By Brandon Wikman
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!
I’ve never ice-fished before in my 24-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.
A few of my friends are hardcore fisherman – from spring throughout the winter they live on the water, it seems that they don’t miss a day. They were gracious enough to give me the invite on a Mississippi River ice-fishing excursion that would surely give me a new experience on ice.
My friends woke me early, which is something I am not used to after the whitetail season. There wasn’t a shred or cast of light to be seen on the horizon. All things were cold, quiet and rather exciting even thought it was blisteringly chilly out. We took my friend’s truck to a spot off the shore of the lake. We trudged through the crunching ice with our flashlights bobbing in the black of night. I followed step-by-step as each of us edged onto the ice.
As the ice-auger began pulverizing the ice into miniature fishing holes, I started to see how this could be adventurous. He made ten holes that scattered around a hundred-yard 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 “pro’s” watching keenly as they flicked the rod ever so carefully in a fluid movement. This went on for hours and hours, and hours. Soon the fish began to bit. My rod bent in half as I grinned from ear-to-ear anticipating what I hooked. I pulled out a beautiful walleye from the icy depths of the Mississippi.
I continued fishing hard as we slammed walleye throughout the morning! I thoroughly enjoyed a great time outdoors with great people who were full of knowledge and fishing insight. I hope to try my luck once again later this year. With a little luck and a bit more practice, I may just catch a few more!
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 net full of tips, techniques, and tactics.