Saturday just past we had quite a crowd out on the ice. Aunts with nephews and grandpa's with grandkids. Fish house's in many shapes color and sizes, humans to boot. Today it was just me. The lake we fished as a group was packed, the rumors proved true, there were loads of pan fish and plenty of fishermen going after them. The kaleidoscope flowing out onto the lake from the public access left me feeling like I should have worn my sunglasses. Today I went to a completely different lake, with much different, maybe even lower expectations. I wasn't after a lot of panfish, I wanted a trout. It was ice and a lake, surrounded by trees barren of any leaves, save the pines. Saturday we drilled hole after hole in over 17 inches of ice. Augers growled all day as everyone knew the next hole was the honey of them all. Trucks snowmobiles and four wheelers were never out of eyesight. Chasing perch bluegills and sunfish was a moving game of hide and seek but we all came well prepared. The vast array of rods and tip-ups would make it almost seem impossible that a fish could even get past our underwater fence of fishing. Today I drilled one hole, lowered the solitary bait, and there I made my singular stand, even if all I did was unfold a chair and plop down into it. I put my back to the wind and my face in the sun. Lunch on Saturday was a large aluminum pot filled with melted snow to boil up brats and hotdogs to feed the dozen of us. The line to get fed was never long, but a hot tube steak was a prized lunch and nobody was going to miss out. Today, and since I had packed my single cold roast beef sandwich, I chewed on it in a rather leisurely pace enjoying each and every heat infused horseradish smothered bite. Saturday the fish buckets filled quickly with everyone adding to the larder. Today it took all of the morning and part of the afternoon but I got two nice lake trout. There was nobody to show, no one to tease me about the one that was too small or congrats me on the one that was full fat and going to make quite a meal. I walked of the barren lake surface; no one else was at the trail head. Saturday, when we left it looked like an outdoor sporting goods show, just minus all the mega mall walls. Today, there was a lot less to look at, and it looked real good as well. The trout whisperer

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