The ice fishing proposition says this:  you walk or drive out onto a several hundred (or thousand) square-acre lake, punch a hole through the ice and that ten square foot area beneath your hole will be swarming with crappies, or blue gills or, better yet, walleyes.


This dog won't hunt for me.  The odds of fish being under your chosen hole are just too long for this novice.  Plus, moving to a different hole becomes a Mark X production because of a canvas or wood shelter.  So you wait, doubling down that the fish will come.


Waiting pretty much describes my ice fishing experiences.  Sometimes in horror.  Several years ago a buddy talked me into ice fishing on the St. Croix.  We drove through North Hudson and down a small gravel road to the river.  The outer edge of the St. Croix was marked with a foot-wide margin of open water.  "No problem," said my buddy as he gunned his Suburban over the gap.  He howled with laughter as I discreetly held the passenger door slightly open while we motored to the middle of the river.


After proving to me there was two feet of ice with his auger I felt some relief.  But when I dropped my line into the water and my bobber slammed against the down river side of the hole, all I could think about was that same current carrying my body away under the ice.  I'd float out from under ice somewhere in Missouri.  A long time to hold your breath.  All these thoughts went through my mind as we waited for the crappie bite to begin.  It didn't.


One highlight of my ice fishing career happened on Mille Lacs.  Another buddy showed me how to carve up an empty beer can just so.  When the can was hooked on the line of a third buddy, who was out checking with ice fishing neighbors, it put up a remarkably walleye-like fight when that guy was alerted he had a bite.  It was our only catch of the trip.

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