See the video version of this article here: https://youtu.be/6-IUOrIMeJw
"Come welcome 2019 with me on Lake Couchiching for a ice fishing social. Let's make it a party on the ice. YOU IN???"
Justin hit me up on Instagram late December. He wanted to ring in the new year like a true fisherman - slingin' fish on the ice with some buddies. I wasn't sure at first if I was going to make it. I hadn't talked to my boss or my wife about what was happening on New Years day. I told him maybe.
As it grew closer all the new years plans fell around that day and I was wide open. I actually didn't even get a chance to message Justin back. I was talking to my good friend Bryan via text about it and told him I would come. Bryan told Justin and of course the messages and hype just kept rolling in between the three of us.
January 1st rolled in and I popped out of bed early! I care barely get up for work but if I'm going fishing... I'm UP! I had to hunt for my morning coffee - News Years day makes it hard to find anything open. I can't be too upset, I wouldn't want to work it either!
I pulled up to the ramp and it was solid with cars, nowhere to park... looks like I should have gotten up earlier. I drove down the road a ways to find parking and started getting my gear on and packed up. I'm so glad I made this smitty sled to tow everything around!
I met up with Bryan and a buddy from his club at the ramp before heading down to the ice to meet up with Justin. The lake has frozen over just perfect. We're at about 8" of ice consistently over the whole lake. Justin had brought his ATV and trailer, which was perfect as the walk on glare ice would have taken a bit.
We drove out and decided that Bryan and myself would just setup our huts beside each other. We had close to 30 km/h winds that day so it took all three of us to hold the hut down as we pegged them in. Once we were setup though, we were down in the water in no time... well okay, it always takes me a good 20 minutes to put together my camera equipment and stuff.
Bryan caught the first fish of the day... well the year - a dinky sized perch the size of a keychain. I kinda figured it was gonna be a day, the weather had taken a turn and I'm sure it was going to shut down the bite quite a bit.
We had found some saddles and we were setup on the bottom of them. Justin and a few other guys were a bit higher and one other fellow had setup right on top. I started out with just a simple Blue Shiner VMC tear drop that only got bumped. Bryan had mentioned that tubes were catching his. I hadn't brought any tubes but wondered if it was the tails they were nipping at that was catching them. I found some Hook setter dancing waxies in blue glow and threw it on the end of the jig. As soon as I put it down, those nips turned into hook ups. I'm not sure if it was the feel of the plastic or that little tail that was on there but it seemed to make a difference.
As the day went on, we continued to catch small perch until they shut down. I peeked out the window of my hut and saw the orange tent went up. Orange tent meant that Justin was cooking food! I reeled up and went out to see if I could help (AKA eat the good stuff before anyone else got there).
Justin and his friends had a bbq going with hotdogs on 'em. He had the works, lots of dogs, all the toppings and the buns to go with them. We all loaded up our dogs and stood around chatting about the small fish everyone was catching and some of our catches from the previous year. Some folks had brought out their small kids which was awesome to see. I love when families get together to enjoy the outdoors.
After a filling lunch we all went back to our huts. speaking with the guys, it seemed like being in the trough at least had fish, anyone up top was getting skunked. I went back to catching a few more dinker perch and decided to call it a day.
Small fish is always better than no fish and small fish with buddies is sometimes just as good as big fish... sometimes ;)