You won’t often hear these words, but January flew by for me. The cold was so bitter that it, in fact, shut down the lake effect machine. Weather prognosticators had foreshadowed a warmer than average winter highlighted by heavy snow fall due to an unfrozen Lake Michigan. Clearly, they are overpaid.
No problem for Michiganians—we’re used to doubting the weatherman and rolling with the punches. If you live in this four-season wonderland, you have closets and cabinets and bins full of all sorts of clothing and gear to handle every situation. If not, swing by the fly shop—I know a guy.
So, the temperatures plummeted and the snow didn’t fall and that made for diamond-hard, glass-smooth ice on lakes all over the state. By my measure, ice fishing has been great.
I even spent a couple of days on Saginaw Bay—a treat, in which, I don’t always get to indulge, but one that always pays off. I know very little about the Bay. However, I always catch fish there. One night, in a previous season and my first time dragging a sled onto that jigsawed ice, I stopped at random and drilled shanty holes and then we both preceded to catch walleye as fast as we could skewer a minnow head and get the do-jigger in the water. We kept sixteen up to 24 inches long. It’s an adventure in our backyard.
This last trip produced a lighter bite. My pal outpaced me, but I caught fish during each frozen excursion. The highlight was a huge perch—the biggest I’ve ever landed. I nearly let it go over and over—struggling with the idea of taking it out of the gene pool. But I’m going to get it mounted and I don’t do that often. Something about a really big fish that’s supposed to be little.
What’s more, is that it was kind of one of those weird destined moments with circumstances too strange to be coincidence. During a slow bite window, Josh and I were talking about wanting to see a true jumbo perch and I said I’d mount one if I got it on the ice. I’m not big on trophies but preserving interesting, odd, and cool is a better recipe for a giant perch than butter and breadcrumbs.
Hoping you can find a little time in the outdoors.