Late Ice Unpredictability
My confidence from last week that I'd be able to get a couple more trips onto Stockade for pannies was shaken a bit with another trip there earlier this week, which just went to show me, that even an educated prediction is never a guarantee when it comes to late ice.
Heading there with a couple of fishing buddies, Beau and Nick, I'd expected the few days of warmer weather followed by the blizzard of this past weekend to not have affected the ice on Stockade too much since it was so good six days before. Boy, was I wrong!
I could tell that the edges had been thawing and starting to open along where we were getting onto the ice at and even at the spot, I could tell it was getting iffy. Once past the access, the ice was strong. But, once we started drilling, I discovered that the ice had lost half of its thickness, going from 16" of good ice to about 8" of blocky, weakened ice in less than a week.
I told Beau that this would be the last time on Stockade. Fortunately, I'd brought along my safety equipment in case something should happen, but nothing did. Always bring the safety gear (spud bar, safety rope, picks, spikes, life jacket) on late ice.
While the fishing wasn't as good as the week before, we all did manage to catch a combination of bluegills, perch, and bass, with Beau catching his first smallie through the ice. Using combinations of Clam Pro Tackle Drop Kicks jigs and Bomb Spoons tipped with Maki plastics, caught the majority of what came up through our holes, so at least the last trip there wasn't unproductive.
Getting off the ice a few hours later sealed the deal for us not coming back till open water. Thanks to a warming sun, the ice cracked and groaned the last five feet before the shore, with both Beau and myself breaking through, but at least being quick enough to not get too wet in the process. So, until open water comes to Stockade, it's off the list. Only one lake remains with walkable ice now and that is where the next trip will be.