Fish Rap: I’m still learning the art of ice fishing

rphillips@idahostatesman.comJanuary 30, 2014 

I try to get on the ice at least once a year, and that was last weekend at Lake Cascade. To make things interesting, I fished with my buddy, ace angler Joe Moloney from Mountain Home, and my father-in-law, Terry Mahan, who not only had never ice fished, but probably never stood on a frozen lake.

I fell somewhere in the middle. I do a lot of fishing, but I’ve probably only ice fished about a dozen times.

I giggled on the drive up when the temperature dipped to minus 4, and I could see my fair-weather father-in-law squirming. I assured him it wouldn’t be as bad as he thought, but that’s not the world’s greatest sales pitch.

We got settled and holes drilled by mid morning, and sat with great expectations for the action to begin.

I wasn’t disappointed as my rod tip started dipping within minutes. I set the set the hook and reeled in about a 6-inch perch.

Nothing earth-shattering, but a start.

Then things went dead. Mahan and I sat, stared and waited. And waited.

Meanwhile, Moloney was catching fish. Not a lot, but more than us. We moved around a little and drilled more holes, but it was baby steps, not giant leaps.

By the end of the day, Moloney’s catch well exceeded our combined total, and Mahan and I were about tied. It proved to me there’s a lot more to ice fishing than drilling a hole, dropping your bait and waiting.

But it also confirmed something else. Ice fishing is fun, even if the fish don’t cooperate. It’s casual and social. Despite chilly morning temperatures, it was also a beautiful day to be on the ice – sunny, still and surprisingly warm.

Another good day of fishing.

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