Having just spotted the first ice hut on Vernon Lake, my sunny day turned blue. I waved to my ice, and cold-loving, fishing brethren as I drove past the frozen lake scene. They politely waved back across the glassy water without skipping a beat on their jigging patterns.
The cold – is not an issue for them in the least. This time of hard water is yours.
With a pending ice fishing season looming, how can a soft water angler survive until ice out? Do not fear anglers of the open water. There is hope. I am trying to treat my case of SWW (soft water withdrawal) syndrome with these countermeasures:
Entry 1. Pulled out some old DVD’s (until Netflix streams more fishing options)
One movie in particular stands out in my mind as being very well done. It’s called, Pike On The Fly, by Barry Reynolds. It has a perfect combination of instructional items and heart-pounding pike fishing action. There is a large number of huge pike caught in the movie and 8 of them are over 50 inches!
Entry 2. Tie some flies
Dust off your fly tying equipment. Try tying these trout flies recommended by expert anglers, and fly fishing authors, I have had an opportunity to interview on my blog. I asked them a simple question: If you could only take one or two flies on a body of water you have never fished before – what would it be?
Mark Williams (author of So Many Fish So Little Time )
“It’s hardly fair to take away from me the boxes and boxes of flies I’ve tied and collected over the years. Rivers change hour to hour and you’re going to stick me with just one fly? Fine. I’ll take a size 12 Ausable Wulff and I’ll catch plenty of trout. But I’m stashing a Rio Grande Trude in one pocket and a beat-up Goddard Caddis in another.”
Rick Passek (author of Freshman Flyfisher Series)
“This can be a tough question for me because I would research the stream before I went, But let us say I didn’t. I would take a Hares ear Nymph (picture right) and a Tom Thumb, why you ask, simple. The hairs ear and the Tom Thumb are an searching patterns. They do not represent any one insect perfectly, but represent many insects well. These two flies will be taken by trout as Caddis Flies, May Flies, Mosquitoes, Midges, along with many others.”
Ed Quigley (author of In The Company of Rivers)
“Probably the Muddler Minnow because of its versatility. If gooked up with floatant, it can be used as a dry fly with what I call the plunk-and-twitch effect on smooth water. In other words the plunk gets the trout’s attention; the twitch says, I am alive! Without the floatant, it becomes a streamer cast either upstream or down-and-across.”
Randall Kadish (author of The Flycaster Who Tried To Make Peace With The World)
“Initially, I would have two choices: An Adams, which takes fish on any river, or a Woolly Bugger. Because, I don’t know the stream, and because most takes are subsurface, I’d choose a Woolly Bugger and cover as much water as possible.”
Entry 3 – Read Gord Pyzer’s (from Outdoor Canada) great article on Ice Fishing for Splake. Maybe it’s time to stop avoiding the ice?