Last weekend we hosted an ice-fishing clinic on the Century Link Pond at Mahoney State Park, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/guides/parksearch/showpark.asp?Area_No=273 . I did not publicize this event ahead of time because we had as many folks as we could handle sign up for it. We had a great turn out and a great time, let me share some photos.
Here is everyone spread out fishing:
We had a variety of ice-fishing equipment and talked to folks about all of it and how it was used, but mostly we just encouraged folks to spread out, find some of the “experts” we had on the ice, and GO FISH! If they needed equipment we had a bunch of rods they could use and of course we supplied the wax worms for bait.
Fishing hard, waiting for a bite:
On point, getting a bite!
Set the hook! (My Gramps would have said, “Jerk his eye teeth out”)
Now, I am not going to tell you that everyone caught fish, but there were fish caught. Here are some more pictures of success!
We had some bluegills, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and channel catfish caught. Here is some of the catch on the ice:
We had a lot of participants who had never ice-fished before, so much of the on-ice instruction was basic, but as I said we had all of the equipment there and in use. If anyone wanted to talk advanced ice-fishing tactics, like depth-finders, we had that too!
We even had one of our NEBRASKAland editors, formerly from Tennessee, show up and learn some of the ropes. He only slipped on the ice one time, do not think he busted up any expensive camera equipment, but I happen to know he has since been to a local sporting goods store and purchased some ice creepers. To make even more fun of him, he wanted some unique photos taken underneath the ice. I brought along my trapping gauntlets so he could get his hands and arms in the water. Several of us trappers warned him that those gauntlets still had one big hole in the top, where you put your hands in, but that did not stop him from reaching right in and getting his arms wet.
Sorry Jeff, I could not resist. Don’t feel bad, I have only reached too deep into a beaver run about a hundred times and done the same thing. Those gauntlets sure are nice for keeping a guy’s arms and hands dry and warm–if he does not forget and reach in too deep! Jeff Kurrus also blogs from time to time, you can see his stuff here, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/category/afield-and-afloat/ .
We do not have any more ice-fishing workshops scheduled for this winter, but with the interest we had, I am betting we will be doing more of them in the future. If you are interested in getting into ice fishing, sorry you missed the workshop, here is some information on-line that will help you get started: http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/guides/icefishing/icefish.asp . Always be safe, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/12/ice-safety/ .
I know a bunch of folks who were there had never ice-fished. Several of them caught their first fish through the ice last Saturday, and we had lots of positive comments! Thank you! Yes, we had a number of Game & Parks Commission personnel there to help, but what really makes something like this work, and one thing that makes it so rewarding, are the volunteers that show up to help. We had a bunch of volunteer fishing instructors there, some of which had driven half-way across Nebraska to come help, and to those guys and gals, I cannot thank you enough! You did an outstanding job! If any of you would be interested in becoming a fishing instructor, we can use more, and you can find more information here, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/fishing/programs/aquaticEd/aquaticed.asp#youth .
And thanks Rawlinson for the pictures I used.