Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Ice at "Da Field"

Fishing Time: 7:30 am – 2:00 pm
Weather:  Sunny, light afternoon breeze, T-20s
Moon Phase:  2% Moon
Location:  Scofield
Bait:  Jig head tipped with chub minnows
Who Went:  Hunt, Bobber, Alonzo, Me
First ice at Scofield was a priority this year and the recent cold temps had us itching to go up there and test the ice.  Our schedules didn’t line up and Rick went a day earlier than the rest of us, so he was the first to step on the thin ice.  It got me very excited when I received a picture message of this 6 pound 10 oz beast that he landed. 
His fishing report was of non-stop action, but very thin and sketchy ice.  With a low in the single digits forecasted for that night I figured all the ice could do is grow!

As I was loading my ice gear the next morning, Bobber and his brother in-law Alonzo pulled up to my house.  I was shocked when my long lost buddy, Hunt got out of Bobbers car.   Apparently those two are Facebook friends and Bobber invited Hunt ice fishing to surprise me.  Hunt was in town for Thanksgiving.  That was a cool surprise.  So we loaded all the gear and arrived at Scofield around 7:30.  There was no snow on the ice and the ice looked very fresh. 
In fact, the only holes we found were the ones Rick made the day before.  One other group showed up for the day, but other than them, we had the lake to ourselves.  No auger was needed today as two punches with the spud bar are all it took to break through to water.
The ice was so clear you could see a good 5 feet down and the shallows were swarming chubs.  We used the spud bar and quickly speared a bunch for bait.  They would get trapped between the shoreline and ice layer for easy pickens.  I realized very quickly that the predatory fish were loving life gorging on all the chubs when I caught the smallest cutthroat of the day with a 7-inch decomposed chub minnow hanging out his mouth. 
We set up shop and instantly began catching fish.  Most were small cutthroat, but we did eventually land a few nice ones.  Bobber marked another species off his list with this nice tiger trout. 
The fish were so aggressive you could pull your jig from the bottom up to your hole and watch the fish follow and swarm your bait. At times, two or three fish would be fighting over the bait.  We were fishing in 11 feet of water. 
We used tip ups and that was fun, but didn’t produce many fish.  When the flag would go up, Hunt and I would run and try to set the hook, but missed almost every fish.  Bobber being from Ohio is more acquainted with the tip up method and he landed quite a few.  Hunt and I never did figure it out.  Hunt even put a 12 inch chub on one of them, hoping a 20 lb tiger trout might come pick it up, but it never happened. 
The fishing stayed consistent most of the morning and while I was watching two fish swarm on my bait about 5 feet below the ice, a big cutthroat blew right through the smaller fish and smacked my bait and ran.  It was a fun battle and I was able to get this nice 5 pound cutthroat onto the ice.
Bobber, not to be outdone, landed another 5 pound cutthroat about an hour later. 
Those were the two nicest fish of the day.  We landed 3 tiger trout and the rest were all cutthroats.  No rainbows.  After about noon the fishing died and the sun came out and got the ice talking.  It started getting a bit sketchy as this short movie shows…
First ice at Scofield brought in two 5 pound and one 6 pound 10 oz cutthroats in two days.  I think (for now) the Berry is dead to me.  Scofield is the new trout paradise, and I love the fact that you can always hope for one of those monster tiger trout that people seem to keep pulling out of there recently.  

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