Fishing for a Distraction

The temperature was to drop, the weekend was free, the kids healthy and keen.

Add two Dads going stir crazy inside and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a kid-friendly ice-fishing adventure.

As per usual with Carl and I, we started the planning over a week in advance. We kept in touch during the week making all the necessary arrangements. We pondered the idea of heading for exotic waters in the Southern Lakes but, in the end, decided to play it close to home at the local favourite, Pumphouse Lake.

While relatively hardy, our four boys — aged three, four, six and six — would start whining if pushed too hard. Based on experience and a keen sense of parental meteorological intuition, we figured given the temperature we would get at the most two solid hours out of our kids.

I’ve always stated fishing with kids requires no expectations, plenty of preparation, a special dose of patience and plenty of distractions.

We arrived early and started drilling six holes in the ice. I made sure to borrow a friend’s power auger to speed up the process and ensure the kids could start fishing right away.

Next, we set up a couple of tip-ups and prepped a couple of rods with shrimps for jigging.

Pumphouse is an incredibly child-friendly ice-fishing lake. The distance to prime water is a short walk for little legs from the car and allows for easy pulling of a sled with all your gear.

The Rainbow and Grayling in this lake strike and are just large enough to make it a well-earned catch.

We had armed ourselves with the usual young boy comforts of hot dogs, a campfire, hot chocolate and a rocket. A self-propelled, remotely triggered, whiz-bang designed to make a loud noise, shoot up in the air and parachute down. If the fishing was slow, we’d pull out the rocket.

An hour and a half into ice-fishing, the kids had each inhaled a hot dog, sucked back hot chocolate and were moving dangerously closer and closer to the fire. The fishing was poor so we threw everything we had into the hype, set up and detonation of the rocket.

Carl sprang into action and, with the kids, prepared his projectile. The kids moved to a safe area and started the count down….5…4…3…2…1…pppfffftttt.

It was not to be as the cold took the life out of the rocket. No fish, no blast-off, no matter as the rocket still served its purpose as a half-hour distraction device.

The kids and Dads still had a great time and were thankfully separated from the couch and the TV for an entire morning.

If you would like to share your fishing story, or hear more about this one, visit Dennis Zimmermann’s Yukon fishing blog at


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