Sorry I didn't get out a new entry on Sunday night but I was on an ice fishing trip in northeastern South Dakota. Every year a large group of my best friends and I take a late season ice fishing trip and that's where we went this year. I will have to admit that most years it turns into more of a social event than a real hardcore fishing trip and this year, with 45 degree temps it was no exception. However its hard for anyone who takes hunting or fishing seriously to turn it off for very long and there were bursts of seriousness sprinkled in with all the story telling and grilling on the ice. As I drove away from the lodge for the last time I began to think about my next post and I couldn't help but think about just how random fishing can be at times.
Leading up to this trip I had tapped every knowledgeable friend I have in that area and had put together what I thought was pretty good plan for what and where to fish. So we started our search on Saturday morning on a lake that we had heard was going pretty well on the Perch. Then we started perforating the lake. I'm not kidding you, the guys that I fish with don't believe in staying in one place too long unless they are really hitting and Saturday morning was no different. The Strikemasters were screaming and ice shavings were being dished out at a pace that would rival the freezy stands at the MN state fair. 7-8 minutes per hole and if you didn't find anything serious it was on to the next. Jig changes, bait changes, depth changes, every thing we could think of in every bay of this particular lake and nothing worth keeping. By now it was late morning and the hunger pains were beginning to set in. So we found a spot that was pretty well out of the wind, set up the grill and dug out the Venison brats. Generally speaking there just isn't much action around noon anyway so everyone stayed close to there rods but no one was fishing intently. Then I hear the every so familiar "fish on". No big deal probably a Pike cruising the shallows in search of a mid day Perch snack. Nope a really nice jumbo Perch. Then another, and another, and now a Walleye, another Perch, and so on. The grilling, talking, and lying quickly stopped and suddenly we were all kneeling over our holes staring at graphs and vexilars. It only lasted about 45 minutes but it was long enough for us to put a pretty pile of fish on the ice. When it came to a screeching halt we all kind of looked up at each other as if to say "what the hell was that all about". All morning we fish hard during the prime hours and come up empty. Sometimes you just gotta shake your head!
That's what we all love about it anyway right? The fish you catch when it seems hopeless. The pair of geese that come in as your picking up decoys, and you limit out. The buck that comes into your stand directly down wind. Its those things that help remind me how a day spent afield or on the water, alone or with good friends, can restore my energy and melt away my stress. So for crying out loud, stay active, stay healthy, and stay outside!