Can You Ice Fish There?
See the video version of this article here: https://youtu.be/5QVDiEPxT-E
Can you ice fish there? That was the question one of my subscribers had after watching my fall Rainbow fishing video. Honestly, I had planned to go up there anyway but wasn't going to go until later in the year, until I saw David's question.
I only get one day a week to fish, this week it fell on a Wednesday - Ice day... and not Ice day as in "yay we get to setup the hut on the ice and catch Rainbow Trout", Ice day as in -6 with a day filled with freezing rain. Beggars can't be choosers though. The wind was supposed to be good and I have a hut and heater to stay dry. Rainbow Trout, here I come.
The trip to takes a while to get to and I have a son to take care of around that. I dropped him off, picked up my stuff and headed out. I got there about 12 PM and walked out about 50ft from shore. I drilled and threw down a Williams Ice Spoon for a few minutes but got nothing. I quickly put up the hut and a single Ice Anchor to keep it put if there happened to be a gust.
I have only been bringing a GoPro recently so the camera setup was fast and easy. I did the same with a Garmin fish finder and almost immediately started marking Rainbow Trout. Most of them were showing up in the lower depths of the 25ft I was in. I fished that same Williams spoon for a bit more, then switched it up to a Freedom Tackle Hammered Minnow which has a hanging hook with a bead on it. I had forgotten all my Rainbow Trout baits at home but remembered I had hooked a few with a Jensen Egg in the fall. No dice.
I was getting a bit frustrated because I had to leave at 2PM to make it home in time to pick up my son from the after school day care he was in... and the roads weren't that good, so I needed that extra time to pack up and get going. I had brought my Fenwick Ultra Light perch rod, which still had my Minnow bait from my other video and decided to see what would happen. It couldn't get any worse right?
The bait is super light so it took a while to get it down. I saw a small weird mark in and out of the bait showing on my fish finder. I had assumed it was air bubbles and kept letting it sink. I was getting line curls and decided to flip the bail at about 10ft down and stretch it out. As soon as I started to lift it back up those "air bubbles" came back. They weren't air bubbles though - it was a Rainbow Trout who was moving fast through my sonar beam! Without seeing the Trout on screen, my rod loaded up. The thing bent right to the handle! The drag spun on every run she made and that ultra light tip kept perfect tension on her when she started rolling and twitching.
As she neared the whole, I could see she was a good sized Trout, and the colors were AMAZING! I couldn't wait to get her up through the hole to see her in person. I had a rough time getting her through the hole, I couldn't get a hold of the lower gill plate. I just stuck my hand down the hole and heaved her up on the ice, she was beautiful. She had an amazing green back with a perfect pink stripe down the middle that faded into a chrome color. These fish are impressive to look at.
After a quick release I figured I was on to something with this smaller bait. The area had huts every 20ft so it was a pretty pressured area. I assume these guys were chumming fish pellets or had minnows too. Maybe that small bait was what was needed to get the bite.
I fished it for a while and had followers and sniffers but no takers. With only 30 minutes to go I had to figure out what made that other fish bite. Replaying it in my head I remembered I had stopped about 10-15ft down to get out some line curl so I started to reel up in short spurts. As I neared the 10ft mark I got my other hit. This Trout wanted it bad too - she grabbed it and immediately ran.
I knew she wasn't big but she gave a few good tugs before I brought her up to look at. This fish was a completely different fish - pure chrome, with a hint of pink on that lateral line. A quick video of her going down the hole then it was time to pack up and get going.
Getting everything packed (you've seen me work a pop up tent before right?) and more importantly, getting my Smitty Sled back UP that big drop off was a bit of a chore. It took me 30 minutes but that was enough time to grab a quick Timmies in town for the ride home.
I'm not sure how much longer those Rainbow Trout are going to be there, but I hope it's for a while - they're AMAZING! Maybe I should think about river fishing this spring....