Sunday, March 18, 2007

Alaska Fish Hunting

Most outdoorsman either go fishing or hunting. Some of us do both at the same time.Before you conclude that I have spent too much time out in the cold this winter and possibly froze what brain I have left, allow me to clear up that statement.First of all, I'm having a lot of trouble with the "global warming" theory. I have been stomping around Alaska since the spring of 69, and this has been the longest dad-blasted cold snap that I can remember.It is supposed to be getting a tad warmer on the Kenai this time of the year. However it reminds me of all of the years I lived in Fairbanks and Tok Junction. I can't even remember the last time it was above freezing. That's normal in the Interior of Alaska, but not here.I guess I shouldn't complain because the ice is 3-4 feet thick, which means I'll be ice fishing a lot longer than normal.I really do miss trolling in real water though.Having said that, I have had to make some serious adjustments.I have been fishing a beautiful lake in the Kenai mountains since December. It is full of rainbows, kokanee, and some very large lake trout. Needless to say, I have developed a fine taste for lake trout.Many days I have sat on a bucket stareing down into 150 feet of water beneath the thick ice. Some days the fish are there and some days they are off visiting other fish relatives somewhere in another part of the 3 mile long lake.Usually the temperature is hanging somewhere in the single digits above or worse, below zero.I have found that the old "hindermost parts" were not insulated enough to keep from freezing and almost sticking to the old bucket.All of those painful circumstances caused me to come up with a few ingenious things to help stack the odds a little more in my favor.I bought a nice "Hummingbird" fish finder for my boat. Since a boat doesn't work well on a frozen lake, I adapted it to work for ice fishing.It wasn't really that hard of a thing to do. I simply mounted the transducer, which is the gismo that goes in the water, on a metal yard stick. Then I made a power cord to plug in the cigarette lighter outlet. The power-head, which is what the fish is displayed on, sits on one of my camera tripods. All of this stuff sits out there on the ice next to the ice hole.With all of my fancy high-tech fish finding stuff I can see the fish that are down under the ice. Sounds simple huh?Not really, unless I just happen to be where the fish are. Usually I'm looking at a vacant bottom, or just seeing small fish.I can't say that I'm any more clever than the local run-of-the-mill fisherman, I just don't particularly like frozen hands, feet and every thing else I own.So...I drive around the lake with all of my gadgets in the truck. I stop jump out, drill a hole in the ice, drop the transducer down the hole, and see if any fish are down there. I simply hunt for the fish. When I see the big lake trout down there, I drill a couple of more holes and get after them.The only real problems are the transducer has to be below the ice, and the power-head display has to be kept warm with a propane heater. Otherwise it freezes up and dies.I have also conquered that problem by using one of my moose hunting ground blinds with the heater inside.Should you venture to Alaska some winter and happen to see a camo ground blind out on a wind-blown frozen lake, please drop by. You will find old Bubba sitting in an easy chair with his feet in front of a propane heater watching his fish finder, while sipping on a steaming cup of blueberry tea. I may even have some of Lin's oatmeal and raisin cookies that I will share. Unless you are one of those who "asks me what I'm doing"!!!