(More Images Below)
Saturday January 6th and Sunday January the 7th we were able to Ice Fish safely on the Marilla Reservoir. This was the first weekend that the ice was safe enough to fish. Last weekend, somebody went about 5 or 6 feet off shore and drilled a hole and promptly came back on shore! The ice last weekend may have been one inch or so! Not safe for ice fishing.
This weekend there was about 5 or 6 inches of what I call "punky ice". Ice that has a lot of air in it from snow melting into the ice or melding with it. The lake was, and still is fairly warm, and then it "iced over", but was quickly covered with snow. Instead of a solid water, hard ice, it becomes a mixture of ice, slush, and snow. Punky Ice for sure.
But it held several people without anybody "swimming".
Two years ago we fished for about two months. From the last week of December to about the end of February.
Last year we only got to ice fish one good weekend! The weekend before, one guy broke through, and the weekend after we fished on safe ice, four people broke though. I believe the worst was only wet to their waist. Such is "global warming" I guess.
I was hoping this year would be better! I optimistically bought my girlfriend a whole ice fishing package for Christmas this year in hopes of Ice Fishing most of the winter with her!
We fished late Saturday afternoon for about 2 1/2 hours and didn't catch a thing. Then another 3 hours or so on Sunday and only caught a small Yellow Perch! There was a family of "first timers" fishing next to us and the young son was catching Perch also. So we gave them our Perch! As did the other near-by fisherman on both sides that also caught Perch.
Saturday, the other fisherman on the lake were all catching Trout, but we got none. We did get there just before dark and fished an hour and a half after dark! The lake is very peaceful after dark on a star lit evening with a gentle snow falling.
For me, ice fishing is not about catching fish at all .... it's more about just patiently sitting on the ice for hours on end. Catching a fish or two is just an added bonus. Some days you do, some days you don't!
If you don't know, when a fish bites on a tip-up, a red flag raises into the air. Some people huddle up together on the shore and watch their rigs for flags. "Getting a flag" is very exciting. But sometimes the fish will set your flag off and not stay on the hook. The fish bite very softly in the winter and also they hardly fight at all when you pull them up.
I hope we can Ice Fish more than one weekend this winter. The Winterfest in Warren County is on the 19th and they have both an Ice Fishing Contest and a Polar Bear Dip going on that day .... BUT it depends on the ice being thick enough! They also have ice skating on the lake!
If you are an ice fisherman or woman ... get out there while the safe ice lasts! We may not get too many more weekends to ice fish!