Friday, January 1, 2010

Ice Fishing Trip on New Years Day

I guess you could call it trying to make up for lost time, or maybe getting my outdoor fishing fix, or possibly feeding the addiction, or maybe just plain stupidity??? Alright, alright enough with the nonsense, I'll cut to the chase, or start chewing on the bit, or better yet get to the point!

I finally was able to get to sleep last night at about 3 am, and then was up and at em at 6:45 this morning putting on my arctic gear. I had quite a bit of stuff to get ready before my ice fishing trip at 9 am. The staying up late/getting up early part of the story really isnt much worth writing about, but I figured was a nice opening tidbit of information to ad to the story and to the fact that it was about 1 degree outside and warmed up to a balmy 10 or 11 degrees today!

Anyhow, now that I have wasted about 10 minutes of my life writing a whole bunch of nonsense I will just post the pics and give a brief description of our fishing trip on this cold first day of the year! I got everything put together and met up with Chris Rock, Jon Graham, Chef Todd, Kevin Somethingorother, my dad, and father in law Lee. We headed out first to a fairly new 3 acre pond that I started stocking 2.5 years ago to see how those fish were progressing. Somewhat of an experimental pond for me (they all are). Fishing was fairly slow, but we did manage some bluegill, catfish, bass, and hybrid striped bass.

So then after about an hour and a half we headed a few miles down the road to my little ice fishing gem! Its a 7 acre pond managed specifically for the sole purpose of ice fishing. We spend a couple days in the summer and fall electrofishing, analyzing, and manipulating the population so that during the winter we know exactly whats in there and exactly what we want to harvest. I keep the pond overly full of 12-15 inch bass and remove all bass that happen to grow larger than 15 inches. This creates an awesome bluegill fishery, and also a very fun ice fishery for eating sized bass as well! This pond is my go to ice fishing pond! When the bite gets tough, I can always come here for consistent rod bending action! (for example today was perhaps the worst ice fishing conditions possible with a massive cold front, rising barometer, and bluebird skies)

Bass were stacked up on weed beds near the shoreline in 5-8 foot of water. We caught them about 1 foot off the bottom using a variety of jigs tipped with waxworms and minnows. They liked the bait moving just a bit. They would sit on the bait if left stationary, but would wait to strike until you gave the jig just a bit of a hop. We caught about 30 bass today and kept about 15 of them.

The bluegill were in the shallow weed beds as well, but were really concentrated in 15 foot of water just off the side of the dam. I'm talking so stacked up in this spot that the vexilar screen was just completely lit up with fish from top to bottom. They would come up to within 5 feet of the ice at times to eat our falling jigs. They werent Boone and Crocket gils by any means in this spot, but they were fun to catch!

This year our population of bluegill got just a bit larger than what I like, and subsequently our average size has dropped from 8.25 inches down to about 7.5 inches. That means I need to harvest a few more bluegill than usual this winter. Today we got a jump on things. When Lee and I got done cleaning and packaging our 7 gallon bucket full of fish, we put the bags of meat onto a scale and measured out a whopping 16 lbs of fillets! Thats even less than half of the fish we caught today. It was cold, but we had a great day out on the ponds!