PROUDLY SPONSORED BY STANLEY TIRE
Thin Ice on Puckaway
I think that it is pretty safe to say that my favorite outdoor adventure is winter camping on the ice and fishing with tip ups. The following is a true story. For my entire life I have had three dreams with regularity. The first one I can fly and it is incredible and when I am flying I cannot let anyone see me.
The second one I am a soldier fighting in the Civil War. I am either fighting, marching or at a camp. The mood is somber and everyone is worn out. The third dream is that I am tip up fishing in the back yard of the home I grew up in, in Poynette.
In this dream I am literally fishing through the ground and always catching big northern pike. I can honestly say that I have
been experiencing all three of these dreams since at least the age of five.
So this past week I partook in lots of really fun things and cannot right about all of them, I mean I did my first winter camp ing trip on Green Lake counties, Lake Puckaway.
Monday, December 13th High 43, low 28
Michelle Chiaro and my golden retriever Ruby were my companions and this trip was FUN!
So we put in on the south side at Millers Resort, this place is like going back to 1970 and the owners/family are good people.
We hauled several large Otter Sled loads about four hundred yards onto the ice where we had a good 2.5 to 4 inches of ice. Actually I hauled, as Michelle conveniently arrived after my 4th slog and asked “can we have a beer yet”?
To start out our adventure we put out 3 tip ups a piece with 17-pound mono and large golden shiner on #10 treble hook, towards dark we would downsize to 10-pound test and a medium shiner on a #14 treble hook. About all I can say is go small with your hooks!
Anyways we proceeded to sit in lawn chairs, procrastinate about building camp and we met Michelle’s original request of having a barley pop or two.
By sunset, camp was built, rock and roll was playing and my “newest Mr Heater” was failing to stay lit.
At sunset one of Michelle’s tip ups went up and it had a light on it and that put us in a very good mood, actually we were already in a good mood. Michelle caught a very tiny northern pike which had her bristling with confidence in our $5:00 gator bet.
So let me tell you about this night, we were losing ice through- out it, about every 90 minutes we would have a flag and by 4:00 a.m. and yes we were still up we had seen 18 falling stars, a couple of times we saw two at a time. We actually thought the planet was going to explode but in reality we found out on the radio the following day that it was the biggest meteor shower of the year.
So we caught two walleye a 14.75 ‘let go’ and a 17 in the frying pan. Unfortunatly Michelle did not catch any walleye so that had me winning in the walleye bet. About 1:30 she caught a very chunky 26.5 inch gator which was let go as they have to be 32-inches here.
So as the night went on we hung out both outside my Eskimo ‘Fat Shack” or inside and we heated it with my cookstove. By 4:00 a.m. we had a full inch of melted ice on what hopefully 2.5-inches of ice for our floor If you dropped a glove or a hat it was soaked and we set Ruby up with a blanket in an Otter Sled, Kind of bad luck came Michelle's way when I got a flag and iced a 27-inch gator which thoroughly disgusted her as I was now winning both bets.
What really surprised me on this adventure as well with all of this good thick ice and all is that we were the only people camping on it.
So the following day Michelle once again found an excuse to leave “early” as supposedly she had something very important to do. In other words, I would be chief load toter! I had the last laugh as I had chosen to use one of her tip ups instead of mine as it was having pretty good action. Michelle was almost out of ear shot when it went up. I tried yelling but she could’nt hear me, I felt terrible, but could not leave an unattended line.
In all reality I was happier than heck when I iced a 32-inch gator and sent her a picture.
My back yard has changed but I am still catching gators in it!
BY MARK WALTERS