Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hard Water Fishing......................... better known as Ice Fishing

I have been playing with my fishing gear and getting ready for "hard water".  I went out a few times to get everything in order.  I made a list and started to re-organize everything that I will need to go ice fishing.

I thought I would drive down to Hamlin Lake, which is just north of Ludington.  I didn't know where to go so I headed for the first launch site.  Two cars and someone on the ice, so I thought "This must be the place".

I headed out and walked half way out and drilled a hole.  I used my fishfinder to check the depth.  Two feet!

Out a ways more, two feet!  After getting almost across the lake and still finding two feet of water I decided to head towards Bugg Point.  The parking lot was full of cars and there was a village out on the ice.  I found a spot and found 14 feet of water so I fished. 

I drilled three holes with my ice auger.  The red strainer is to remove the slush ice from the hole.  I will put my Vexilar fishfinder in the top hole and my two fishing poles in the bottom holes.

I have the top of my portable ice shanty pulled over and it really cuts the wind.  I can even take my gloves off.  I guess I forgot to mention clothes for ice fishing.  Well, you can layer and wear insulated pants and jacket.  Then you want a good warm hat and mittens.  My boots are Sorel ice pacs and they really do a great job of keeping my toes warm.

You can click on any picture to enlarge it.  I am trying to show my jig and hook setup.  I have a wax worm on the hook above the jig and a wax worm on the small hook below the jig.  The picture isn't the greatest.

On the end on my fishing pole is a spring bobber that is very sensitive to fish bites.  The pole is only about 30" long so it fits inside the shanty.

The bobber jiggles and I set the hook.  Out comes a 4" perch that could hardly get the hook in his mouth.

A couple more small perch and I am ready to leave.  This was just an exploring trip.  I found the area but want to fish in deeper water next time.

Another day, I decide to try some new lakes that I haven't fished before.   I see that it will be a little tricky getting into this fishing spot.  I am going to try a new place.  Blacksmith Bayou!  It is not plowed but has a two track headed in and down to the fishing area.  I hope I don't meet a car coming out.  There is only one car here and I head out on the ice.  I will have to use 4 wheel drive to get out of here.

The ice is about 4" thick but the depth is only 3 feet.  The other guy out is down in the back bay.  It is probably deeper there but I don't want to crowd him.  I only take the yellow pail and carry my gear as the portable shanty is too big to take down the stairs to the Bayou.  I get a bite.  Now that feels like a better fish.  I haul in a large rock bass.  I let him go and fish for another 45 minutes without a bite.  Time to move on.

Next I try a small lake near my home.  The ice wasn't good three days ago but I see two guys out on the ice so I stop.

Ia m back in the water.  You can see the spring bobbers if you click on this picture.

I finally start getting some bites in 24 feet of water.

Now that is more like it.  A couple of bluegills.  I hope I can find some more.

I forgot a couple pieces of gear.  I always carry a hemostat, a whistle, and nail clippers.


The last piece of safety gear are the ice picks I wear around my neck.  They are used to pull yourself up on the ice if you fall through.  I also have a long rope to be used to help in case of an emergency.

Well, back to fishing.  i kept the baits right next to bottom.  I can see my bait on the Vexilar screen as I lower it down to wards the bottom.. Fish show up on the screen and i just try to present my bait just above the fish.  If I am lucky, I can see the fish rise up towards the bait.

It looks like snow clouds are coming in so I better pack it up for today.  How did I do?  Just take a peak on the cleaning board.

I brought home six medium bluegills.  It is just enough for a meal for me!  Are they tasty?  You bet!  I hope to be fishing more each day after Christmas.  Any questions?  Want to go out ice fishing,  leave me a message, I might not be home and I might be

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Sports

What to do in Winter "Up North?"  It does get a little slow when the ice and snow comes and stays.  I did fish a few days but the snow has slowed me down.  I started checking the newspaper for things to do.  Boys and girls basketball is starting.

I went to the Brethren girls BB game last week and enjoyed it. This week, Brethren boys were playing Manistee Catholic Central. 

The Brethren Bobcats Junior Varsity fought a tough battle but didn't win.

Number 4, Gary Lodin, has a brother, Eddie Lodin, on the varsity.

The game was close but the Bobcats couldn't catch up. The final score was Bobcats 38 and the Sabers 47.

The pep band was comprised of students from both schools.  I thought that was a nice idea.

