Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hard Day on Hard Water

  The weekend's finally here and the return to Little Lake in Cambridge started off with high expectations of further explorations of the lake and it's plentiful pike and panfish. The day started out with temperatures just below freezing and the first bright sunshine we'd seen in more than a week. Tackle Shop, Dodger and I walked onto Little Lake with a slight wind at our back, marvelling at the total absence of anglers, but as we approached the center of the lake the wind increased dramatically, blowing the previous nights snow into miniature white tornadoes.

 It only took a few holes to find a suspended school of crappies. That was the easy part, finding something they wanted to chew on proved to be much more difficult. After more than twenty combinations of jigs and rubber, I finally tempted a 4" crappie into taking the bait. This all took close to an hour, and in that time I'd cleared over 20" of blown snow from the hole. When I turned to check on my set line I had to look twice to locate it as a snow drift had nearly eaten it entirely!
  As much as the severe wind chill was causing problems with tackle changes (I'd lost a glove last week), and the blowing snow choking the hole, I was doing well. Tackle Shop had retreated to his on-ice man cave and with his underwater camera witnessed first hand schools of perch and crappie content being observers. Dodger was becoming adept at scooping slush. After five hours I'd managed one crappie, three small perch and possible frostbite of the finger tips. TS counted a single small perch and Dodger was left wondering if his previous success was just a fluke.

  Just before we packed up, another hardy adventurer walked out and was immediately onto small pike! Welcome to the variables of ice fishing: extremes in conditions, a finicky bite, and of course...location, location, location.

 Tackle Shop just reminded me to mention something of importance that happened this afternoon. Around noon a group wandered out onto the lake for some family fishing. They were friendly and well prepared for the elements (and gave me some gloves) but when they were packing up to leave, one of the children stepped into a 10" hole right up to their upper thigh. Although the ice is thick this time of year always remember it is in a constant state of change and a dunking of any kind can have serious consequences. Always be aware of your surroundings and of others. Luckily the child was unharmed and a warm car less than a minute away.
And be careful on the roads, a fishing trip is no good if you don't get home.

1 comment:

  1. So much more pleasant to fish, when the water in the lake isn't solid.