My trail companion and I took advantage of the sunshine today and dug out the vehicle to ice fish a nearby river. We were fortunate to know a resident couple that lived on the water who gave us access and some company. Snowshoeing out, we were able to float right on top of the deep snow– I am glad that the nor’easter left us a reminder of its visit as without that white blanket, the hard water would have been slipperier than an eel.
After finding a site that we both agreed upon, I set down my pack basket and ice chisel. Taking off my wooden webs, I stood one up next to me and the other became an ash and hide shovel. I opened up a large enough area for me to chip out a generously sized ice hole. Sometimes, I think, it is nice to do things a quieter and more natural way, and so I put my mittens on and chiseled through the 12 inches of ice– I admit I was thankful that two of my traps were not in working order as by the time I finished the third hole, I had worked up quite a sweat.
Using my lead sounder, I checked the depth of the river and set my traps at varying depths between one and three feet off the bottom. We did not have to wait too long before orange flagging tape stood up above the dug out snow. Setting the hook, I could feel that it was not a big fish but it was exciting and satisfying to lift it out of the cold water and into the air. We took three yellow perch while we watched the sun fall from its afternoon height to behind the tree line and ice shack. Packing up to leave, we stopped in for one last visit and a warm-up in our companions’ home.