Sunday, March 4, 2012


I’ll be the first to admit I’ve purposely avoided ice fishing for probably the last 3 decades or so. Other than an ill-fated trip to Marquette, MI last winter and a day of jigging for lake trout in Thunder Bay, Ontario in the mid-90s, me’n ice fishing have kept our separate ways.

Perhaps it’s a failing memory of frozen cheeks, fingers and toes. Maybe my life thrills have dwindled to the point the pure boredom of staring at a small, round hole in the ice now sounds exciting. Maybe I’m so caught up with the things I need to do that a few days of ice fishing made it to the top of the list. Regardless of why, there I was, sitting on a bucket, on a foot of Green Bay, Wisconsin ice, bundled against the cold with a miniature spinning outfit in hand. I was ice fishing!

Day One guide, Dale Stroschein (Wacky Walleye Guide Service) told me that between the stretch in the 4-pound line we were using and the flex in the tiny fishing rod, you have to almost “imagine” the bite of a whitefish, rather than feel the strike.

Dale “imagined” two of them from a hole not 15 feet away before something felt slightly different on my own outfit. Soon I had the first ice-caught fish in years coming through my hole. Then I let my imagination run wild!

The next day, fishing with J.J. Malvitz, (JJ’s Guide Service) we didn’t need much imagination. JJ provided ice shelters (so did Dale, but it was not cold enough to require being inside). With the shelter blocking the wind and the reflection of the sky blocked by the ceiling, we could peer into the ice holes and see the bottom, our jigging spoons and the whitefish looking at our baits.
Watching the fish bite added to the fun and success!

No imagination needed! When you saw the fish bite, set the hook! The experience was a “hole” lot of fun. Plenty of fish and no cold toes. That’s about as good as it gets for winter fishing.  

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