Like most, whenever I take a group out for ice fishing, particularly beginners, the hope is always that the fish will be plentiful and hungry. You can fish in an area that has been productive for a few days, but then the next day, poof, there's nothing there.
It is the nature of fishing that things never stay the same from one day to the next. A fellow co-worker of mine had his mom, Vicky, visiting from California and she'd heard that he'd been out on the ice with me a few times and said she wanted to give it a try.
For someone who's never been ice fishing to ask to come, especially from a warm state that doesn't get ice, it was exciting for me and I was hopeful I'd get them all on some fish. As the trout fishing on a few spots on Deerfield had still been good, I decided we'd go there and see if they were still around. I also invited my friends Beau and Steve to come since with ice fishing, the more the merrier.
As we all got to the spot, I showed Vicky how to read a flasher, put on a plastic correctly, and some jigging cadences to use. I also made sure she got to drill a hole or two with my K-Drill to get the full ice experience. No sooner had she dropped down than fish began showing up on her screen.
After about 5-10 minutes, she had her first fish on, a very nice rainbow! After the picture pose, the fish went back down the hole. I was extremely happy for her to have caught her first iced fish. Vicky would go on to catch 4-5 nice rainbows during the time she, Sean, and Stella were out there, which she was absolutely thrilled about.
Sean spent much of the time helping with his mom or with Stella, but he eventually started fishing as well. Not five minutes later, he hooked up with a much bigger fish. At first, we thought it was a good rainbow, but after a few minutes of repeated long runs, we knew it was a lake trout instead.
He'd never caught a Laker before and I told him it was going to be a long fight, especially with light line and rod. The Laker made repeated long runs and with each run, his smile was bigger and bigger, as was his exasperation that the fish wouldn't give up.
We made sure he knew to keep the line away from the edges of the hole as best as possible and let the fish fight and run so it didn't snap the line. After a long fight, I was able to help him hoist the fish out of the hole. Everyone was thrilled to see the Laker and he posed with it proudly for the pictures before he released it. It was the only fish he caught that morning, but it was good enough for him.
The rest of us all caught more rainbows as the morning progressed and we left very satisfied. I was just happy to see Vicky having a good time and catching some fish as well as Sean's Laker giving us all a lot of excitement. The smiles said it all. It'll make for some great stories she can tell her friends back in California and I know Sean won't forget his fight with the lake trout. Some great memories for all who were there for sure and that, along with the pictures, is probably the sweetest thing of all.