As much as I hate to admit it, late ice is upon us in the Black Hills, thanks to the warmer weather, but I'm still hopeful for a few more weeks on the ice. As such, we had a friend visiting us for a Rush hockey game this past weekend and I asked her if she wanted to come out on the ice again since she'd come out for her first trip about a month ago.
Shyra agreed to come, so the tough part was deciding between Stockade or Deerfield lakes since they currently have the best ice. As staying warm would be more important for her, I decided it was better to head to Stockade where it would be 10-15 degrees warmer than at higher Deerfield. So we set out to find some bluegills and perch there.
We hit the south side of the lake and hauled the gear onto the ice, including my Clam Legend flip over for her so she'd have a comfy seat and a way to get out of the wind should it come up.
Well unfortunately, I hadn't checked the bars in a while and noticed three lock nuts connecting the bars to the sled had come off and were nowhere to be found. So she wouldn't be able to use it.
Lesson learned here: always do some maintenance checks on equipment periodically during the season. But she took it in stride and just kept her back to the wind when it inevitably came up.
Fortunately, the perch were biting well for us. We fished in 6'-9' of water off a rock face, then moved along the weedy shoreline as the fish were hanging in cover in the shallows.
Shyra caught a good number of nice perch using a Clam Snow Drop while I had luck using a Northland Tackle Mitee Mouse tipped with a Maki Jamei. I also downsized a bit later to a Eurotackle Drop X jig as well as an 8 My Bait rainbow teardrop jig paired with a J and S Custom Jig Versamite Jr. when they started getting finicky.
With the fish biting, it was great to see her pulling them up and having a good time in spite of the increasing wind. Can't get a nice day without the wind it seems. Hopefully the season will last a bit longer, at least till April is my hope. Open water fishing is starting to creep into my mind, so time to start prepping soon. But I'm going to enjoy the last of ice while it's here.