Several weeks ago, my husband Eric came back from a quick jaunt over to Lime Lake and was quite pleased.
“It’s a solid three inches thick,” he said with a smile. “Good and black. We’ll be fishing by next weekend.”
He was talking about the ice, and he was right. The following Saturday, which was December 11, we dragged the portable fish house out onto Bloody Lake and dropped lures down into the icy water, hoping to catch a few fish. The ice was a solid five inches.
We didn’t catch anything and the wind was howling to beat the band, but we didn’t care. We were ice fishing.
We were planning on heading back out the next day, but the wind had moved from howling to screaming, and then my daughter called to say she needed me to head toRochester so she could have her baby.
By Dec. 18, I was back in town. Eric and I headed out to Fox Lake for the day, and it was so beautiful out that we never even set up the portable. We just ran around the lake in our cold weather gear, happy as clams to be out on the ice, which was up to about eight inches thick.
I had gotten a new set Ice Armor, a new pair of winter boots, and was so ready to hang out with the hubby and fish. Since our granddaughter made her arrival a bit ahead of schedule, we had some time off at the end of the month and were going to dedicate it mostly to some serious (well, seriously fun, anyway) fishing, probably in the portable, but what the heck!
We were psyched about taking the permanent house out, too. We had made a few fixes over the summer, cleaned everything out, adjusted the height of the rattle reels and made a few other minor changes for comfort. We were so ready to rock and roll!
“It’s going to be a great winter,” Eric told me.
And then warm happened.
Our ice disappeared.
We got all sad.
Don’t get me wrong. I like nice weather as much as the next person. But sometimes your definition of nice isn’t the same as the next person’s. I don’t mind the absence of snow. It actually pleases me to see our city plow sitting in the fire station bay with nothing to do.
But Eric needs ice. He needs to fish in the winter, because otherwise he makes me a bit crazy. He thinks up projects, for goodness sake! Projects that I’m not always around to supervise or help guide him in the right decisions.
I’ll admit, it’s not just him that needs to go ice fishing. It’s me, too. I love it. I love sitting in the big house reading a book and watching Eric keep himself busy jigging lures or thinking up ways to tease me. I love clomping out to the portable to fish a bit more seriously, working the fancy electronic stuff. I love meeting other outdoors enthusiasts out on the frozen lakes, listening to their stories of mighty battles and the ones that got away.
Some couples go antique hunting together. Some ride motorcycles. Others jog or shop or watch TV. We fish.
It is supposed to get upward of 50 degrees on Thursday! Fine, once there’s a foot of ice on the lakes. But not right now!
A friend who owns a resort on Mille Lacs has been sharing photos on Facebook that show open water, some of it covered in white caps. We’ve seen photos on Hot Spot Outdoors of open water onLake of the Woods. I’ve heard reports of houses and trucks going through the ice.
Not good. Not good at all.
And the worst part is that when it is mid-February and 10 degrees below zero with a 30 below wind chill, I’ll be absolutely longing for a day of 50 degree weather.
Or maybe not. Hopefully by then I’ll be out in the fish house, all warm and toasty, catching fish and having a great time.
I don’t need snow. But when it comes to that temperature… drop, baby, drop!