Saturday was our last warm day for a while around these parts. Forecast to be around 30F, right before a drop off into Arctic weather, we were headed out to ice fish. We met our fishing buddies, and headed up to Fox Lake, about 45 minutes from Madison. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with that idea.
We stopped in the town of Fox Lake for bait, and the owner of the bait shop/liquor store assured us there was a good 15 inches on the lake, and it was safe to drive on. Sure enough, all these people had their trucks on already. We still drove on with the windows down, listening for cracks. We were headed away from the crowds over the deep part of the lake, to the water offshore from a very specific lakehouse promised to be a regular honey hole.
We got set up, but fitting 4 people in the shanty was a bit crowded. So Matt and I left our jig poles in some holders, and stood outside. It wasn’t so cold anyhow, and we had tip ups to watch. We checked on our jigs from time to time. It was a good thing, too. Within 20 minutes, Matt had something on. He’d gone into check the bait on his jig, but when he began to reel, it took off on him. It was stripping the 2lb test line something fierce, and bending his pole nearly double.
Matt got it up to the bottom of the ice twice, and we caught flashes of mouth- it was a pike, and a big one. On 2lb fluorocarbon without a leader. He finally wore it down to reel it to the top of the ice, and M was ready to reach into the water to gill it.
We would, however, keep slaying fish on crappie minnows. And they were pretty much all crappies themselves. Big ones.
In addition to pulling crappies off our tip ups, I caught my first walleye. I had a crappie minnow on my jig pole. I went back into the shanty to check on it, and the line was at an angle away from the ice hole. I picked up my pole, set the hook, and pulled up a little walleye. He was about 2 inches shy of being a keeper.