Every year, I get a few opportunities to fish with my dad. My siblings and I were fishing with him from early ages, both in the boat and on the ice. He was always one of the reasons why I grew up loving the sport and learning about conservation of this precious resource.
As a "walleye purist", as I refer to him as (hates catching anything that isn't a walleye), he rarely kept fish unless we were wanting some for dinner and anything over 20" was automatically thrown back. As kids, we didn't really ice fish per se. It was more family time on the ice, with my brother and I doing almost anything other than fishing.
It was tip-up fishing only when we were kids as dad didn't have a flasher yet, so it could be boring on the ice for us youngsters. We skated, wrestled around, built forts and had snow ball fights, and were pulled behind his four-wheeler in our sleds. If we caught a fish, it was just exciting to race to the flag and pull in whatever was on the hook, which was usually walleyes.
Fast forward many years and as I've gotten more and more into ice fishing over the last decade, I always enjoy the chance to get out with dad again, only these days, I'm fishing with him. With both of us having modern gear, we can enjoy our time together on the ice as well as catch fish at the same time.
We still argue over who caught the biggest or most fish or why he thinks using sonar is better than flashers on the ice (he uses an old Lowrance X-67 whereas I'm running with Vexilar's FLX-28), but it's all in fun. On our recent trip together, we both enjoyed some walleye fishing and being on the ice with him is something we share together and something that I always treasure (my brother open water fishes but wants nothing to do with hardwater). The fishing may have been slow for our intended quarry, but there were a few decent ones alongside some big perch and, of course, they were all released.
It's important to treasure our time with those who inspired our passion for the outdoors. Dads, grandfathers, friends of our parents, or relatives can instill this in us. These trips are always highlighting for me and I'm always looking forward to them. Be sure to make time for those who gave you what you know about the outdoors. I'm looking forward to starting this passion in my own daughter as she gets older. I want to pass onto to her what my dad passed onto me.