Sunday, February 5, 2012

February...or is it?

My companions for the day, David Bowles, Brian Bowles, and Chad Pietig all had hopes of finding some good, "safe" ice in the Marshalltown area.  Well, as I often say there really is no "safe" ice, and today was definitely a day that required a lot of attention to safety. 

We started our travels south to Rock Creek.  We checked the east side of the lake, and saw nothing that we could even take one step on without breaking through.  Then we set out for the west side of the lake, same thing.  Rotten ice that couldn't support a small mammal, let alone 4 grown boys!  After a bit of disbelief, some unkind words towards Mother Nature, and we were off to try lake #2 for the day.

Did I mention that it was a blizzard at Rock Creek?  Huge snowflakes, as wet as a drop of rain were falling and covering our tracks as fast as we made them.  Again, more negatives were said about Mother Nature!

As we started our way north, back up to highway 30 to head west to Hickroy Grove, I pulled up on my trusty BlackBerry.  It showed the whole southern half of the state covered in a snow storm.  Well, there goes any ice fishing to the south for the rest of the year.  We could always go to northern Iowa to ice fish, but in the beginning of February...are you kidding me???  With every mile we drove north, the snow seemed to disappear, it was quite a site really.  By the time we got to highway 30, things were all but dry.

We headed to Hickory Grove with high hopes, we were just there six days prior and had a great day catching bluegills.  The ice that day was about seven to eight inches in depth.  The ice couldn't have melted that fast...could it?  The Grove, as we call it did not disappoint, the ice was good in the location we picked, and not a sole was to be found on the lake.  We were the only ones brave enough, or stupid enough, depending how you look at this story to hit the ice this day.  We set up on a brushpile and immediately started catching fish.  All those harsh words towards Mother Nature just melted away after seeing fish after fish show up on the Vexilar screens.

First fish of the day for me, a nice
 Hickory Grove Bluegill.

We ended up hitting three brushpiles this day, two of them really paid off with nice bluegills, and even one of those elusive Hickory Grove Crappies made an appearance.  A great day, and a safe day was had on the 5 inches of "solid" ice that we found.  Keep in mind we had all of our safety gear with us, a plan for an emergency and we were all carrying our common sense cards this afternoon too. 

There are not many days on the ice left, unless Mother Natures blesses us with some real winter weather, and I mean some single-digit, frigid cold.  Come on Mother Nature, you can do it, please!!!

If you are venturing out looking for some ice, please remember to take other people with you, safety ropes, flotation devices and the willingness to say the ice is not safe.  Everyone needs to take EXTREME caution when ice fishing for the rest of the winter season. 

About a dozen nice bluegills will nice a nice
 meal for the Bowles' family.

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