Monday, February 20, 2012

One last time on the ICE...

I have been saying all week that this past Sunday was my last day on the ice for this ice season.  No matter what became of the day, good...bad, or ugly, I was calling it quits for the year.  Well, the day came and went quickly, as most fishing trips do for me.  However, it won't be forgotten that fast. 

This big 'gill hit in about 18 feet of water on top of a brushpile. 
9+ inches
I made arrangements to fish with Don Henry and Mark Anderson.  Don has visited Hickory Grove with me many times, but this was Mark's trip to the lake for the first time.  Mark is no rookie ice angler though, he can fish with the best of them. 

In short, we hit seven different brushpiles by 11:00am, not bad for 4 hours on the ice.  We would have made half that progress without our modern ice fishing tools though.  The GPS took us right to my brushpiles, the gas augers made quick work and we were dropping the Vexilars down twenty to thirty holes in no time.  Almost all the piles gave up some fish, bluegills were abundant this day, as most days are at Hickory Grove.

I really don't know how many fish we caught, but between the three of us we probably had our hands on at least 60 bluegills in the first four hours.  That is an estimate of course, but I would bet it is very close to the actual number.  To say the least it was a fun morning, and I think Mr. Anderson will be back to this lake.

The elusive Hickory Grove Crappie,
an 11-incher on the last day.
Mark had to head back home to Des Moines, but Don and I hit one more pile on our way back to the ramp...same story, the bluegills were cooperative.  After that slowed I said, let's try the other side of the lake for a while.  Don was more than ready, as usual.  We drove around the lake (the middle portion had about 20 acres of open water) and fished the west side.  The first two brushpiles...which are "guaranteed spots" came up with no fish on Vexilars.  Hmmm, well with this being my "last trip", I couldn't go out like this, being defeated at my last "guaranteed spot".  NOPE, that is not me, so we hiked over to my favorite spot on the lake, one that isn't know for a lot of fish, but the ones that are there, are normally bigger than average. 
BINGO, gill, after gill, after gill, and then a nice crappie to "ice" the day.  Now this was the way to end the year.  My last spot was a success and was a nice way to cap an interesting ice season.

The ice at Hickory Grove Lake is still pretty good, if you know where to trek, a lot of the lake would not be considered safe for ice fishing though (let me know if you need pointed in the right direction).  We had our safety gear, took the proper precautions and I had the knowledge of the ice conditions from being there last weekend too.  One last time...welllllll, YES, that was it, the Vexilars are put away, and the rods have been laid to rest until later this year...hopefully Thanksgiving weekend!


  1. Glad you a good, but short, season Todd. Look forward to seeing you soon, tournament season gets underway shortly!

  2. Was a nice last day on the ice. Now it's time to get the Nitro ready for open water.