Although Southern Maine has yet to receive substantial snowfall, the temperatures have dropped low enough to freeze smaller bodies of water. The more popular ice fishing lakes remain open as if it were mid-summer. This winter you must be an innovative atlas owner to find ice and catch fish.
Swinging into the local bait shop, I picked up a couple dozen shiners and headed for a remote body of water in search of trout. Hopefully dinner will consist of fish tonight.
We were the fifth fishing party on this large "pond". The wind picked up mid-morning and as temperatures began to dip, some decided home would be a better option.
Instead of going home, I decided on setting up my portable ice shack. This shelter, fitting four comfortably, will be my weekend home over the next three months.
In Maine you are allowed five traps on most water bodies. I set mine up to target several water depths. I'd barely setup the fourth trap and headed for the fifth when my girlfriend hollered, "Flag!" The fourth trap had snagged a brown trout within sixty seconds.
Reversing direction and darting quickly back to the last trap, I began peeling line from the submerged reel to the frozen surface. My heart pounded as the sight of speckled fish dashed to the waters surface. I swiftly yanked the 15" trout onto the ice and snapped a photo.
The first fish of 2012. Success! I am appreciative of mother nature and the beauty of the food she provides.
As the sun rests beyond the horizon, my stomach began to rumble from the baiting and checking of traps. We sprang inside for a bowl of store-bought chili - better than nothing!
Dinner began steaming as a spicy scent filled the fishing cabin.
We settled in with a good book after dinner and checked for a "flag" every few minutes. If a fish takes the bait, the trap launches its blaze orange flag.
The night draws on and the bait bucket begins to empty. We pack our gear and head for the Jeep. We'll come back tomorrow.