Sunday, January 20, 2008

TV on the Ice

I seldom spend much time huddled in front of the old tube, but yesterday was as kool as it gets.
My old fishing partner, Sid, and I decided that it was time to hit Spirit Lake for some ice fishing.I loaded up my track rig and drove to the drop off point, where we would have to track in for the last four miles to the lake.
It was a nice day with the temp around 15 above and a bit overcast. We didn't care if it did snow. Snow never is a deciding factor when it comes to ice fishing.
The four mile trail was covered in about 30 minutes and we were out on the ice for another mile.Normally we fish in a protected cove on the south end of the lake to escape from the wind. The wind can blow out the propane heater, which isn't kool. We didn't have a problem from the wind either.
We always park the track rig to block any wind that may come up, and hide behind it. If it is too windy we get in the ground blind. Which ever the case is, we have no intention of getting cold.
Usually I use my fish finder to look for fish, but yesterday Sid brought his infrared fish camera.We dropped the camera down almost to the bottom, and watched for fish to come by our baits.That has to have been the best reality TV I have ever seen. It was a hoot to watch those trout and silver salmon come by and find the baits.
The screen was about a 10 inch picture and in the clear water the fish were easily seen. We got a bigger kick out of fish watching than we did catching the fish.
I don't know how many we released, but we only kept three for dinner. They all ran about 2 pounds each. We released a couple of rainbows that most fishermen would die for.I am sure I ate the silver salmon that would have won the fish derby. Oh well!
We usually don't keep any of the ranbows. Not that they aren't good to eat, but they aren't nearly as good as the land-locked salmon. We don't take a bunch home either. We only take enough for a meal. Should we want more to eat, it's all about going back and getting the fresh ones. Fresh is always better than frozen. I have a freezer full of halibut and sockeye fillets, so I can be picky when it come to fresh fish in the winter. Besides, it just gives me an excuse to go fishing. Tough, huh?
In case you were wondering, no, I didn't fall down the ice hole this time!!
This week, when I can get off of jury duty, we will be going out into the moose hunting woods to look for wolves and cut more burls. Lin says she needs more burls to make bowls.We know where some nice burls are growing from our traveling in moose season.
Burls grow on the sides of birch and spruce trees. We simply saw them off, dry, and hollow them out. It's a bit of a job, but they sure make nice bowls. Some are full of little "birdseye knots" and are gorgeous.It beats sitting home watching the tube. Unless it's fish watching of course.
Town folks go to the opera. We go out just to hear the wolves howl. Personally wolves howling is much nicer than hearing some opera singer's shrill screaming which sounds like a pig with it's head caught under a fence, or bellering like a bullfrog in a rain barrel.
I don't suppose that the city dwellers would think much of watching fish either.How much fun could fish watching be??
I would guess it may be as good as watching soaps. Whatever "soaps" are!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Paying Those Aweful Dues

It always gets my goat to get caught up in minor things that should go unnoticed. I don't go looking to get got, but I do get my share of totally getting whacked. It usually comes at the worst possible time. No, it always comes at the worst possible time.
Take, for an example New Years Eve. My wife had been bugging me to get the cob web off of the little flood light globe in the ceiling. Not such a tough duty, except it was 32 feet up to the ceiling in the front room.Instead of going out in the frozen storage shed and getting the extension rod, I decided to wet a towel and throw it up there.Surely I could hit that cob web. It was hanging down three feet!
It took a couple of tosses to hit the lamp, and then I managed to wrap the wet towel around the lamp.I don't know how many years of tossing it would have taken to be able to wrap a wet towel around a lamp globe 32 feet up in the ceiling.I managed to do it in three tosses.
Pam, from next door, showed up about then to see my miracle. She thought it was quite funny from the way she was acting.
I don't mind bringing joy to someones heart, but my dinner guests were due to show up at any minute. They were to be there for several hours due to it being New Years Eve. I know they would have seen the towel hanging up there.
My little normally sane wife found it in her heart to remind me how stupid it was to be throwing wet towels at the ceiling.She also reminded me how many weeks she had been trying to get me to get that web.
I dashed out to the shed, grabbed that frozen extension rod, and ran up the stairs. I knew it would be closer up the stairs. I actually was able to grab the wet towel the first try. Just before it caught on fire from the hot lamp shade.
Pam's husband, Wade, showed up with his extension rod to save me about then. He was in his t-shirt, and it looked like boxer shorts. It may have been some sort of Bermuda shorts. He was also in his tennis shoes. Not bad considering it was about zero outside and a foot of fresh snow.I guess he's still grateful that I whacked that big grizz that was tearing up his freezer. I think he thinks he owes me.Not really, they are just good friends and best neighbors.
My guests showed up in the next minute. I made it with a whole minute to spare!
My first fishing trip to Hidden Lake was a flop.
The ice was still too thin to be driving on, so Tom and I walked out about 200 yards and set up. Tom had managed to break the thermocouple on the propane heater. I don't do well at 10 above with no heater. I did manage to tape the plunger down on the heater and get it to work. It took me two hours to get it done.
You have no idea how cold my fingers got in two hours on a frozen lake.The fish had their mouths wired shut also. They must have been on some sort of weird diet.
Yesterday, I took my brother, Gibby and his grandson fishing. We had never fished Stormy Lake, but they wanted to try to catch some northern pike. I don't really care for pike, but it was something to do.Those pike must have been on the same diet as the lake trout in Hidden Lake.It was an enjoyable day anyways, until we got ready to leave.
I had drilled many holes through the ice for fishing. I also drilled one close to my track rig. It was the hole that I put my fish finder in.That way I could plug the finder into the power in the rig.
When we were done fishing and I was busy putting the gear back into the rig, I managed to step into that hole.The ice was about 18 inches thick. My boot slipped down the hole and into that nice cool water.Actually my foot went on down until I bottomed out with my whole leg down the hole. It was only an 8 inch wide hole. I don't know how my whole leg managed to fit down it, but fit down it did.
That was no big deal in itself. I have stepped in those holes before. The big deal was I couldn't get my boot back up out of that hole. All of a sudden, the hole that my whole leg fit into wasn't now big enough to allow my boot to come out of.I can tell you from experience, that while your foot is in ice water, is no time to try to figure out how the hole was suddenly too small.
Trying to remain calm was out the door!!
The only thing that saved me was Gibby reached down the hole and grabbed the top of the boot while I pulled enough to slip my foot out of the boot. I had saved my boot!I poured the water out of my boot and put it back on my nice cold foot.
It didn't take long to drive the track rig the mile back to where the trucks were parked.I would have liked to have taken off the wet bibs, but the zipper down at the foot was frozen stuck, as well as the whole leg of the bibs was also frozen stiff.It did thaw out in the hour drive back home.
Lin wasn't too sympathetic. She kept up with, "The old mountain man got his little foot stuck in an ice hole"!!"How dumb is that"?? " Didn't even catch a fish"!
The next time we go fishing I'm going to drill a lot of holes for her so she will have a nice selection to choose from.
We are having so much fun, I can hardly stand it!!