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Ice Fishing
Tough Winter by Dennis Foster

Not trying sound negative-because nothing related to fishing ever should be-but this winter has basically sucked, as far as ice fishing is concerned. Yes, there have been some sporadic success stories, but as a whole, the entire process has been more than just a little difficult to even attempt-let alone accomplish any consistent level of success.

Successive weather fronts and all the resulting snow has made access all but impossible across much of the region. Even if you can get on the lakes, the amount of snow covering them makes the actual act of fishing an endeavor. Once you pop a hole-due to the weight of the snow compared to the thickness of the ice below-water is going to inevitably come topside and make a considerable mess. Hard to even walk around in this slippery quagmire, let alone fish in a normal and relaxing manner.

Tip ups are quickly immersed in water and apt to freeze down. If you remove any amount of snow, this just compounds the problem, as you become closer to actual ice, and the water that is on top of it.

Dennis FosterPermanent shacks are proving to be more of a headache than they the comfort they can provide, as you would be lucky to get one out on the ice, let alone get it back. God forbid you let one sit a few days and one of these weekly wonder fronts comes through and dumps more snow. Most likely would need the assistance of a blower or blade equipped tractor. Always a risk of them freezing down when left out as well.

Portables shelters are even proving to be an adventure, as you donít dare put them on solid ice for the reasons mentioned above. Becomes a balancing act as you have to set them on top of a significant amount of snow to try and prevent the above mentioned water issues. After awhile they want to settle in and become a bit tippy, with the added benefit of water coming up through your fishing holes making for a foot rest the consistency of a snow cone in AugustÖand putting the waterproofing of your boots to a serious test.

Havenít even mentioned the getting stuck with a pickup factor. This can amount to more than just being mired in the snow, as slush can compounded the situation. If you have never run headlong right into a slush pocket, I can tell you it is hair-raising at the least- and a good way to evaluate the absorbency of your underpants. Well enough with the pessimism. They are brighter days ahead, as we are charging right into the late ice period.

With that we can expect some improvement in not only the bite, but our ability to get to the fish. With all the snow we have, warming days will cause the snow to shrink and some runoff will start to slide down the shorelines below the drifts and under the ice. This will draw the fish directly into this zone and within easy walking distance for us, perhaps only 10 or 20 yards out in many cases.

Beauty of this is that some of the best spots are found along park areas with swimming beaches and boat ramps with plowed roads. Thus, we only need to tote a minimal amount of gear (being it is warmer) a very short distance. About as easy, comfortable, and most likely successful fishing we will see this season. Give it an honest couple of parting shots and you just may make up for an otherwise uneventful ice fishing season.


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