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.

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