Early Saturday morning, Alie and I ventured out to the overpopulated Chaska Courthouse pond. For those city dwellers that enjoy ice fishing, this lake has most likely been in their conversation.
Opening morning is certainly like no other. As anglers, we are all used to waking up early and heading out for that quiet morning bite. This is not the case. Anglers arrive specifically to gain access to a closer parking space.
Well wouldn't you want a good spot on the ice? Yes, that plays a good role, however not the priority this morning. We as anglers also tend to be somewhat territorial when it comes to our fishing spots. Again, anglers that have fished opening morning on this 10-acre pond know that most fish traps and hubs literally touch each other.
Portable fish house villages are established. Much of the small two-part pond is covered in shelters. It is certainly a sight to see. The pond sports a small bay which is split by a long point that opens the rest of the main lake which is significantly deeper. Our targeted area, believe it or not was still available. We chose to set up in about 8 feet of water near the point from past experiences.
This lake is stocked regularly as a "put and take" lake. Starting in October, the DNR stocks upwards of 1,500 trout on top of requesting additional adult surplus trout that the DNR can provide. The small body of water hosts a vast quantity of year class fish and species. Be ready to bend rods on Rainbows, Brooks, and Brown trout when fishing here.
We tend to arrive fairly early. Being a unique outing for us, we make a big "to-do" about it. We load up our Clam Outdoors 4000T hub shelter in our sled along with the rest of our gear. By gear, I am talking about grilling gear to cook breakfast.
This year we were in company with another couple, so we made cooked bacon, eggs, and hash browns before the official opener to fishing. Our guests were quite impressed!
For fishing these trout, I like to keep it simple. We generally pick a shallower area to fish, anywhere from 8-13 feet of water. A basic medium action Dave Genz Legacy rod with 6 pound Frost Line from Clam Pro Tackle does the trick.
Then, the presentation of choice is a 1.5" white tube jig. Seeing these trout on the Vexilar FLX28 is not like seeing other species. Trout are very fast fish and they prefer to chase their prey when feeding.
So, watching them on the screen sometimes is very rapid flashes and they are gone, or they hit and they hit hard! On this particular day, we were only treated with top siding one decent Rainbow trout, but marked several throughout the morning.
It is a neat and unique experience fishing this small lake for the opener. If you ever have the chance, I would recommend trying it out. Remember, you have to be open minded, and understand that it is okay to share the space with other anglers on this particular day as they are as well!