ICE FISHING ON WINNIPESAUKEE

 

Written by Pat Rollins from the Citizen.  When I ran into my buddy Bob the other day he’d just come off the lake after a day of fishing with his two sons. I asked the young boys how they did and both of them looked at me with a big smile and started telling me about all the fun they had fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee with their dad.
“I wanted to get the house out in a spot where we could catch some lake trout,” Bob said. “But we both know that lake trout fishing is a game of patience and sometimes the boys don’t have much… so I looked for a place they could catch perch too. We ended up putting it out on that bay on Meredith Neck that you and I used to fish all the time back in the eighties.”

“Sounds like the fishing is still good,” I replied as the two boys gave the thumbs up.

“Yeah it’s pretty good,” he said. “I’ve caught a few lake trout jigging in the comfort of the heated bobhouse and I showed the boys a spot about a hundred yards away where they could set out tip-ups for both yellow and white perch.”

“I’m gonna go out again tomorrow,” Bob said. “Why don’t you come along?”

“I haven’t fished out there in a long time,” I confessed. “What time are you going?”

“You know me, I want to be out there at daylight,” he said. “Be at the house by six and we’ll go see what we can do.”

When I returned home I gathered all my gear and made sure I had everything ready for our trip. I dug out two of my best tip-ups, my favorite jigging rod and a handful of my best trout jigs. Then I took a few minutes to make certain that the hooks on my jigs were sharp and replaced the leaders on my tip-ups before loading everything into the truck.

Bob’s house was the only one on the street lit up when I pulled in the driveway and after we had a quick cup of coffee, we loaded my gear in his truck and headed out for the lake.

“I haven’t put the bobhouse on the lake in nearly a decade,” Bob said. “But Cathy and I were talking about finding ways that we could do fun things with the boys that don’t cost a ton of money and you know me, I suggested ice fishing. I mean she likes it. The boys love it, and I can’t get enough of it. It was a no brainer!”

The place had grown up quite a bit since I’d been there last. However, my friend had acquired permission to gain entry to the ice from a land owner and within a half-hour we’d dragged the sled out to the bobhouse.

“Look at all the houses out here,” I said as I looked around the bay. “When we used to fish out here there weren’t more than a handful of houses on the entire bay.”

“There were only two bobhouses out here when the boys and I put ours out,” Bob said. “Now there must be at least fifteen… they’re out here because the fishing is good.”

Bob opened the shanty, fired up the propane heater and gas lantern before we walked towards the far shore to each set out a tip-up about a hundred yards from the bobhouse.

“This is where the kids have been catching the perch,” Bob said. “We’re in about thirty feet of water and we’ve been setting our lines down about three feet off the bottom.”

He scraped the snow off the ice in two spots he wanted me to drill holes and I quickly bored through the eight inches of ice and we each grabbed a tip-up.

“Make sure you sound for bottom,” he advised. “You’ve got to be close to the bottom here or you won’t get a bite.”

I pulled the heavy metal tool from my pocket, clipped it on my line and slowly let it fall to the bottom. Then I marked the line, three feet from the bottom, hooked on a live bait and set it down the hole.

“Now let’s go fire up the coffee pot and see if we can jig up a lake trout,” he said. “If something hits one of these lines we can see it easily from the window.”

My buddy suggested I fish with a white and red buck tail jig and a piece of cut sucker for bait. I normally fish with a Swedish pimple and a piece of cut smelt, however I heeded his advise.

With a coffee mug in one hand and my jigging rod in the other kept an eye on the tip-ups as I slowly kept the jig thumping off the bottom.

I’d turned away from the window as Bob was telling me about a 23-inch long lake trout that he’d caught a few days before. Then as I peered out the window again I spotted one of the flags waving in the breeze.

“We’ve got one!” I yelled as I grabbed my coat off the wall and darted out the door.

When Bob and I arrived at the trap I could see that quite a bit of line had been taken, but the reel wasn’t turning. I eased the trap from the hole and as soon as I grabbed the line I felt weight. I set the hook and fought a feisty 13-inch long white perch to the ice.

“Good way to start!” Bob said as he slapped me on the back.

It proved to be one of three white perch I’d catch this day. Although Bob didn’t manage to catch a white, he did land five yellow perch as well as getting the only strike we had jigging in the bobhouse.

It was nearly noon time and we’d shared just about every deer hunting story we had from this past season when I watched as he lifted his rod tip high in the air. It buckled under the weight of the fish and as I looked on, he battled the fish for several minutes before he carefully eased a 19-inch lake trout through the hole.

“That was fun,” he said with a grin as he held the fish up for a moment, before he carefully removed the hook and set it back down the hole.

As we were packing up for the day Bob looked at me and said, “I’m glad I put the bobhouse out here again. I’ve had a ton of fun with my friends and family out here already and the season has just begun.”

 

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2 Responses

  1. a nice blog 🙂
    thanks for info 😡

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