Friday, March 29, 2013

This time was the last time...PROMISE

The end of the ice fishing season came this past Wednesday (March 27th) for me and a couple of my ice angling friends.  Don Henry, and David Bowles joined me for one last adventure to find solid ice.  A protected pond/lake with trees or located in a valley will hold ice much longer than an area that is out in the middle of nowhere.  I knew of just a pond like this, and communicated with Kent, the land owner.  He didn’t mind at all if we looked around.  As the three of us walked down to the pond we noticed that things looked good, no open water and it appeared solid around the edges.  We came to one side of the pond, and things were not good at all, one step on the ice, and one wet boot as it broke right through.  Time to try the other side…BINGO, walked right out and started testing the ice.  I started to quickly drill holes and measure for thickness and quality.  We were in business for some late afternoon fishing and our smiles were as big as a ten-year olds on Christmas morning!

                We quickly found roaming crappies and bluegills in the deepest water the pond had.  We were sitting in 15-22 feet of water for most of the time.  The fish would come in suspended and we would pick them off as they approved of our baits.  The fish were hungry, they knew spring was coming up, the water temperatures are getting warmer, and the pond water was once again teaming with microscopic life.  Fishing was great, and with every fish we caught we knew to cherish it, as it could be the last one of the year.  Night was approaching, and as the sun started to hide behind the horizon, we knew that time was just about up for the ice fishing season.  We all had a great afternoon/evening of fishing and it will be one to think about until next December.  
The sun has set on another ice fishing season.  December 24th - March 27th, and awesome season on the ice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I lied...

My last blog was supposed to be last ice fishing day, and it was.  Well, until this past Saturday.  I had all my rods put away, everything was packed in the back of the utility room and put away.  It really was, but Mother Nature made me get it back out.  It wasn't my fault.

The recent colder temperatures at night kept the ice in check this past week.  I knew the ice would be suitable for fishing, and I just had to do it. 

Hi, I'm Todd, and I am a fishaholic.

I made a few text messages to get at least one person to go with me, safety first.  It didn't take long to get Don Henry's text message back, he had his things all put away too, but out they came.  We made a quick trip to hopefully find some good ice on a local farm pond.  I was very pleased to see the edges locked up solid as we walked down to the pond.  I knew our chances of fishing that day was going up!

We made it out on the ice, it was solid, about 4-6 inches in depth.  I started popping holes, and Don followed up with the Vexilar checking to see if any fish were out and about roaming.  He found some in about 8-9 feet of water and started fishing.  I kept drilling holes making my way to the deepest part of the pond and then all the way across to the north side.  I was in "exploring" mode to find out about this pond, as I have only been there once before. 

We continued to catch crappie and a few bluegills for the next two hours.  They would come through suspended, or be about two feet under the ice, those were very aggressive.  After catching about 40 panfish, I had the itch to catch some bass.  The last time I was here I caught about an 18-inch bass, or three-plus pounds.  I was eager for another battle with one of those specimens.  I tried a Salmo minnow bait, but no takers, so I switched to a jigging spoon, GAME ON!  I did not hook up to another big one like a few weeks earlier, but did get one that went about 2.5#.  In total I caught about 10 bass that day, a very fun way to end the year.

Don had a great day on the ice too, gills, crappies, bass and a lot of laughs.  Always fun to go ice last time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

One last time on the ice

March 10th was my last day on the ice for the year.  David Bowles and I made the trip to Hickory Grove Lake, because I knew that was our best chance to find good ice.  The lake had plenty of ice, but the problem was the melting ice, and recent rains had about 20 feet of water surrounding the good ice.  The only place we could get onto the ice was by using a fishing dock that was left in the water through the winter months. 
A few keeper bluegills for a meal

We carefully checked the ice, and to no surprise the further we got away from shore, the better the ice was.  We tried three different brushpiles and found some bluegills on all of them, but the bite was pretty slow.    The water was very dirty, again due to the recent rains...not to mention if was raining on us almost the entire time.  The Vexilars preformed flawlessly on this rainy day, which has come to be normal with this product.  There is simply no better piece of electronics out there. It wasn't a great way to end the year, but always fun to get out with a friend, battle nature, and catch some fish.
The last few holes of the 2012-2013 ice fishing year

The next fish I catch will probably be from shore as I check a few ponds as they will thaw out first.  I love ice fishing...but am ready to get out the long poles and catch them on the "soft-water" once again.  So good-bye ice fishing...and bring on the warmer weather.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Still on the ice in March

Ranger and his first fish through the ice
This late in the year (last year I had already caught a fish from shore by now) you have to go where the ice is safe.  Saturday found me joining friend Chad Pietig at Hickory Grove Lake.  He wasn't having any luck when I showed up, and after catching a few green sunfish he decided to try his in-laws farm pond.  I was game and we moved out there.  It's a great little pond, and we caught dozens of gills and a few bass.  A nice day on the ice for sure.

Sunday came around and it was time to get the whole family out on the ice.  The ice had a bit of snow on it, so moving around for the kids wouldn't be too hard for them.  Almost all year long the ice has been like glass, and just wasn't safe for kids to be out there.  I figured this weekend might be the last chance this year to get them out there. 

"Fishing" fun
We had a blast at a friends' farm pond, one we frequent in the summertime often too, but I had never fished it in the winter so I didn't know exactly what to expect.  It didn't take long, and the Vexilar was lit up with red marks, or "fish" as Ranger soon found out.  He was using the Vexilar in no time and knew exactly when the suspended fish came into view.  It was a great time, he caught his first fish through the ice, a nice crappie.  My wife caught her first fish through the ice as well.  I wish she was as hooked on ice fishing as Ranger is!  Most of the time Ranger and little sister played with ice scoop and had a blast watching the fish swim back down the hole. 

An 18+ inch bass to end the day
It was an awesome day, and not because the fish were biting, but the whole family was having a great time in the outdoors!