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The deep freeze | Notes from the North Woods

Olympic ice climbing athletes will perform on an artifical ice wall, unlike the winter athletes who train regularly on the ice flows of Pok-O-Moonshine or the Cascades.

Olympic ice climbing athletes will perform on an artifical ice wall, unlike the winter athletes who train regularly on the ice flows of Pok-O-Moonshine or the Cascades.

Even the most hardened Adirondacker is likely to admit the weather patterns over the last few days have been a bit harsh.

Some folks may even go so far as to complain that it’s been a bit too cold for December.

For those who have been counting the months until the return of safe, it seems it is now just about right.

A good cover of solid black ice has already set up on nearly small body of water in the area except for the Big Lake, where even the bays appear to be resisting the deep freeze.

Early ice always seems to bring out the anglers, as it often produces some of the best fishing of the hard-water season.

It also provides the opportunity for many avid ‘ice-heads’ to get reacquainted and to catch up. I’ve always marveled at the outright camaraderie of the sport.

Ice fishing is undoubtedly one of the most social of all outdoor pursuits. It has a way of bringing fishermen together, in a manner that would never even be considered on the ponds or the streams.

On the ponds, anglers tend to be very closed mouthed, and they’re rarely willing to pass along any worthwhile information to strangers, especially newcomers.

The same guy would shun you on a small trout stream, or even try to chase you off from ‘their section’ of the river.

But when you meet the very same individuals on the ice, they can’t seem to stop talking about their secret techniques, the proper fishing depths, the best bait to use or just about anything else that will help others to catch fish.

And if they happen to own a power auger, stand clear if they offer to drill a few holes for you.

I’ve watched ‘em fire-up their custom built, nitro burning, ice augers and chew through enough ice to float a fleet of tuna boats in less than a minute. They can turn pond ice into Swiss cheese before most folks even have a chance to get their tip-ups untangled.

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