Anglers’ from the south typically fish by boat, dock, or shore. They successfully haul in wall-mounting whoppers by using mega-rods and bait-casting lures. My experience fishing open water is sort of queasy. That is, until I found out how rough I was when frozen water crunched me!
Bass Pro Shops The Next Generation TV show has never filmed an ice-fishing segment. Considering I’m the only Northerner on the roster, the ice-fishing episode was in my hands. I’ve never ice-fished before in my 22-years of walking around on soil and concrete, which may also toss you a flag that my boots have never crunched onto a frozen lake! My lack of experience ice fishing froze all of my temptations to even try, until recently.
I left Eau Claire, Wis. to meet up with fishing pro Dale Stroschein, who is the owner of Sand Bay Beach Resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. I also met up with walleye guru, Keith Kavajecz. The tandem two of experienced fishermen were more than gracious to invite me on an ice-fishing excursion.
The guys woke me up at 4am! There wasn’t a shred or cast of light to be seen on the horizon. All things were cold, quiet, and rather exciting besides it being blistery chilly out. We took Dale’s truck to a spot off the shore of the lake. We trudged through the crunching ice with our flashlights bobbing in the black night. I followed step-by-step as each of us including the field producer edged onto the ice.
Dale roared the ice-auger and began pulverizing the ice into miniature fishing holes. He made ten holes that scattered around a hundred years perimeter. We were to fish each spot hoping to intercept a school of walleye.
I plopped down onto a 5-gallon bucket, baited my jig, and sunk my line to the bottom of the lake. I mimicked the motions of the two pros, watching keenly as they flicked the rod ever so carefully in a fluid movement. This went on for hours, and hours, and hours. Dale was the first to strike luck! His rod bent in half as he grinned from ear-to-ear anticipating what he hooked. Dale pulled out a beautiful walleye from the icy depths of the lake.
I continued fishing hard as the guys slammed walleye! My technique must not have been working or the fish totally eluded me. I don’t know what exactly it was, but I still enjoyed a great time outdoors with great people who were full of knowledge and fishing insight. I hope to try my luck once again next year. With a little luck and a bit more practice, I may just catch one!
I recommend that any newbie ice-fishermen give it a whirl. There are many valuable links found online that will help furnish you with a mess of tips, techniques, and tactics.