The Brethren Bobcats had only 6 members suited up for the game.  One boy had torn his ACL, and 3-4 boys didn't make their grades so it was going to be a long night for the Bobcats.

You can see all 6 Bobcats in the white uniforms.  Everyone would play in rotation in this game.

The local newspaper had printed a release that the boys team wanted  people to bring in mittens, hats, scarfs, and jackets for youth in the area.  It stated that when the hometown Bobcats scored their first field goal, the crowd would throw the winter items onto the court.

The team was ready.  Roddy MacNeil, the local bagpiper and baseball star, hits a nice practice shot.

The game was ready to begin.

The boys get ready for the National Anthem.

The cheerleaders were ready also.

The tip off was ready and the game will start.  It was nice to see the cheerleaders actually cheering for the team.  At some schools, cheerleading is just a sport and they don't cheer a games.  I like the old idea better.

Manistee scored first and finally  Brethren hit their first field goal and suddendly winter clothing was in the air and on the floor.  No technical foul, just a great community project the boys BB team got together.  Everyone helped to round up the winter wear.

It was nice to even see the local mascot helping out!

Manistee got ahead by over 12 points but the Bobcats kept fighting back.  Manistee had 10 players and they could keep fresh players in the game.  Manistee had Nick Doyle, a great forward who could really jump and score.

The Bobcats were getting tired.  JR Theodore, the tall, lanky center, hit some threes and several baskets to keep the game close.

Somehow, the score was tied at the end of the game and now it was a 4 minute overtime.

It was fun to watch a boys BB game where they still ran plays, not just 'run and gun'.

The overtime resulted in Manistee getting the lead right down to the last few seconds.

The Bobcats were getting tired and time was running out.

Four seconds to go and the Bobcats down by 2 points.  Guess we know what the plan will be as time resumes.

The ball goes in and the point guard, Eddie Lodin, big brother to the VJ point guard, throws up a 3 from the top of the key.  Going, going, .................

The Brethren Bobcats win in overtime by one point,   having never been ahead in the scoring.  They only had 6 players, they organized a community clothing event, the cheerleaders were cheering and the small town supported their players.  I love old fashion, small town basketball.  I guess there is something to do on a cold winters night!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Late Fall Outings

Sorry, I haven't posted much in the last month.  Did I go fishing?  Well, I am at 130 days so far this year.  I guess I have slowed down, after all I am a retired old......!

The leaves were turning in October.  This is a shot of the backwaters of Tippy Dam.

This is one of the first pike of the fall.  We were planning on getting some fish in their fall feeding frenzy but haven't found the frenzy yet.

This is in front of Loomis Landing.  This is why you have to take time out from fishing and notice the surroundings.  The wind didn't kick up until after 10:00 am.

What a thrill to have the pike up close to the boat and think he is ready to land.  Not yet, says Mr. Pikey!

The rubber landing net works well to land the fish and prevent hooks tangling in the net.

Now, we have switched down to the Manistee River just below Tippy Dam.  My brother, Gary, is into a salmon.  It is late for salmon but a few are still hanging around.  It was a little chilly but Gary was hot, hot, hot!

Yes, the spinner is in the jaws so it was a fair caught salmon.  I explained to Gary that this fish is in it's final spawning run and you just did "coitus interruptus" for this fish.  Gary released the fish to fulfill it's destiny.

This is the morning of November 5th.  Winter's first reminder of things to come.  It didn't last long but it was the first snow of the year.  Time to check the snow blower!

What do we do when it snows up north, we go fishing!  This is Guy fishing in the snow.  It was a little cold but we could still see a few fish.

The first brown trout of the fall.  They are only about 14" but they are fat.  They feast on the salmon eggs and get fat little bellys. 

This was a nice 16" brown.  I was using my 6 weight rod and he gave me a nice battle.  I see that he hit the white streamer pattern.

The weather cleared and the fall weather was back.   So let's go fishing.....

It is back to the backwaters again.  We are bound and determined to find this fall feeding frenzy.  Maybe today.....

First we try trolling some Walleye divers.  Maybe a walleye, maybe a pike.

If you click on the picture, it will enlarge it.  Notice the tall tree stump and fish?  I managed to hit four of these deadheads and lost 4 Cabelas Walleye Divers!  Lucky I bought the 6 pack!  I am going to PA for Thanksgiving so I'll stop at Cabelas on the way.  It always makes my trip 2 hours longer to PA!!!

