Saturday, March 2, 2013

Last Ice

During the worst of winter, ice fishing can simply seem like survival.  Roads to and from the destination can be treacherous.  Snow can block roads behind you, making your return home troublesome.  On the lake, your holes freeze up as fast as you drill them.  You hunker down in your shelter, only going outside when absolutely necessary.
Typically, the game changes toward the latter half of February.  Temperatures moderate greatly and allow you to enjoy the fresh air.  Often, one doesn't even need a fish house or if you do, it doesn't require much to heat it.  Heck, sunburns are more likely than frostbite.  
This recent trip was all you could ask for.  The highways were dry, a lack of snow on the ice made travel easy and temps near 40, made for less focus on fighting Mother Nature, and more focus on fishing.
Fortunately, the fish also cooperated.  We had a nice assortment of walleyes, perch and northern pike.  Some of the pike, which mostly came on our tip-ups, were trophy fish, exceeding 15 pounds.  We threw most of the larger pike back, only bringing a few smaller northerns home, along with our legal limit of walleyes.  While jigging up a large northern, a chunky walleye or a jumbo perch is a lot of fun, eating these flaky, tasty species is just as enjoyable.