The Comets' Tale

Ice is Nice…For Fishing

The+sun+sets+on+the+horizon+of+Houghton+Lake+on+Jan.+1%2C+while+another+fish+trips+the+flag+on+a+tip-up.+The+cold+temperatures+thickened+the+ice+to+around+10+inches+for+a+majority+of+the+lake.
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Ice is Nice…For Fishing

The sun sets on the horizon of Houghton Lake on Jan. 1, while another fish trips the flag on a tip-up. The cold temperatures thickened the ice to around 10 inches for a majority of the lake.

The sun sets on the horizon of Houghton Lake on Jan. 1, while another fish trips the flag on a tip-up. The cold temperatures thickened the ice to around 10 inches for a majority of the lake.

Photo by Jonathan Callison

The sun sets on the horizon of Houghton Lake on Jan. 1, while another fish trips the flag on a tip-up. The cold temperatures thickened the ice to around 10 inches for a majority of the lake.

Photo by Jonathan Callison

Photo by Jonathan Callison

The sun sets on the horizon of Houghton Lake on Jan. 1, while another fish trips the flag on a tip-up. The cold temperatures thickened the ice to around 10 inches for a majority of the lake.

Jonathan Callison, Copy Editor/Graphic Designer

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   As the new year begins, the outdoor sport of ice fishing is under way all across Michigan. It may be cold, but it is a great way to get outdoors and try something new and fun.

Photo by Jonathan Callison
A tip-up set out on the ice, waiting for a fish to bite, with an ice shanty in the background. A few brave ice fishermen ventured out onto the ice as soon as Houghton Lake froze back in Dec.

   Ice fishing is one of the best things to do outdoors during the winter months. It gets people off the couch and gets them some exercise. The basic gear one would need for ice fishing is a bucket, an ice auger or spud (a big metal chisel for testing the ice or creating an ice hole), a jigging rod, and some bait. Once a person gets hooked into the sport, they upgrade, meaning that they will buy an ice shanty, tip-ups, heater, etc. Each item has a different purpose. An ice auger is for drilling a hole in the ice, a bucket is for sitting on and holding the fish that were caught, a jigging rod is a small fishing rod, an ice shanty is a tent to sit in out of the elements, and an electronic fish finder can also be helpful.

   “In order for success, I drill lots of holes to have options,” senior Mason Sears said. “For gear, I use a Vexilar [Fish Finder] and whatever bait is getting the fish to bite.”

   All fishermen and women prefer different styles and types of gear that provides them an advantage out on the ice.

   “I prefer to catch Crappie with a jigging rod,” junior Caleb Todd said. “ A 13 Fishing brand jigging rod with a jigging spoon is my go-to ice fishing gear.”     

   Another type of gear is tip-ups, which are stand alone devices that consist of a reel with line and a hook. They have a mechanism, that when triggered by a fish getting hooked, releases a flag that is visible to a fisherman that is fishing in a shanty a little ways away. Tip-ups are intended for catching bigger fish like pike, walleye, and sometimes bass. A crucial part of the gear to take is food. Depending on how long one plans to be out fishing, bring a lunch, some snacks, and drinks to tide them over until the day of fishing comes to an end. There are no snack bars on the ice.

In order for success, I drill lots of holes to have options,”

— Mason Sears

   In order to catch fish, especially with the gear previously mentioned, bait is very crucial. For the jigging rod, typical baits used are minnows, wax-worms, mousies, and wigglers. The hook normally used would be a teardrop hook, but others use tungsten jigs and other plastic jigging hooks. For tip-ups, treble hooks are normally used. The most popular baits are smelt, shiner minnows, and sucker minnows. Use the treble hook and hook the minnow in the center of the back so that it allows the minnow to swim around and attract the fish. The bigger the bait, the bigger the fish.

   Ice fishing can be fun, but it is also dangerous. Safety is the most important thing to remember when ice fishing. First, be smart. The ice needs to be thick enough to go out on. A minimal four inches of ice is safe. However, one should still spud their way out. Ice that is thicker than four inches should be fine. As soon as there is ice, people are out there fishing. That is when people fall in and possibly drown. The best thing to do is read fishing reports for the lake, bring another person to fish with and to help if there is an emergency, and wear ice cleats to minimize slipping and falling on the ice. One could also wear a flotation device to be even safer. Another thing to remember is to dress according to the weather. More than likely it is going to be cold, so dress warm to avoid getting sick and frostbite.

   Ice fishing is a fun and active sport to help people get through the long winter months before the ice breaks up, and allows people to get back to regular fishing. Get out and give it a try before it is too late. Nobody ever knows what the Michigan weather will do next.

 

About the Writer
Jonathan Callison, Copy Editor/Graphic Designer

Contact Me: [email protected]

This is John's second year on the newspaper staff, but also his last because he is a senior. When John is not writing...

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Ice is Nice…For Fishing