March Ice Fishing, My favorite time of year!
Time to be really careful up there, guys. I remember a long time expert ice fisherman, name not to be revealed, went out with a group one March, ice was fine in the morning. 60 degree day. In the evening, 2 people went thru the ice on the way back. One guy never made it back to shore
Interesting posts by both Jaybee and Fishloveme. I will say this. The more you fish ice, the more you learn ice. It's one of those things. No book could explain. NO video could show. You just have to get out on the ice and make mental observations every time you are out there. You start to know what is safe, and what is not. There are factors and conditions and ice colors that just scream "Danger". Low temps the night before can really make a difference. And, knowing a body of water year to year is key. And, how deep you are makes the risk factor go up or down..
Jaybee is the expert at knowing late ice. I agree about late ice. Can go from fishing, to no ice in a day or two with just the right conditions. I think we've all (on this thread) been in cases where we crossed open water to get to the shelf or we fished near open water...Late ice is so fun because it's warm and at times the fish just bite well. and, it's the last of the last, so it's almost like a bonus opportunity.
Gotta be safe. We all know that. And, late ice can be really enjoyable and safe right to the last couple of days if you are smart about it.
jaybeetle, I'm with you on that. There's a spot 2 miles from my house that's only 2 feet deep that I've walked on an inch and three quarters once and it held me up....barely! I'm over 300 pounds too, so I really learned that day how strong the ice can be. That same day I was talking to a little guy who was out there that weighed maybe 150 pounds, if that, and he said he walked out there on that spot on year on three quarters of an inch of ice! That ice broke as soon as you hit it hard - I have no idea how it supported him! This year I also stepped on ice that was more rotten than I had ever been on. It was 8 inches thick but sank as I walked on it. I carefully walked to not make much of a wave and listened to the ice, making sure it didn't buckle when I was walking. The chisel never went through when I was making 3 cracks on it, so I was pretty sure it would still hold me up. Again, that spot was only 3 feet deep. I would never go much deeper that that on first ice or last ice with the above descriptions! 3 inches minimum to go in water over my head at fist ice, and last ice I want a good foot of it if it's that honeycombed ice!
There was a year not too long ago, that I was ice fishing the day before deer gun season in Waukesha County. Yeah, probably people wouldn't do it way up north . 2.25 inches of clear ice. You guys up there just wait a couple days and it gets thick. Down here, we fish as soon as we can, because sometimes it warms up and ice is bad for 2-3 weeks.
I draw the line at 8 inches of late ice. That stuff can get dangerous so fast. Ice fished my last lake, 12 inch of ice in the morning, next day at noon, had to leave, was completely sinking
Interesting story get the net. I just think in southern Wi the season is so short that guys are willing to take a few more risks in order to do what they love to do. I am always surprised up here that people generally don't go on the ice until about 6 inches. Part of that has to do with deer hunting season often interesting with early ice season.
you are spot on with that observation pike. My dad and brother live in Eau Claire & their ice fishing doesn't start until they can drive truck up to the spot. I live (unfortunately) in Northern Illinois, and we never get to drive on. LOL. In fact driving on in a truck rather freaks me out..... I'd almost rather walk. Night & day for sure. Good job on working it to the end, it's my favorite time to get out, we had the lake to ourselves the one day we were out.
An observation over the years. Guys in the southern part of the state are so much more tolerant of early and late ice. Not saying it’s right or wrong. Just an observation. But at the lake we were at today, if that were Puckaway for example, you probably have ATVs on it. Granted, Puckaway is shallow. This lake was deep. So maybe not. But it is interesting how much different the mentality is in the southern half versus the northern part of the state as far as early and late ice and how early or late people are willing to go out in general.
Thanks Jaybee. Hope you catch fish this weekend. Water temp should be around 50 by you guys by then right?
Got out one more time today. No fish but good to get out. A guy could probably go out tomorrow morning. But after that, probably not a good idea.
It’s been agonizing in March to see the forecast constantly get warmer and warmer. What I thought would be a long ice fishing season in the spring was pretty short up here. But I’m glad for these last couple trips. It got colder just in time to allow a few more trips.
Near the end of the ice season my motto is, “if I can ice fish safely today, I can ice fish tomorrow,” Not that I go out every day, far from it, but that motto works every day but one. I think I’m at that day!!
Loved the pix, n.pike. The moon shot was especially cool. Nice to see ice in pictures, it's open water everywhere here. But I will be catching fish this weekend, so I'll be happy about that