I won’t lie to you, it has been really tough getting out ice-fishing this winter.
With Taekwondo, piano and downhill skiing, the weekends are just not long enough.
With an editor’s subtle nudge, and my conscience getting the better of me, I was determined to squeeze in a fish this Saturday.
After some pre-weekend dialogue with my wife, Hillarie, I figured I could schedule about two full hours from parking lot to hole and back. It was going to be tight between activities, but I was determined. Making the most of time meant some early morning preparation.
I pulled together the tackle box, a couple of rods, the power auger and bungee-tied it to a pull-sled. Armed with hot chocolate and snacks, we took off to Riverdale’s Hidden Lakes.
Our group of parents, kids and canines walked in from the parking lot to fish the right side of Hidden number one.
With efficiency in mind, I powered up the auger and drilled in six holes. The kids were put to work shovelling and scooping out ice until they were clear.
We dropped in a couple of lines with small hooks loaded with shrimp. As per the usual, the kids lost interest in about five minutes and took to collecting sticks, making up games and sucking back the hot chocolate.
On a side note, dogs love shrimp, so make sure you don’t have any hooked bait lying around for them to feast on.
With the kids content doing other things, the break gave Hillarie and I the ability to focus on technique, presentation and finding the right depth.
I decided to switch out the stationary bait and try a small pink jig with a white tail. I jigged steadily for about 20 minutes and then handed the rod to Alex; at four years old, he’s the youngest member of our group.
A couple of minutes later, Hillarie noticed Alex struggling with his rod. He had firmly hooked into a feisty rainbow trout that was giving him a run for his money. Concerned that the fish would come out and bite him, Alex was happy to hand over the rod to one of the older kids to finish the job. After a surprisingly good fight on light tackle, a 17-inch trout appeared.
My goal was to get out ice-fishing with the kids for a couple of hours. Expectations were exceeded with this unexpected catch. Our two hours were about up and we managed to pull another, smaller trout, out of the water.
It is quite remarkable that in two hours, families can be ice-fishing on a lake surrounded by mountains and actually catch fish. We packed up quickly, walked back along the trail, jumped into the truck and made it back just in time for a piano lesson with Dusica.
If you would like to share your fishing story or hear more about this one, visit Dennis Zimmermann’s Yukon fishing blog at www.fishonyukon.com.