Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lots of ice for fishing

I prefer that my ice be several inches thick and neither shaken or stirred.

Monday I headed to my favorite Ashtabula County farm pond for a few hours of ice fishing. One doesn't actually fish for ice, of course. Rather, one fishes through the ice by drilling a 6-inch-diameter hole and then lowering a baited ice fishing jig to within a foot of the bottom.

But no matter. It's still an enjoyable venture. Particularly if the day is sunny and the temperature is above the freezing mark: Both of which were the case Monday.

Joining me was my older brother, Rich, who has fished this particular farm pond before but never when it's been covered with 12 inches of ice.

It also was the first time Rich had been ice fishing in about 50 years.

Alas, our outing was terrible. That is, if you judge the day by how many fish we caught. Three, if you must know and none of them were particularly large bluegills. It was the worst-ever outing (spring, summer or winter) that I've ever experienced fishing the farm pond.

The concern is that the pond has had so much ice and so covered for so long that the water's dissolved oxygen content is low. That would make the fish sluggish to respond to the wax worm bait we were using.

Such a condition might lead to an ultimate fish kill, which is something that could hit many (most) of Northeast Ohio's other farm ponds, too.

It was still a good outing. The weather was pleasant, the conditions were comfortable. The wait was made nice by the fact that I could sip home-made tomato soup and munch on some smokies picked up at Trumbull Locker Plant in Hartsgrove Township.

In any event, I'll be back on the pond at least one more time. Perhaps Friday or maybe early next week.

Ice fishing is really a neat way to fish and a great excuse to be outdoors.

Almost certainly the pond has a hungry horde of bluegills and I aim to find them.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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