This past weekend, The Boy and I drove back up to Winter (i.e. his family’s house), to head out for my first ever ice fishing experience. We had the dog in tow, to give him some off-leash laketop fun with the other dogs, and mid-day on Saturday, we all headed out to the middle of the lake!
Now, if you’re expecting pictures of the hole-drilling and tent set-up, of ski-doo and dog tracks, or the cute wooden tip-ups (some cleverly engineered, some MacGyver’d up with tree branches), pictures of mounds of fish, or even a shot of me holding up a lonely fish in victorious fashion, well, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Partly because neither The Boy nor I caught anything (sniff), but mostly because it was coooold out on the lake and despite having a fully-charged camera battery when I left the house, it was nigh-on drained when we got to our fishing spot. I took shamefully few photos of the whole experience, and while I’m a little sad about that, I’m glad that it also gave me the chance to really pay attention to what was going on. (Would I really have ladled ice out of the fishing holes if I’d had a camera in my gloved hands? Probably not; I would have taken pictures of someone else doing it!)
Still, I couldn’t not take a picture of the very first catch of the day, could I? So here’s Gladys with the day’s first fish:
We (uh, as a group) caught 6 more fish, most of them a little bigger than that one. All of them were white walleyes, or maybe saugers; there was some debate. In either case, they were all delicious when we later ate them for dinner. (Note to self: look up a recipe for “fish fry” mix. I tasted sage, black pepper, breadcrumbs, and a lot of delicious.)
In all, we spent about 6 hours on the ice. While I was lucky enough to borrow a ski-doo suit which (in conjunction with some hand warmers The Boy had thoughtfully brought along) kept me toastily warm, The Boy was not so fortunate (or warm). Poor guy even ended up with a sunburn, despite his frozen digits. Lessons learned for next time:
- Bring hot chocolate in a thermos. (I know, what was I thinking?!)
- More hand warmers, more changes of socks. Wool socks.
- Eschew bulky ski gloves in favour of thinner thermal gloves and dishwashing gloves — better to skewer minnows and remove fish, but also better for maneuvering a camera (hopefully?).
- Bring chairs (seriously).
- Build more little wind shelters (out of wood posts and tarp — brilliant!).
That last might be moot, as The Boy’s dad is now plotting a lightweight cabin for next year. While I’d envisioned the lot of us holed up inside a tent (and had even brought Uno to play), we actually spent almost all of the 6 hours in the windy, windy sunshine. (Conditions definitely not conducive to playing Uno.)
It was a fun day, but all of us were glad to get back to the house to defrost in the evening. I celebrated by taking a picture of the sunset.
I’d had high hopes of scampering down to the lake at night to snap some shots of the Northern Lights since, as you may or may not know, I’ve never seen them before, but all the sun, wind, and fresh air left most of us passed out by around 9, so that didn’t work out.
Ah well. It’ll be nicer trying to get a picture in the summer anyway… right? Actually, given the amount of light the snow reflects, it probably will be nicer. Definitely warmer in any case.
The puppy had a great time trotting along behind the ski-doos for most of the way in and back, and chasing balls and sticks (thrown by our nephew all afternoon — when he wasn’t catching his fish) which meant that our ride home on Sunday was very quiet.
So how was everyone else’s weekend?