On a recent trip, I had the privilege of being asked to help with an ice fishing trip involving a youth church group of nearly a dozen 10 and 11-year-old boys and most of their dads. The organizer, a friend of mine, wanted help with providing tips for the kids and I also offered to help with equipment, like rods, hubs, and flashers.
I met up with him at Pactola and we ferried my gear across the ice behind his ATV and we started punching holes. Lake trout were the main target, so he drilled holes out in deeper water and I popped holes back in the bay area across differing depths, making sure to see where the deep transitions were at using my Vexilar FLX-28.
He also drove deeper into the bay to put out some tip-ups for northern pike. By the time the boys and their dads got there, we had over a dozen rods ready to go and ten flashers on top of that.
For the most part, the boys alternated between watching the rods, running around in the bay, and being towed around on sleds behind the wheeler. For those who were interested, I showed the kids and some of the dads how to use and read a Vexilar.
For a while, the kids were catching smaller Lakers at a consistent rate and it was sure fun to watch them gather around a hole whenever someone had a fish on. They were constantly wanting to be the one to grab the fish in the hole and haul it onto the ice and whenever they were playing around, as soon as someone yelled "Flag's up" and pointed, the group was off to the races, running, sliding, and slipping all the way till the first person grabbed the line.
This scene replayed itself nearly a dozen times throughout the morning and the slick ice made it more fun and interesting to watch. A nice pike and brown trout were caught on the shallower tip-ups that were not able to be released and the kids carried them around like trophies. All lake trout were released, so the boys got some tips on catch-and-release and its importance to the lake.
It was a fun morning of getting a chance to hang out with the boys and their dads and teach them some tips on ice fishing and using current technology to help catch some fish. With all the smiles and laughter, I saw and heard, I think these boys are well on their way to becoming lifelong fishermen and it was a great chance to help them along with their outdoors journeys. If they do another trip, I'll be volunteering to help again!