January 09, 2012

The Dead Sea

Rockaway Bay 01-07-2012

Over the weekend I had the good fortune of a bit of time to spend on Lake Winnebago (a.k.a.:  "The Dead Sea").  During the summer, work and home obligations keep me away from "Winnebagie",  but I'm cool with that, since I have a particular fondness for hard water fishing.  A frozen Lake Winnebago is awesome, and days in which I can poke a couple holes in her are fine indeed, though I never catch a damned thing.

Here's some speculation about the Dead Sea from Wikipedia, and some background from a reputable source HERE.

The early part of every winter after "first ice" is dedicated to hunting perch (probably the best tasting fish in the world) in the bays.  Later, when the cold lingers and the ice grows thick enough to support vehicles and "permanent" shacks, Winnebagie bustles with ad-hoc fishing villages as people chase walleye.  Thousands and thousands of people hang out to fish or ride around on the lake when we have good ice, and the sight of thousands of shacks in temporary villages is something to behold, especially since nobody ever catches a damned thing.  I've never actually tasted the fish from this lake, but I love it here, and our climate and home is a blessing.  Thank G-d.

Perch on IceI hooked up with my buddy "the Prison Guard" at sunrise this past Saturday to hit the North part of Stony Beach.  Sat for a while before we heard from our friend "the Tavern Owner" who was pretending to be on the perch up at Rockaway Bay.  We joined him for a couple hours on four-inch-ice under overcast skies with a chill 25 mile wind.  I caught a few small imaginary perch on my jigging rig while "Prison Guard" caught nothing.  I won a buck for the first, and a buck for the biggest fish as we nipped Jack from my flask.  Around noon we broke for lunch and chores, then later I set out to the same place for the afternoon to join back up with "The Tavern Owner".  We, along with a couple other locals each pulled a couple make-believe fish out of the Dead Sea by the end of the day (photoshopped above, and click to embiggenify).  It was a fine time, although nobody caught a damned thing.

lil' botnetSunday, Mrs. botnet gave the O.K. for lil' botnet to join for her first ice fishing of the year.  It's tough to keep the little ones focused and patient for something so slow and sedentary as ice fishing, but snacks, music, and pretending to see a fish once in a while go a long way toward making trips fun for the young'uns.  We had a number of ghost shad and phantom white bass swim right past our bait, but the excitement of pretending to catch some hungry perch when an enormous school didn't come by made it worth the while.

Most importantly, lil' botnet said later that the time was enjoyable, and in our climate anything you can do to get out of the house during the winter is time well spent.  Much better than playing "Barbie" where it's warm and you can take your soaking boots and mittens off.

She'll be a good fisherman, and I look forward to many more trips on the ice with her, though we'll not catch a damned thing.


Posted by: the botnet at 09:58 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Sounds like some good times in the making!  Nice to see another generation getting into fishing.   Never tried ice fishing, I was more inclined to spend a lazy spring or summer afternoon at the local fishing hole, with trusty pole, tacle box, and a six pack of Dr. Pepper (not quite old enough for the foamy stuff).
The one time Dad took the family on vacation up to Northern Wisconsin (Past Rhinelander, almost to the UP), where we rented a cabin for the week.   Second or third day there, I latched on to what must have been a Msukie, bent my steel rod almost double.  Ran out a good deal of my line too.  While trying to reel it in, the line gave up the fight and snapped.  Long story short, my six year old sister was the only one who caught any fish the whole trip.

Posted by: Guy S at January 11, 2012 04:05 PM (58Ewj)

2 "my six year old sister was the only one who caught any fish the whole trip."

I know how that goes... luck often trumps skill, right?

As a kid, there were by far more times spent open water fishing, but nowadays the more temperate months are reserved for either my vocation or the weekend "honeydew" list.  But as a kid the ice fishing was a real treat, where we'd chop holes with chisels and catch a couple bluegill between sled runs on the toboggan. 

Then came high school; skipping out to hang with buddies at the shack... man, those were some good times.  And now I'm the guy who hardly fishes open water and barely misses it.

When the lil' one is a bit older, I hope she remembers with the same fondness the way I recall my early ice fishing.

Posted by: the botnet at January 11, 2012 07:55 PM (6PDiu)

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