Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Quick Ice Fishing Stop With My Son

It's been a busy week, and I want to start off by apologizing for a lack of posts over the weekend.  Between family commitments and homework (12 credits online, what was I thinking!) it has been a busy weekend.  I was able to put some boot tracks on the ground towards the end of last week, and it looks like we are still a week or 2 away from the bucks dropping their antlers down in my area.  A few browns have been reported, but most have been small, and the bucks still appear to be packing from what I have seen.

Have you checked out our shed photo contest yet?  We have a couple of great prizes, and that list is growing!  Stay tuned this week as we look to add another great sponsor to our list, along with another prize to add to the pot for the shed contest!  We are excited to pick up this newest sponsor, which adds a little diversity to our sponsors!  As we finalize things with this sponsor we will get information posted here about them and the new prize!

 Yesterday I made a trip north to take a couple of ATVs to the shop for repair.  My youngest son, Jackson (he is 5) has been begging me for a few days to take him ice fishing.  I will have to say, when it comes to the outdoors Jackson is the most enthused and desirous to get out and fish out of all my kids.  The weekend brought bad weather and poor travel conditions, so I made arrangements to drop the bikes off early so that we could get in some fishing on the way home.

I had no trouble getting the little guy out of bed at 5:30 AM!  We loaded up and picked up my grandpa, then hit the road for Richfield.  After completing our tasks and getting some breakfast, we headed back south towards Otter Creek Reservoir.  Otter Creek has had a great ice fishing season this year, and though we have talked about going there several times, things always seem to get in our way.  Today would be a short trip as we needed to get home in time for a basketball game, but it would still be worth it.  We were anxious to see if we could tie into one of those fat, football-shaped rainbow trout that folks were talking about!

We decided to fish a point near the middle of the lake where only one other person was fishing.  The ice looked real good, in recent weeks the shoreline had been melting, but the sub-zero temperatures for the last 4 or 5 days had again formed ice along the edge.  We geared up, and eased out.  The shore ice was obviously thinner for about 2-5 feet of distance, but it did hold us, cracking and settling slightly.  Once on the ice we found ice varying from 14-16" in thickness.  We drilled a few holes and started fishing in about 8-10' of water.  Grandpa was quick to hook up with the first fish of the day, shortly followed by fish for myself and then Jackson.  We thought we had a good thing going, but fishing quickly turned slow.  The highlight for sure was Jackson receiving a tail slap to the face as he tried to pose with one of his catches for the camera!  I wish I would have had the video camera rolling on that one instead of the still shot.

We were able to land a few more fish, not a horrible day for just 3 hours of fishing, but not the best either.  I'm beginning to be a big believer in the "Fishing Calendar app" on my iphone this year, which said it was only a 26% day.  We have noticed this year, if it says it's bad, it is, and when it's good, fishing is great.  Maybe I need to look into it more and come up with a post on it!  Anyway, we did catch some great fish, probably 2-3 pounds.  Most importantly, Jackson had a blast, we told some good stories, shared some laughs, and had a great drive home, even spotting a few large groups of deer.  A day well spent for sure!  The only thing that would have topped it off would have been a stop by the Antimony Merc for a burger, but time was against us this day!

As the days grow longer, and the temperatures rise, the ice will probably leave the lake near the end of the month.  Get out to Otter Creek while you can!  Spring fishing just after ice off can also be amazing at Otter Creek, from a boat or from shore.  Be sure to add it to your list this spring.  

As far as technique, we were again using various colors of paddle bugs, tipped with shrimp or meal worm, shrimp working best.  They seemed to hit it better still fishing instead of jigging.  This link talks a little more about the gear we use and the techniques that work well for me: