Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wild Trout Fix

I love ice fishing, but won't dwell on an early end to hardwater season. Last week brought with it unseasonal spring-like weather and a hankering for trout fishing. It was tough being stuck inside at work, but I was able to pay a visit to a favorite small stream before heading to the office one morning. It was a short, productive session with six gorgeous trout finding my net. The first two were sizable brown trout for this run that ate my dry fly in the head of the riffle. I was more expecting the dry to serve as an indicator in my dry-dropper rig, but was pleasantly surprised to see the surface eats in February. The next four trout, a mix of brookies and browns, gobbled up a small, beaded pheasant tail nymph. The color and fight of these stream-born trout never gets old. It was also encouraging to see skunk cabbage already sprouting in the woods. A sure sign that spring is near. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Farewell and Adieu

After a modest five trips over two months, my ice fishing season is over. I don't ever recall putting my ice gear away in February, but it was 65 degrees today and I saw skunk cabbage sprouting in the woods. That makes two winters in a row that I wasn't able to walk on some of my favorite bodies of water. Perhaps it was a blessing because it forced me to focus on new water and, in the process, pulled the two largest fish of my life through the ice in back-to-back seasons. I do miss ice fishing deep water for lake trout and walleye, but there's no denying the thrill of walking to a tripped flag when targeting trophy pike or muskie. No matter what species I'm after or how many times I get to do it, every trip on the ice with friends is a good time. Here are a few shots from this short and sweet season.