This last ice fishing season was incredible, with big fish being caught right from the get go. We had success for the big 4 - pike, walleye, lakers, and burbot! Our biggest fish through the ice this year:
Pike - 48", Walleye 29 1/2" (which was disappointing), Lake Trout 39", and Burbot 36".
It was a learning curve for me guiding since the water was a full 2 feet low, meaning many structural areas had changed. I love the challenge (most days), but I may have turned a bit more bald in the process of figuring these fish out!
The ice was sketchy to say the least for much of April, which ended our guiding season early. There were some in the area that pushed it right till the end of the season, but safety for both my clients and myself (I want to see my wife and kids each night) had me make the call to end it earlier than expected. There was a time in my life that I wouldn't even have questioned it, but as a person gets older and has more responsibility things start to change. If I ever have to question the integrity of the ice, then I hang up the auger for another year, or find another body of water that is safe. This is where a guide that knows what they are doing is worth more than people think. As I was on the ice for 40 days straight, I was able to see how the ice candled and honey combed each day, and how much ice was good ice versus rotten ice. It is amazing how fast one rain can ruin solid blue ice. Just ask the fellow that put his truck in reed lake just a few days after I called it quits!
If anyone is thinking about ice fishing next year- do some research and then head out! It can be WAY MORE FUN than you think! And a warning- more addictive than you think as well!