Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ice Finale

Last week’s storms wreaked havoc on much of Connecticut's fishable ice, save a few bodies of water in the northwest hills. The deteriorating conditions, coupled with several lakes closing on the last day of February, meant that Saturday’s ice trip would be my last of the season. My uncle and I decided to join a few anglers on a notoriously stingy walleye lake, but one that we believe is no doubt home to multiple state records.

The edges of the lake were shot, but a plank was used to get on the main body of ice. The remaining ice was enough to fish comfortably on, but it was getting funky fast. There were small open holes everywhere, which never refroze from past fishing trips. We had to watch our footing all night, as these holes were now covered by snow. We each set our five tip-ups baited with large shiners right off bottom in 23 to 14 feet of water. Each tip-up was also set with a light that would blink red if our baits were taken.

Our partners that night had one flurry of action, with four flags going up in a matter of five minutes. One of the flags produced a 19-inch walleye, which was the angler’s first from this lake and taken home for breakfast.

The rest of the night was rather quiet save for the occasional snow squall moving through. I jigged up a lone rock bass and patiently waited for blinking red lights that never came.  My uncle and I had one last ice feast, packed up the shelter and pulled our traps for the final time of the season.

Yes, some anglers will be walking on ice next weekend in Connecticut.  Everything from planks, ladders, waders, and kayaks will be used to get on for one last flag.  As for me, I will take this week to store away all my ice gear for the next nine months. The hardwater season went quick like it always does, but that is sometimes a good thing. The toll of ice fishing can be draining on the mind, body, wallet, and partner. I love to ice fish, but part of the reason I love it so much is because you can only do it for a few months each year.  None the less, I had a great season and enjoyed every minute of it. 

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