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End of the 2016-17 Ice Season

Well, the 2016-17 ice fishing season has unfortunately come to an end for us in the Black Hills, nearly three weeks earlier than the past couple of years. Access to the last lake with good ice on it, Deerfield, was difficult when a friend and I went up there for one last trip late last week.

We had to search along the shoreline with a spud bar to find ice that was thick enough for us to walk across to gain access to the better ice. Once we located a spot, the "better" ice was showing signs of deterioration, as it was very chunky as I drilled holes with the Conversion Kit, testing it as I walked across it. The coming warm weather would definitely end the season so we both agreed this was it.

It was a slow morning to start with, but we were just happy to have one more trip onto the ice. We needed to enjoy it while it lasted and soak in the nice weather and the scenery.

The morning became much more exciting, however, when Matt hooked up with a nice lake trout as we were fishing for rainbows in the same area I caught mine the week before.

Both of us hadn't caught many Lakers this ice season so it was great to see him get to tangle with one on this last trip. After multiple runs, he managed to get it up to the hole where I could grab it and get it in his hands.

While not the biggest Laker at 23", it was still a terrific fight! After a quick measurement and some photos, the fish went back down the hole. We caught a few perch as well afterwards and I caught my last fish of season, a decent rainbow, before we packed up.

The Mitee Mouse from Northland Tackle tipped with an Impulse Water Flea was still working well as much as it had the week before, though the perch bit better later when I tipped it with some Eurotackle Mummy Worms.

The quickly rising temperature was making the trip back to the shore a little slow, as we poked the spud bar along to make sure the ice was thick enough to hold us. We did manage to find a spot to cross at and dragged our sleds and gear with us back to the truck.

So we said good bye to our ice season for the year, but we ended it on a good note with several fish, including Matt's Laker. During very late ice like this, we both took extreme precautions, including wearing our ice picks, using a spud bar and having a safety rope ready to go should the worst happen.

I also had on my Ice Armor by Clam Outdoors Lift Suit as well. If you have ice left, be sure to take every precaution you can to prevent any accident from happening and enjoy it while it lasts. I bid a fond farewell to the ice, but now it is time to get ready for open water.

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