It is that time of year where most of the hunting seasons are coming to an end and the weather is starting to get cold. Christmas was only a week ago and it has been freezing cold for the past week and a half so the hopes of the lakes and rivers making good ice are good. So that means ICE FISHING season is here. I look forward to this just as much as opening day of duck season. So it was a couple weeks before Christmas when I got a call from Mike Adams and during the conversation ice fishing was one of the topics. Well we made plans to go out Sat. morning and check ice conditions to see how soon we would be out ice fishing. So after the phone call ended thoughts of fishing were bouncing in my head. When I tell ya it is like an opening day of a hunting season I was not fooling around. After I would get out of work me and my sons would sit down and go through all of my fishing stuff to make sure everything was in working order. It was over kill for first ice but I figured while I was pulling everything out I might as well get everything set. I take the bare minimum with me when I fish first ice. First ice can be the most unpredictable of the season. Also if I need to get off the ice quick I don’t have a lot of gear to get off the ice. So Friday night came and Mike called to setup the plan of attack we decided the plan was 8ish at the Up North Journal cabin and we would head over to one of our little fishing spots. Well 8 o’clock couldn’t get here quick enough. I went through my fishing stuff one last time before bed and then it was time to catch a little sleep before fishing.
Well Saturday morning was here and I arose out of bed because it was my opening day of ice fishing season. The only thing that I didn’t do was spray my clothes down with my Dead Down Wind sprays. So everything was in the car and off to the Adams’s house I went. When I got to the house I greeted Mike with a Hello and I think with the smile on my face he knew I was ready to fish. We loaded up all of his gear into the car and we were off. We stopped by Mc D’s to grab a coffee and a quick bit to eat and we finalized our game plan. A quick trip over to one of the many lakes in the area just to see if anybody was out and sure enough there was shanties out on the lake so we knew the ice was good in the area. So we headed over to one of the lakes that we like to fish. As we pulled up to the parking area we had seen a couple of shanties out on that lake. That got me more excited so much I forgot to grab the bait and had to go back and get it. We loaded up the bucket and grabbed the auger and we were off. As we were headed out a couple of anglers were headed in and we asked how the bite was and we were told that it was good if you like little ones. Well I love catching the big boys but I can get just as excited about catching the little ones too. Especially if you are in the mood to just catch and release then it doesn’t really matter the size when you are catching fish. So as we were walking to the lake I don’t know if Mike seen it but I was acting like a kid on Christmas morning, I couldn’t get on the ice quick enough. As we hit the ice it was as if all of the stress of the world just lifted and all that mattered was being outdoors and sharing stories with a good friend. As we were making our way across the lake you could hear the ice making noises as new ice is forming. I am not going to lie it does shoot a shiver up my spine when I am walking and the ice pops and cracks. What did bring a smile to my face was when Mike danced a little jig as the ice popped underneath us. But as we got settled and drilled the first hole I remembered that the bait was still in the car. So I headed off to the car to get the bait and to grab my Hat with Flaps. As I got back to our spot Mike had another hole drilled and we were fishing. We fished that spot for about 20 min with no luck so Mike and I talked about moving more in the middle of the lake where him and I have had luck in the past. We packed up the gear and off to the next spot. When we got to the spot there was all ready a hole that had been drilled by someone earlier in the morning so Mike let me use that one and he punched a hole for him and we were fishing again. Well this was the spot because it wasn’t 5 minutes and I had the first fish thru the ice. It looked more like a minnow but hey it was a fish and it was on my line so it counted. After a little teasing by Mike back in the hole it went. Well it wasn’t to much longer when there was a tug on the line and up thru the hole came another fish. This time it was a lot bigger. Not a huge fish by any means but it was a big enough for me to eat. As the morning went on and we spent about 3 hours out on the ice I managed to catch 6 fish all together brought 4 home and had a great time swapping stories with a good friend. So we packed up the gear and headed back to the car we compared notes on the day’s activity and we were still surprised that we were able to get out fishing before Christmas. After I dropped Mike off at his house I knew that when I get home one of my other fishing buddies would be asking a ton of questions. Well he did not disappoint because once I got home that was when the real fun started. My oldest son was waiting by the door and the first question out of his mouth was any fish. He could tell by the smile on my face that there was fish to be cleaned. He grabbed a chair from the kitchen table and slid it up to the sink where the 4 bluegill were at. As he climbed up to the sink his eyes were as big as silver dollars and he was all excited he got to help with the fish. The biggest one out of the bunch was still alive so as the sink filled with water the fish was swimming around and splashed my son a couple of time which he thought was funny. It was funny until he went to grab the fish and one of the fins poked him in the hand. At that point it was enough of playing with the fish so he got down and watched as I filleted the fish and he helped get the crackers and milk together so we could fry up the days catch. So after eating and cleaning up it was back to getting ready for Christmas and the weekend. Even if it just for a few hours a week, make sure to get outdoors and let your mind clear of all of the stuff. It does a body good.
I want to wish everybody out there a Happy New Year. Remember to take someone new out and show them the Great Outdoors. Have a Great Day.