I was planning on going out to do some snowshoeing this past weekend, but on Friday my friend Rich asked me if I was game for some ice fishing. Of course I was!
We decided to try our luck on Lake Welch in Harriman State Park. We got there early. The temperature was 8F (-13C). Early in the morning the wind wasn’t bad, so it was very pleasant. We used a boat launch area to access the lake.
I brought a backpack with me. Inside I had a stove for heating up water, and extra pair of gloves, and my my jacket. It is too warm to use when walking, but great for when sitting around for hours at a time.
The ice wasn’t too thick so we got through it quickly.
There were two other guys already out on the ice. It didn’t look like they were having too much luck, and after an hour they left.
It wasn’t long before we started getting some hits. Nothing impressive, just some small perch.
After about an hour or so, the wind really picked up. It was hard to keep things from flying off, and the snow covered up anything left on the ground.
I decided to pull out the stove and make some tea. It was extremely difficult to light the stove. The wind was so strong that we couldn’t get a flame for long enough to ignite the fuel, either with a lighter or matches. Eventually I used a storm match, and it worked. It took me about twelve minutes to melt enough snow for a litter of water and bring it to a boil.
The wind got worse and worse. A few other people came out onto the lake, but all left pretty quickly.
Rich and I had to switch to a technique where instead both of us fishing, one person would fish, while the other would clear away ice from the hole. Because of the wind, if the ice hole was left for even less than a minute, it would be covered with snow drift which would immediately turn into ice.
We took turns. We kept pulling out small perch.
We stayed out for a good part of the day. All we kept pulling out was perch. Eventually we called it a day and went home.
The jacket you see me wearing in the pictures is the Eddie Bauer Ascent Peak XV parka. I haven’t used it in a very long time because it is way too warm for any active pursuits. It is great for sitting around on the ice all day. My pants were a pair of C9 ski pants. They are very inexpensive, have a outer shell and polyester fill insulation. They are also way too warm for anything involving activity-good on the ice.
My boots were the Merrell Norsehund Alpha. They are heavily insulated double boots, but unlike pack boots, offer a fairly stiff construction. I paired them up with my Hillsound Pro approach crampons for added traction on the ice.
So that was it. The temperature was good, going up to the mid teens in the middle of the day. The wind made things very difficult though. Even so, we had a good time.