Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Newton with "Rosco"

Through the whole winter, I have been taking foster kids ice fishing and trying to get them a fish through the ice.  I haven't been able to succeed and was stumped as to why.  I finally figured it out the other day; it's because I have been taking them to Hyrum!  I have tried and tried to like Hyrum.  I just don't seem to catch many fish there no matter who I'm with or what I do.  So I decided to take a little bit longer of a drive today and took Rosco out to Newton.  Rosco is the only foster kid I take out now and it had been a long time since we visited Newton.  He was excited and so was I.  I could sense that he was finally going to be able to catch a fish.

We got to Newton and walked to the place where Ben and I had been fishing before, hoping to reopen the holes we made with a machete I have.  We got to the location we were at on Saturday and the snow had covered everything up.  I started to brush snow away with my foot and told Rosco "I know the holes are right here somewhere".  All of a sudden I hear a CRACK! and Rosco's foot had stepped onto a hole and he fell through to his leg.  (I know I know, it seems a little rude to laugh but it was kind of hilarious watching him  flail his arms unable to move anywhere til I could help him.)  My safety instincts kicked in and I immediately ordered him out of his boot and sock and had him wrap my coat around his foot to dry and keep warm.  We got him settled and he replies "at least we know where the holes are now!"

With that comment I figured we might as well fish for a bit and try and dry out his sock.  So after wringing the sock as best I could, I set it on the back of his chair and got our poles rigged and ready.  We dropped our lines down to the bottom and then reeled up about two turns.  We waited for a while and just when I was thinking we should move to a different spot, I saw a little tug on my pole.  Rosco soon after yelled about getting a bite and soon was able to pull this nice perch up...

I pulled one up soon after and we were excited.  We had a few more tugs, but missed them all and it died back down.  We finally decided to pack up and get back in the car to warm his foot up better.  We got into the car and started driving and passed a town called Benson.  I remembered a spot where Ben showed me once where it was good fishing for blue gil so I asked Rosco if he wanted to try it.  He said he did and felt his sock and boot were dry enough to walk in.  We walked out and noticed an old man coming off of the ice there.  We decided to fish where he had dug holes.  We started getting little taps and I kept pulling the hook out of the fishes mouths.  Rosco all of a sudden gets a tug on his pull and ended up catching a nice little Large mouth.  Unfortunately by this time my phone was dead so I didn't get a picture but Rosco sure was happy about it.  We had to leave soon after but I'm glad I was able to get Rosco some fish.  Seeing him that happy really made my day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Perchin' at Newton

+Ben Friend talked to me the other day about possibly making a trip up to Bear Lake today, but after more research, we decided to stay closer to home and hit up Newton instead.  It was the right decision.  Newton has become my favorite place to fish over the last year.  It has plenty of variety of fish, and it almost never ceases to disappoint. Even if I go there and have a slow day, I'm always willing to go back because I know how good it can be. That, and there is always the chance for the elusive Tiger Muskie.

We got up and headed out to the lake at 6 am.  After a brief stop at the store to restock some propane for the heater, we got there right at sunrise.  It was a bright, clear day from the start. We made a little hike to stay clear of getting stuck in the snow, but the snow was frozen hard, and we followed old trails that made pulling Ben's ice sled a piece of cake.  Ben had been doing some research and we decided to try and fish in a little more shallow water due to the perch spawn soon to come.  We fished maybe 10 - 20 yards off shore where it was only 12 feet deep.

The struggles:

Ben had surgery on his arm last week, so it was hard for him to dig holes.  Not wanting him to hurt himself, I offered to dig his holes for him.  The problem was, i was sick all day Thursday, and although I had had plenty of rest and I thought I had regained all my strength, my body let me know otherwise.  I felt so weak! It was pretty pathetic, I was huffing and puffing just to finish one hole.  I finally finished digging the holes and in the meantime, Ben had gotten the tent set up.  We picked the tent up over the holes and got our chairs and equipment inside.  Pretty drained from my pathetic performance, I didn't have any desire to mess with any of the jigs that were on the ice poles.  So I let down a bigger jig normally used for trout, with a pink head and a white body tipped with a wax worm on one pole; and I used a green ice fly tipped with wax worm on the other.

The rewards:

It didn't seem to matter what we used however, because as soon as we let our lures down into the water and let them sink to the bottom, we had a fish on.  We actually ended up only using one pole each because the action was so hot.  At the beginning of the trip, Ben wasn't sure if he wanted to keep any perch, but by this time we decided to keep one limit (50 perch).   Even with this goal, we were throwing back about 3 out of every 4, only keeping the bigger and fatter ones. We easily reached the 50 perch for the day and we estimated having caught around 200 fish all together.  It was a very fun day and very rewarding.  The only regret we had was that we wished we had brought Ben's 8 year old daughter out to get a great experience.

Towards the end of the day, we were having a bit of fun.  The water was really clear and we could see our bait down at the bottom of the lake, so Ben decided to have a bit of fun and make it a bit more challenging by fishing by hand.  We would wait til we saw the fish take the lure, and then yank it to set the hook.  It was a fun day.

Ben "hand" fishing

My biggest perch of the year

The perch we kept.