Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Power Ice Auger

From Drop Box

Yep, it really works! Just pick up an ice auger drill bit adapter from Gander Mountain for $20 or do like we did and make one with a big bit from Farm and Fleet for $5. We use a lithium 18 volt Makita drill and can drill over 75 holes on one battery charge!

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

So we ended up finishing the roof at about 2 pm today, headed to presleys to get some minnows for the weekend, got all our gear together, picked up dad about 3:30 and spent about an hour looking for fish. The water was a bit cloudy from the recent rains, and the fish were not interested in eating much, but we were rewarded with a few nice bluegill. I spent most of the time drilling (with my new auger of course) and searching, while the old man sat in one of our usual hot spots and caught the few fish.
From Drop Box

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear Diary.....

.....Today was just cold, 9 degrees this morning when I climbed up to shovel snow off the roof. Yep, the roof. Since we had 3 days of rain and 2 days of snow last week we still dont have any safe ice for fishing, so I need to bring home the bacon working construction. Been working on the new golf course clubhouse over in Metamora a couple days a week, framing up a house near glasford a couple days a week, taking care HB Pond stuff a couple days a week, and dreaming of ice fishing 7 days a week!!!

Took off Thurs-Sun for Christmas break and just spent those days playing with the kids, going to Christmas parties, and eating large quantities of sugar filled food! Even though we all had a great time, I just am not engineered for being inside for any long periods of time, and especially consecutive days indoors. Once the rain changed over to snow, I got the kids outside as much as possible, but really the only activity to do was to shovel snow. I dont have any place to productively shovel snow anymore since moving so Sunday after church we decided to head over to shovel for Mom and Dad and Ken and Darlene.

About 2 pm wednesday kicks off a marathon stretch of activities! I should have all of the plywood finished on the roof in Glasford by then and then am going to try to head out to Norris to do a little ice fishing (probably should have about 3 inches of ice according to my calculations). Then Thursday morning going to ice fish with Chad and Dad and then going to film some deer hunting Thursday afternoon out in Middle Grove. Planning on heading out with some friends thursday night to ring in the new year and then head over to a new place ice fishing friday with Jon Graham and some guys. Friday night have an Esslinger family party, Saturday morning headed to Fun City with all 37 of the Howard Herman family until Monday morning, then spending tues and wed taking clients ice fishing (lord willing) and DADADADADADANTATADA..............then on Thursday morning I board a train headed for Devils Lake North Dakota!!!! Its about a 20 hour train ride and we will arrive at the station at 6 am friday morning and be on the lake ice fishing with Zippy Dahl and the Perch Express by 9 am!!!! We will fish for northerns and walleyes in the mornings and evenings and for perch and white bass during the day. Gonna fish friday, saturday, and sunday and then hop on the train for home sunday night at 10 pm!

I just remembered that on thursday while my kids were napping and it was pouring down rain I had to go check on the trout at the fishing park. I had to fill the feeders and just see how they were doing. I even managed to snap a few pics quick before my sweatpants got too wet! Then even though I looked like an idiot, I had to stop in Dixons quick and grab a bucket of cajun shrimp to munch on for the ride home!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hooked On Fishing Article

Hooked on Fishing
By Lighthouse Academy students: Jacob Feucht, Caleb Ham, Travis Hoerr, Taylor Hougham, Sophie Nelson, and Reid Stahl
Keeping with our tradition of ending the first week of school with a special fieldtrip, we headed off to Hooked-on-Fishing on Friday, August 28th, 2009.
It was one of the few days that it didn’t rain this fall. The weather was perfect for a morning of fishing. Our special hosts for the day were Nate and Justin Herman. When we arrived, our guides showed us how to cast, tie knots, and put on bait. We also took a tour of the fishery where they raise different types of fish in special pens. There was a special section where they raised rainbow trout in crystal, clear, underground spring water. We also hiked to the top of the berm to look at the Illinois River.

At the end of the tour, the fun began. Each of us got our own fishing pole and bait. We also had to bait our own hooks. It was so much fun to touch the slimy fish as we took them off our hooks! Sophie caught the biggest fish which snapped her line just as she was pulling it to shore! At the end of the day, we had a snack and received special t-shirts and snacks. It was a great morning of fun! We’re all definitely hooked on fishing!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The rest of the ice fishing trip

After we took the kids back inside to their mothers and their eventual naptimes, I headed back out with my mom and dad to try and figure out how to fill up a 5 gallon bucket full of them pesky little bluegills. The bluegill were hugging tight to the bottom (according to my good friend Vexilar) and werent moving around or interested in eating much. Typically when we dont mark fish up in the water column it means they arent moving around much. Most of the time when I can spot a fish a few feet off the bottom, I can catch it! Not so with bottom hugging fish. Your best bet to catch a mess of bottom huggers is to drill as close to structure as possible and move to a new hole every few minutes to grab the most active fish. Basically if the fish arent moving, you need to. Since we were marking quite a few fish in our spot, I knew if we could stick it out till about 3:30 on a day like yesterday that the bite would pick up real strong for about an hour or so before sunset. The dilemma we faced was that there were just too many good college basketball games on this saturday afternoon, and I didnt feel like moving around at all and the wind just kept on picking up as the afternoon progressed. Basically what I am getting at is that I didnt dress warm enough and was too lazy. While we didnt fill up the 5 gallon bucket, we did manage enough for a nice meal or two.

