Sunday marked the close of sport fish season for a little while. It’ll open back up at the beginning of May for pretty much every species. So that pretty much wraps up ice fishing for us, and I can’t really say I’m sad to see it go. A lot of money and time got spent for not really a lot of results. Fishing’s no fun if you never catch anything. Saturday and Sunday also marked the peak of my gnarly chest cold. Luckily, there isn’t video of me, as I had no voice to speak of. But, on to discussion of this past weekend’s activities.
The Fisheree we participated in on Saturday the 2nd seemed lackluster for everyone. We caught one perch between about 8am and 2pm. We had the underwater camera Matt bought in a fourth hole in the shanty (Matt’s face-in-the-icehole friend went with us). We saw two good sized musky swim right past it. Not much of a surprise, as we’d seen big, big musky in Waubesa while bowfishing at night. We saw some panfish we well- mostly crappie. They all would check out our bait, but nothing really bit. So, after the Fisheree closed, we headed over to the bar partially sponsoring the whole gig to watch some raffles and claim our free beer, and see who won. There were seriously only 5 pike turned in for the whole of the lake, with over 100 people participating. The next categories were for perch and then a combo of bluegill/crappie. The winner of the bluegill/crappie category had only about 2 pounds worth of fish (they went off total weight). The perch winner was just over 2 pounds as well. With how bad the fishing was for us all season, Matt’s friend suggested we try somewhere outside the Madison chain for the last day of the season.
Our choice ended up being Rock Lake, about 30 minutes east of Madison. We got out on the ice around 11am. While drilling our holes, one of the blades on our auger snapped in half. The other blade fell off 3 times. Matt re-attached it until the fourth time, when I had to reach into a partially drilled hole and dig around in snow and ice chips to find the blade and the bolts. I found the blade, but none of the bolts. We had to chisel out our last two holes from previously drilled ones. Once we finally got everything settled, we put the camera in the water. Without the auger to drill a third hole in the shanty, I had to jig in the same hole as the camera. We had one false flag on a tip up late in the afternoon. We heard the people around us all catching fish and taking their permanent shanties off the ice. We saw 3 schools of small crappie go past us. We also saw 9 pike. Nine. I’d love to find a way to record the images we see on the underwater camera. We marked a lot of fish on the flasher. Same deal as Saturday. They’d all check out the bait we had, and then swim on. We tried red spikes, wax worms, red worms, live crappie minnows, shiners, all sorts of jigs. We stayed until sundown. And then on the walk back to the access we used, we chiseled out other people’s holes and jigged in them as we went. Nothing.
So, like I said before, I am not sad to see icefishing go. I look forward to next season, but I am more than ready for open water.