Yup, we have been fishing every day and hope to make 6-7 days in a row.  Back at the Manistee, Guy has a salmon hooked to his spoon.  How did that happen?  I think Guy went 1 landed for 4 on the hook!  They are still strong and give a good fight.  All salmon caught on this blog entry were released to live again in their natural environment.  No fish was seriously injured to make this blog!

The next day we were back on the Manistee.  No pictures.  Why, you might ask?  I left the memory card in the computer on the last download and had my camera on the stream but no memory card!  Duh!!

This is Nov. 10 and we decided to try Portage Lake one last time.  Maybe a feeding frenzy here???  Guy has on his thermal underware, two jackets and is fishing hard.  I didn't dress so warm and can feel the 12-15 mile an hour wind from the east.

There aren't any other boats out on the lake today.  I wonder why?  They might miss the feeding frenzy!

The east wind is picking up a little.  No fish yet.  When does this feeding frenzy start?  The fish better make up their minds pretty soon or they are going hungry this winter when the water freezes over.  Luckily we have the whole lake to our selves.  Why aren't other fisherman out?

Well, that is that!  We did make it back to the dock as the waves stared kicking up.  Not one bite!  It still was a good outing.  It sure beats staying at home, or working, or sleeping, or cleaning, or cooking, or...........

Meanwhile, I slipped to the basement on my return to check on my ice fishing gear.  Yup, it is ready!  I still plan to fish tomorrow in the river.  Those fish might be in a feeding frenzy.....................

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MRT - Fall Colors!

MRT - Manistee River Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done.  I first hiked the MRT in the fall of 07 and fell in love with the views of the Manistee River and the vivid colors in the fall.

The MRT is between Hodenpyl Dam and Red Bridge.  The 18" wide trail is on  the east bank of the Manistee River and follows above the river for 10 1/2 miles.  The MRT crosses several streams with wooden bridges and you can see several small waterfalls from the spring fed streams.  The trail is well marked with blue diamond trail markers.

After two friends cancelled out on the Saturday hike, I recruited two students from my Manistee Glass Bead class.  One wanted to bring her dog, which worked out fine.

I drove several two tracks before the hike to find a spot halfway down the trail to park one of the vehicles for a shorter day hike but decided to do a down and back hike to save the newer cars from going down a small dirt trail.

My student and her dog, Cindy, at the start of the hike.

Cindy did turn around for a better photo but she didn't like to cross the suspension bridge.  Maria dug out her hiking shoes for the 4 hour hike.  We decided that with the Michigan - Michigan State game on at 3:30, we would just do about half of the hike today.

The trail is above the river and we saw lots of people on the trail and floating down the river.  The great weather had someone camping in every other spot along the river.  There are about 10 camping sites on the east side of the the river.  Most are on bluffs above the river and some are down near the water.  About 1/2 of the hikers had camping gear and 1/2 of the kayaks/canoes were going to camp also.  The weather was in the high 60's.

The fall colors were about 95% out!  What a great day for a hike.

The great weather brought out lots of people on the river.   I have never seen the parking lots so full!  It was nice to hike along the river and see people hiking up and down the trail.  We saw younger people with backpacks, single hikers, and whole families out for a hike.  How many more beautiful day do we get this fall?  I don't know but I intend to get out every day I can.

You can see how high we are above the river.  It makes for great views of the site and sights!  Cindy, the dog, was on one of those retractable leashes of about 15 feet.  She did a nice job of leading us up the trail and not getting tangled around the trees.

Remember to click on any picture that you want to blow up to a larger picture.  The trail was well-maintained and had nice wooden walkways over the small streams.  Most of the trail was level but there were a few switchbacks up and down some hills.

The leaves were mostly yellow on the east side of the river and we could see red and orange leaves on the west side.

This young man and his dog hiked in3 miles and set up camp for the weekend.  He was reading against the tree with his dog watching the hiking traffic.  A nice spot with a great river view.

I love being in the woods and hiking along through it.  Being in the woods right beside the river is even better.

As we were leaving, I noticed that the woods beside the road had some great color also.  Everyone was a little tired from the 4 1/2 hour hike but we all vowed that we would return and do the whole 10 1/2 miles hike next time.

As we drove by the lower end of the trail, we stopped at Red Bridge and saw an over-flowing parking lot.

Ah, one last look at the river and the foliage in prime colors.  Just one more reason that I am happy to live "up north".