Mom will kill me if she sees these pics online, but she was sporting some new camo overalls and highly insulated rubber boots.

About 2 pm and the geese got up out of the field and wanted to come get a drink of water at our aerator. There were about 1500 geese sitting in our corn field all day long.

They had to go find somewhere else to drink, they didnt want to land with us being on the other side of the pond. Above is a pic of the hole of water our aerator leaves open. I wait until the ice forms thick and then turn on the aerator so it doesnt mess up the safety of our ice fishing on the other side of the pond.

A Couple Ice Fishing Babes....

Literally. It wasnt but just a couple years ago and I was changing their diapers and rocking them to sleep. Now I am baiting their hooks, removing their fish, snapping tons of photos, and just having a great time fishing and exploring the outdoors with these gals! Yesterday we spent about an hour hiking down to the pond, drilling and scooping out numerous holes just for fun and even did a little fishing while out there as well. Since the fish were hugging tight to the bottom and not biting well enough to keep the attention span of 5 year olds, I had to get creative to keep their appetites wet. Just a few simple distractions and a couple rehook jobs and we had the priviledge of catching the same 3 fish over and over again. By the time they each caught a few fish (all by theirselves I might add) those bluegill barely had any life left in em. About an hour is maximum for a young kids ice fishing trip and only about 10 minutes of that time is actually spent fishing, the rest is spent just adventuring and exploring outdoors! Here are a couple more photos of our adventure.

As you can see in the pics, I got the boys out there too. We have just as much fun with the boys, however they just dont make nearly as catchy of a title or story line as the girls do!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hooked On Fishing Park Pond Boss Article

This article about the Hooked On Fishing Park was published in the May/June 2009 issue of Pond Boss Magazine! Pond Boss is an award winning national magazine that every pond or lake owner should have a subscription to. It answers all of those unknown mysterious questions you have about your pond, lake, fish, and weeds in a fun and easy to read fashion.

Nate Pond Boss Article

Hooked On Fishing Park Information

Here is some more information about the Hooked On Fishing Park. For 2010 we are looking to get the entire community involved in this park, it is just simply too beautiful of a place to keep to ourselves. If you would like to come check out the park please let me know, I would love to show you around! We currently have about 30 amazing volunteers, but for the schedule we are lining up for 2010 we are going to need over 100 volunteers to help out! Also our goal is to be able to offer all of our services down at the park free of charge to the seniors, children, and special needs folks so we are looking for a few more private and corporate sponsors to help us out with this. The park is so beautiful and functional that I can envision the entire community becoming involved and embracing this amazing place!

Hooked on Fishing Park Sponsor Information

Hooked On Fishing Park Dinner and Auction

For the last 2 years we have been working like crazy every spare moment we have on starting the Hooked On Fishing Park in East Peoria. This summer we officially opened the park and through quite a bit of volunteer coordination we taught more than 800 children, seniors, and people with special needs how to fish!!! Our goal is to get the entire community involved in this project. Our first event is set for February 6th, 2010 at WeaverRidge. Right now we have 19 out of the 25 tables sold already, but still have room for 6 more. Please contact me at 309-303-5691 or the contact listed on the flyer below if you would like to attend or help out at the park in any way shape or form.

Hooked On Fishing Dinner

Here is a link to some improvements we have made at the park. Improvement Photos
We are hoping to be able to raise enough money to help cover operating expenses for 2010 since we are trying to teach folks how to fish free of charge. Also if anyone would like to come down and check out the new fishing park, please call me up anytime and I would be honored to show you around!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shaeya Fishing Pics

Shaeya Kellenberger is 5 years old and my main fishin buddy. Here are a few pics of Shaeya doing what she does best!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Ice Fishing Trip of the Year!

Yesterday afternoon I very bravely stood on the dock and sent Justin out on the ice to fix an aerator. When he came back alive and dry I just knew we would be able to drill some holes early this morning before the sun came out. That is exactly what we did, and boy was it alot of fun!!

Half of the lake has about 1.5 inches of ice on it, but on the eastern shoreline out to about 50 yards or so we had a whopping 2.85 inches of solid ice. My dad, mom, Chad, and Justin were all up for the little adventure this morning before starting our days task of building the hatchery pond and cutting down a whole bunch of trees for some fish structures.

Before I got all the poles set up, dad hooked up with the first fish!

About 5 minutes later and Justin was battling a nice trout as well!

Mom was holding a pole for me while I was fiddling with something and as she was reeling it up the biggest trout of the day nailed her tiny waxworm.

I think my trout actually gave moms trout a run for its money on weight, but me being the extremely humble guy I am I decided to just let her keep the undisputed big fish honors for the day.

Chad posing with his little, but beautiful golden trout:

We kept 6 fish today to turn into smoked trout dip for Christmas! To make the fish dip, I saute the fish in butter and then mix up a whole bunch of cream cheese, chives, shredded cheese, liquid smoke and anything else I can find in the kitchen all together in a bowl. Hows that for a recipe?

Anyhow here are some fun pics of the trout to cap off our first ice fishing trip of the season!

I cant wait till we actually get some safe ice and start guiding this year. This is going to be our best ice fishing season to date!! Not only are our fish looking great, but we actually have more guided fishing trips booked to take people ice fishing on their own lakes, than we do to take folks fishing on our lakes! For the most part we are booked up until mid-January, but I still have a couple weekdays available between now and then.