Finally! I start looking forward to the annual ice fishing weekend months in advance. Taylor and her friends make the trip home from college and meet up with friends from home. We eat like royalty, fish, camp out in the house, hang out on the ice and at the house, and laugh until we cry. Literally. Crying. It’s so much fun!
We were able to drive to Patten Pond thanks to having little snow. Steve dropped off a couple of the guys and the augers first so they could start drilling holes. I went in on the last trip and they’d already caught seven fish. I don’t think anyone kept count of how many fish we caught. There were a few chain pickerel and yellow perch and a lot of bass.
Taylor’s friends Connor Shaw and Grainne Dougherty were here last year. Grainne and Taylor got their exercise running after flags. Their traps were the furthest away and they had a lot of flags. Liam Mellaly, Joe Feely, Kiki Bell and Brandon Cross were here. Brandon and Taylor volunteered at Craig Brook Fish Hatchery last semester so they’ve had their hands on a lot of fish lately. They’re all students at Unity College. Laura and Gilman Phelps, friends from home, joined us on the ice and for supper Saturday night. I gave up at 10 pm and went to bed. They were still talking and laughing but I was beat.
Joe and Kiki had never been ice fishing. Joe learned the process from start to finish and caught a lot of fish. It didn’t take long before he was tending his traps without help. Joe had a busy weekend. He also learned how to shoot skeet. Just like ice fishing, shooting skeet came naturally.
During a break in the action we had lunch. Seafood chowder, corn chowder and chicken noodle soup helped warm us up. Saturday’s high was 7* and the wind blew all day. It wasn’t too bad near shore and having heat on in the shelter was a big help for those of us who got chilly.
Taylor taught Kiki the ins and outs of ice fishing even though Kiki didn’t fish. She also learned how to use the auger with help from Connor and drilled two holes.
We kept two bass, a few yellow perch and a few pickerel. If we’d realized on Saturday that we wouldn’t be fishing on Sunday (bad weather for driving so they went back to school earlier than planned) we’d have kept more.
Taylor graduates in the spring with a degree in wildlife biology. She’s applying for jobs in fisheries. We don’t know where she’ll be a year from now. We hope she’s fishing with us but if she happens to be too far away to come home for the weekend we’ll still welcome her friends home. I don’t like to think about an end to our annual ice fishing weekend.