Saturday was cold… really cold. Temperatures on the ice were below zero and the third hour of not catching fish led us into conversations and a quantity of cold beers I could never have imagined. Ice fishing has a way of helping bond friendships. Sitting in a 6 ft. x 6 ft. popup shack is more entertaining than one would imagine. A flag can, and eventually will pop up at any moment, so dozing off isn’t a valid option. And being in such close proximity keeps it lively. If you’re on a semi-trafficked lake, other fisherman will be sure to holler “flag!” from across the lake should they see no activity from your camp after 60 seconds of a tip-up rising – it’s the neighborly Maine way.
Tending traps keeps a guy fairly busy. If one particular spot shows more promising fishing than another, we drill holes closer to that area. Should a certain depth be more successful, we’ll adjust our other lines. Hooked bait also has a way of disappearing via tricky fish and fishing with an empty hook produces few fish. If nothing is working – we’ll adjust everything. If that doesn’t produce fish, we drink more. I can’t say that tends to help us haul in large fish, but the cold at least stay at bay.
Today we throw out 10 traps and test lake depth with a sounder, hovering our shiners 2 feet off bottom. Our goal is to find a perch school or perhaps a few smallmouth bass. Before long, we enjoy a nice fight with a handsome white perch. Hoping this catch is promise of future activity, I drill more holes nearby. The afternoon brings a total of three white perch. As we head home for a small fish fry, I anxiously await my famous recipe. Perhaps I’ll share it with you soon… Cheers!