Sitting in a 7 ft. x 7 ft. popup shack is more entertaining than one would imagine who's never been. Being in such close proximity keeps it lively. The fifth hour on the ice led us into conversations I could never have imagined. Ice fishing has a way of bonding friends... cold beer doesn't hurt either. A flag can and will pop up at any moment, so you need to keep your eyes peeled. In order to keep things interesting, I make friends play a little game - as soon as you spot a flag pop up, you are charged with hollering "flag!" as loud as humanly possible. If we're on a semi-trafficked lake and a neighborly fisherman yells over to let us know we've got a flag, we all need to finish our beer. It's all in good fun.
Tending traps keeps a guy fairly busy. If one particular spot shows more promising fishing than another, we drill holes closer to the productive area. Should a certain depth be more successful, we'll adjust the other lines. Hooked bait also has a way of disappearing via tricky fish and an empty hook produces no fish. If nothing is working - we'll adjust everything. If that doesn't produce fish, you drink more. I can't say that tends to help us haul in large fish, but it helps keep the cold at bay.
Today we throw out 10 traps and test lake depth with a sounder. We hover our shiners 2 feet off bottom. Our goal is to find a school of perch, but hopefully a hungry trout. Before an hour's time, we enjoy a nice fight with a handsome white perch. Hoping this catch is a promise of future activity, we drill additional holes nearby and move a few traps around. Within the afternoon, we release three white perch as well as haul in three keepers. As w pack up to head home for a fish fry, I describe to the others my famous fish recipe. Perhaps I'll share it with you soon... Cheers!