Sunday, February 24, 2013

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Harrier Lake Last Day on Ice?

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Harrier Lake Last Day on Ice?: If we have to lose ice fishing until next year I'd hang it up happily after my day out on Harrier Lake this past Saturday. Harrier Lake...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Four Friends and a New Frozen Lake

What a strange winter this has been! The Temperature will be in the 20s, no 40s, um no 30s! With the up and down temps, the avid ice angler in the Midwest has had to keep his eyes and ears open for safe ice. Last week we were placing our bets on on whether we would even be able to get on the ice for the weekend.

This trip would include DuPage Angler Members Dark Star(Jason), JcCrappie(Chunsum), Brim Reaper(Bob), and myself. The four of us traded phone calls and made plans to try a new location. Usually I stay on small lakes and ponds where I know I will find fish and numbers in short order however with the weather, only bigger bodies of water had safe ice. Area ponds and small lakes had 3 inches or less. We decide to try Loon Lake at Silver Springs State Park. DS told me that this lake was suppose to have yellow bass which immediately had me day dreaming of the yellow bass bonanza that use to be the norm up at the chain before the great die off.

We arrived at 8 and were lucky enough that two guys were already on the ice. This saved us from having to find a safe place to get on. We just had to follow their line of holes back to the shore. We had to climb down a short embankment which for us is a major pain in the rear do to the plethora of crap we bring, but since we had four guys we just made a make shift assembly line down to the lake.

Everywhere we drilled, the ice was a very safe 5 inches. Now in my head I know that its safe, but this lake was cracking and popping like a gigantic bowl of rice crispies! I mean it was loud and nonstop. I have never heard a lake groaning and complaining so much. This made me on edge especially as a couple freight train cracks shot right between our legs.

We started drilling shallow and kept moving deeper never going too far without drilling another hole to make sure the ice was still safe. We had four augers to start. But this little auger snapped its blade, and this little auger died, and this little auger popped a screw. Yeesh!

When we hit 17 foot of water we marked something interesting. DarkStar dropped his camera and we found an old picnic table down there covered in algae like an old ship wreck. Problem was no fish were on it. Since at this point we had drilled half the lake never finding any concentration of fish we just set up camp and hoped for scaly visitors.

After a while I thought I heard JCCrappie say that he saw a fish under the ice. Not long after that Brim says “Hey I see fish swimming 3 feet down!” I thought to myself what are these guys smoking? It is 17 feet here! Why in the world would there be…… “Jesus there is one!” I said. I cranked my line up as fast I could to get back to the surface. My jig hit three feet and instantly zizzzzzzz went my drag the fish slammed it!!! It was a beautiful trout! I heard there might be some there left from the fall stocking but to be honest I did not think we would get any. This was my first Inland Trout through the ice! I was stoked!!

Right after that I rigged a minnow and float rod three feet down and the guys in the other shelter did similar set-ups. About 20 minutes later my minnow does the nervous something huge is going to eat me dance. Then in an instant it’s gone! I was lucky enough to score a second trout. Yes!! Soooooo cool!!! I let them go hoping someone else might catch them once more.

The bite was really tough but the guys managed to score a handful of gills and JCCrappie did catch a yellow bass!! (Jerk so jealous)

Although the bite was slow I had so much fun. Being able to add a new species to my ice angling adventures was pretty sweet. Loon Lake offers a variety of species including crappie, perch, and cats as well. Even though we did not slam them I will return to this lake next winter just for the variety and the chance to catch several kinds of fish in a single outing. Silver Springs was a nice place for four friends and a new frozen lake.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Birthday Ice Fishing 2013

Birthday Ice Fishing 2013

Every year there are two days that I can count on fishing for sure; father’s day and my Birthday. For my birthday I always take a day off. This year thanks to the great friends I have found at DuPage I had partners in crime take off the day as well. Jason (aka Darkstar) and Ted Yates (soonerbass) both agreed they would join me along with my brother-in-law Al.

Well the winter weather again this year has been a disappointment to say the least. Warm weather and unsafe conditions have taken their toll on the ice angling community. I set my alarm and I was quickly off to sleep anxious to start fishing in the morning. This morning mind you, I have planned for weeks and talked my buddies into as well. At 3:30am I wake up to pouring rain!! YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME! I pick up my sell and let the guys know that it’s off, we are done, and we are sleeping in.

I could not sleep, so I look outside and no rain. Well I figure I should go see the damage on to the ice at my local pond. To my surprise the pond is not totally destroyed and safe. The shore was wet but that’s it!! So I quickly make some calls and both Sooner and DS are back in.

Our first two ponds are a disappointment. The first we could not find fish, the second thin ice, but the third was the gold! Ds made it to the ice first and crossed the thinner shore ice that was covered with 4 inches of water and started making Swiss cheese of the lake with his ION auger. I go to pull my shelter on to the ice and got a shock! I was walking backward and did not notice this hole in the ice!! Maybe a beaver hole I am not sure but in a city second my left leg is completely submerged and my ass is on the ice!! HOLY COLD ICEMAN!! Thinking on my feet, well once I got to my feet I hid in my minivan and put on the extra pair of snow pants I brought. Then yelled “which of you is wearing more than one pair of socks?” Thanks Ted for the donation to the pondboy fell on his ass foundation.

We decided to fish the suspended fish we found in 6.5 foot of water. The crappie bite was great thanks to Little Atom Wedgees and Nuggies. The plastics out fished any other presentation. In fact I did not even open my spikes and waxies! It was a blast everyone was catching fish. The bluegills were not as easy to get on the line but we managed to trick some of them as well. Both the full size Nuggies and the micro Nuggies worked. I really love the red and orange colors.

After fishing a while the guys went and got pizza for my birthday!! What an awesome meal on the water! Thanks guys.

Well when the guys brought the food on the ice they discovered the shore ice was getting worse and worse due to the climbing temps and the sun now beaming down on the lake. We had to either cut our day short or risk not getting back to shore.

We very carefully got ourselves and our truck load of equipment off the dying ice and called it a day. Although it was not the all day fishing marathon I had planned we managed to find some ice and some fish. I had a great time with friends as well. Not a bad birthday angling adventure.

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Private Pond Gills

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Private Pond Gills: Pondboy and I made our plans Saturday.  We decided he would drive, we'd take my ice shelter, then drive to someplace he doesn't get to fish ...