The first week of 2013 has come and gone, but not without leaving its mark. Some of the coldest temperatures we have had all year came through this week. The temps dropped well into the negatives. The coldest I saw was -20, and the highs seldom reached out of the single digits. Ice fishing in such cold weather is not for the faint of heart, but it can be very rewarding. I had the opportunity to fish with Chris and his boys a couple times this week. We tried a few different places around the area and none of them were disappointing. Lot’s of fish were caught and a good time was had by everyone.
Love Those Cutties!
One of the best outings of the week was on New Year’s day. We hit one of my favorite spots that doesn’t normally freeze until a little bit later in the year. We didn’t get there until the afternoon but that didn’t seem to slow down the fishing at all. Within 30 seconds of dropping the ice jigs down, it was fish on! It stayed this way most of the evening until we left. The highlight of the day was when Chris and his son were able to catch a beauty of a brown trout. I had never seen such a nice and beautifully colored brown come out of the ice before and I was pretty stoked about it, even if I wasn’t the one catching the fish. Chris does a great job of passing on his love of fishing to his children.
Chris and his son with a Beautiful Brown Trout
A little bit later in the day I also hooked into what felt like a pretty good fish. One of the things I love about ice fishing is feeling the hit when jigging and knowing that you have set into a good fish. The fish ran me all over the place and I eventually worked him up and out of the whole with some help from Chris. It wasn’t a monster by any means, but it was a dandy cutthroat and was sporting some beautiful colors at that.
My Best Cutthroat of the Day
The next day, Chris and I decided to venture a little further south in hopes of catching some big ‘bows. When we left Idaho Falls, the temperature was well into the negatives so we knew it was going to be a cold day. On the drive in , the lowest the thermometer read was -20. I made sure to snap a picture because it was the coldest weather that I had ever gone fishing in before. We made it to the parking lot and the temperature had gone up a whopping 2 degrees to only -18. Undeterred, we went and set up the ice house and heater so that everyone could be nice and warm. The first three hours of fishing were very slow. Chris had a few light bumps and I had not even had as much as a nibble. We moved around a few times until we eventually started to find some fish. Chris caught the first nice fish of the day, a solid slab of a ‘bow. That fish had restored our faith and we stuck it out a couple more hours and we even caught a few more fish.
My best fish of the trip came about an hour after we had set up shop in our new and more productive location. I was jigging the ice fly when I felt that familiar tap. I set the hook and nothing was there. I was disappointed I had missed the fish but quickly noticed one of my other rods was getting hit. I ran over to it, with my jigging rod still in hand. As I reached down to pick the rod up and set the hook, my jigging rod started getting hit again so I set the hook. The fish immediately came right up to the hole and I could tell it was a nice fish. As soon as it saw me or the sunlight, I’m not sure which it was, it decided to take off and fight like a fish its size should. My drag got a good workout and it was a blast. Chris reached down and helped plop the fish out of the whole and we were able to land it. It turned out to be one of my best fish this season (ice fishing). We never did pick up any more big fish after that, but we did manage a handful of planters. As we worked our way back to Chris’s van, it felt like it was finally starting to warm up and I even shed a layer because I was getting too hot from pulling the sled. To my disbelief, the van said it was still only -3 outside. On the way home we made a quick stop at one other location but it wasn’t even worth the time. We saw a few fish on the underwater camera but they were just chubs and they weren’t even big enough to eat my small ice fly.
Subzero Temps and Chunky ‘Bows
I fished almost every day this week and was not disappointed at all. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be another awesome year of fishing here in Idaho.