This past weekend I found myself on the ice. Go figure, right? Well, this story should result in a phone callfrom my mother like it does every year around this time. "Get off the ice!" She always screams once I post the pictures. "Oh Mother," I always explain, "I didn't go into the water, just next to it!"
The day was pretty darn hectic, but I had a quest to get out after some walleyes, and I followed through. A few of my buddies joined in the journey, and we hit the ice with high hopes. Early season walleye fishing gets me all jacked up, and my partners feel the same. We only had one question as we drove to the lake. Where can we fish? The lake that we intended to fish had a lot of open water on it. In fact, I would say about 80 percent. The catch to that, the other 20 percent had pretty darn thick ice. So now my thoughts went to finding a perfect walleye spot that was under the ice.
We searched out a few areas and came up dissapointed. Turned out that every single spot that I wanted to fish had open water on top of it. So we made the most out of it and investigated the available ice cover. I had done fairly well in an area a few years earlier, and we decided to give it a shot. The kicker to this was that we had to set up lessthan 20 yards from the open water. I'll admit that it was a bit freaky being that close to the water, but we were on a solid 6 inches of ice, and the wind was blowing in a direction that wouldn't break any ice away. Fish on I guess, and that's what we did.
The action was a little less than I am use to having, but we did catch a few. Matt landed the largest at around6 pounds. Since someone had to catch the smallest fish, Brandon landed a 12 incher. Tim came in next with a nice 3 pounder, and I was left with wet hands as I tried to grab Dusty's fish under the ice. That was our 10 minutes of excitement for the evening, and then we had to leave the lake. I will say however that the cold temps made it pretty neat to watch that water freeze right next to us. You could literally look out the window of the fish house and see the ice forming before your very eyes.
Now I know this story makes me sound a bit crazy, and you might be correct, butI just have one thing to say in my defense. I have been watching the lakes closely, and even closer at particular areas I intend to fish. I keep tabs on whatis frozen and how long.Once on the ice, I am extra careful at how much is underneath me. That particular evening I never walked on less than 5 1/2 inches of ice. What seems like absolute insanity to some may be perfectly normal to others. I recommend extreme caution right now, because the ice is going to vary a lot. That large percentage of open water froze completely shut that night after we left, along with the rest of the lakes from what I hear. This means that there is up to 8 inches in places, and as little as 1 inch in others. Please use caution. That's my brief report from the start of the season that I am calling "the year the walleye cries for help!"