|The final approach?|
As we unloaded the van I made the rash decision to travel light and not put on my cold weather suit, a decision I would regret within a few hours. It's funny how I always ignore my own advice of over-dressing for the weather and removing pieces as needed. Anyways... feeling lighter and thankful for another on ice shot at the pre-spawn schools of perch, we walked 150yrds out, drilled three holes, and immediately started catching fish. Within the first ten minutes TS and I had landed dozens of good sized perch and a herring each. The bite was fairly consistent all day long with the fish taking anything offered, but the larger fish were still nowhere to be found with the days largest (just under 12") caught by TS.
By mid afternoon the weather conditions had taken their toll on the ice and me. I was chilled to the bone by the constant buffeting of the damp wind and the ice had taken on a granular texture easily scraped away with the tip of a toe. As we packed up and made our way back to the launch area, our escape from the ice was impaired by a stretch of open water and we had to walk a plank to make it safely back to dry land. In the coming weeks there will be those who will stubbornly try to extend the season and I'm sure to hear of a few of them in the news. I'm not actively pursuing a career in death defiance so it's time to say goodbye to ice fishing for another year.
|Just a few holdouts|
Although there were 25% fewer trips than last year, hardwater 2011 was a fantastic success with new areas scouted out, new anglers indoctrinated in the ways of ice, reacquainted with old friends and areas, personal bests attained, information towards new opportunities like salmon and trout through the ice for next year, and most importantly... a reason to love winter!