, if warranted. Little did I know that it had been heavily stocked with dinks, just a few weeks before.
I calmed my hands,got the feel for the bite, and finally started hooking about 1/4 of the many bites that came. Tipping with bait wasn't even necessary, so I only tipped when the bite slowed. Just dropping the jig (any jig, big or small) near the bottom, bouncing it around for a few seconds, then pausing was sure to prompt a strike.
Many fish were caught during my stay of a few hours. A conservative guess would be 35+. Most of them looked like this or smaller:
Only a couple were over 15 inches, but I caught those early, when I thought I was going to score big fish all day, so they were released without photo.
But there was one big fish that did hang on to the hook. She really took me for a ride, forcing my rod tip underwater while my reel groaned. A little over 20" and 3lbs, 10oz. Not bad.
She was my third fish on the ice for the day and took an actively jigged pearl CutrBug, no tip.
At around 3:30, I felt the need to check on another water body that was nearby. The light wouldn't last long and I hoped for at least some action there before darkness fell.
Like the first lake, this one also had good clear ice of over 3.5", although there was evidence of previous auger activity there.
First drop was a minnow on a big pearl tube and it never made it to the bottom. The line stopped, but when I lifted, it was a bit heavier than I expected. A 15 inch rainbow had pounced all over it.
After that, it was very slow. My long rod got two series of bites that I missed and a small ratty looking rainbow. Then it got dark and I had to call it a day.
So my first ice trip of the season was a pretty good one. It was great to get out and finally fish some clear ice. Very cool to watch the fish come up. It was even better to see a few of the takes as their silvery sides flashed in and out of view.
Even though I caught a good number of fish, I seriously believe that i missed over 150 bites. All in a day's fun though. It was just a nice day to be out.
Why not go jogging, hit the gym, start a garden or whatever it is that normal humans do? What's so fascinating about these slimy little creatures that live in the water?
Fishing is a bit more to me than a hobby or a sport. It's an essential part of life that helps me connect with the Earth in ways similar to the long-practiced traditions of mankind. Wherever man has had a water source, there has been fishing.
This is a photo of my kitchen blinds, through the bottom of a drinking glass.
Collect Neat Stuff?
Relic Mercantile might have just what you're looking for.
Travis Sylvester, of Travzart.com
Travis Sylvester is a local Utah artist, whom I've known for a few years. His artwork is sensational and he seems to improve with every new piece. He reproduced one of my cutthroat photos in colored pencil and it turned out great. Check out his website and click this pic.
While Googling trout images one day, I stumbled upon some art by A.D. Maddox and became a fan right away. Photos link to her site.