Ice Fishing, Take II

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Tip ups and the Capitol

Well, this post was definitely delayed.  In my last post, I had hoped we’d make it out the weekend before last. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I’ve mentioned briefly that Matt has a pretty demanding job, time-wise.  This past weekend, however, he had off. For the first time in probably two months. I still had to work Saturday morning, and got off late, so, we didn’t get out until Sunday. One of Matt’s buddies here in town went with us, and we ended up using his larger shanty.

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The day before, he’d participated in a Fisheree, a ways north of us, and his girlfriend had won a hundred bucks. They’d had some decent-sounding prizes in a few different categories. Matt and I plan to participated in one here in Madison  on Lake Waubesa on the 9th of February.

Anyhow. After a really warm week melted most of our snow, a cold front tore through here Saturday night. We had winds gusting up to 50 mph, and after a high of 50 on Saturday, Sunday was about 10 degrees.  We got out on the ice around 11, and it was all smooth glare ice.

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We got all our holes drilled, our tip ups baited and set (a mix of large shiners and wax worms)

We were fishing off the shore of Lake Monona near Olbrich Park. We’d read in a fishing guide that these flats were good for bluegill, and we knew that Monona’s got a decent population of pike and walleye. We were sitting in the shanty maybe 20 minutes when on of my tip ups, well, tipped. We headed out to check it, so Matt could coach me on reeling it in.

So Hopeful!

So Hopeful!

We watched the line go and go, and Matt started to show me how to pull up the line until there was tension, and then set the hook and pull the fish in. Unfortunately, whatever had my shiner didn’t get its fishy lips on the treble hook. My shiner was missing scales and visibly shaken. Poor guy. Disappointed, we put him back in the cold, cold water, and scurried back to the shanty. We jigged and talked inside the shanty. Talked and jigged. Pretty soon, the boys started to get antsy. Matt and his buddy both moved their two tip ups a total of 3 times over the next two and a half hours. The area we were fishing over was about 6-8 feet deep. They looked all over for the drop-off to 10 or 12 feet. They finally found it about 100 yards from the shanty.

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Matt’s buddy still wasn’t satisfied, since he wasn’t seeing anything in the jig holes or anywhere else, and he started drilling holes and peering into them, looking for fish.

on his belly, face in the ice hole

on his belly, face in the ice hole

Throughout all this moving and shaking, I nobly volunteered to watch the poles inside the shanty. Also, to keep an eye on the heater, beer, and snacks.

Anyhow. This trip was also a bit of a wash. No fish to be caught. I got a decent sunset picture again, and some neat shots of the tipups with the Capitol in the background. I keep jokingly telling Matt that I haven’t got a great impression of this sport. I know as we packed up, my hands got pretty frozen, and I was glad to climb in the truck around dark. I’m hoping to make it out again this weekend, and I’m really lobbying for going out on Waubesa or Mud Lake. We’ve bowfished on those two lakes (that is a separate sport and definitely a separate post or 6). With the lights on the water at night, we’ve seen a lot of fish in both of those lakes, and some monster muskie and pike. We know for sure they’re in there, unlike Monona, which we’ve never fished. And then the next weekend after that is the Fisheree, which should be a blast.

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