Annual Ice Fishing Weekend, 2015

Finally! I start looking forward to the annual ice fishing weekend months in advance. Taylor and her friends make the trip home from college and meet up with friends from home. We eat like royalty, fish, camp out in the house, hang out on the ice and at the house, and laugh until we cry. Literally. Crying. It’s so much fun!

We were able to drive to Patten Pond thanks to having little snow. Steve dropped off a couple of the guys and the augers first so they could start drilling holes. I went in on the last trip and they’d already caught seven fish. I don’t think anyone kept count of how many fish we caught. There were a few chain pickerel and yellow perch and a lot of bass.

ice fishingTaylor’s friends Connor Shaw and Grainne Dougherty were here last year. Grainne and Taylor got their exercise running after flags. Their traps were the furthest away and they had a lot of flags. Liam Mellaly, Joe Feely, Kiki Bell and Brandon Cross were here. Brandon and Taylor volunteered at Craig Brook Fish Hatchery last semester so they’ve had their hands on a lot of fish lately. They’re all students at Unity College. Laura and Gilman Phelps, friends from home, joined us on the ice and for supper Saturday night. I gave up at 10 pm and went to bed. They were still talking and laughing but I was beat.

Grainne Dougherty, ice fishing

Grainne Dougherty runs across the ice for her next flag.

Liam Mellaly, ice fishing

Liam Mellaly working on one of his lines

Joe and Kiki had never been ice fishing. Joe learned the process from start to finish and caught a lot of fish. It didn’t take long before he was tending his traps without help. Joe had a busy weekend. He also learned how to shoot skeet. Just like ice fishing, shooting skeet came naturally.

Brandon Cross, Joe Feely

Brandon Cross is ready to take off for his next flag while Joe Feely releases a smallmouth bass.

Connor Shaw, Grainne Dougherty, ice fishing

Connor Shaw holds out a smallmouth bass before releasing it.

During a break in the action we had lunch. Seafood chowder, corn chowder and chicken noodle soup helped warm us up. Saturday’s high was 7* and the wind blew all day. It wasn’t too bad near shore and having heat on in the shelter was a big help for those of us who got chilly.

Taylor taught Kiki the ins and outs of ice fishing even though Kiki didn’t fish. She also learned how to use the auger with help from Connor and drilled two holes.

kiki connor

We kept two bass, a few yellow perch and a few pickerel. If we’d realized on Saturday that we wouldn’t be fishing on Sunday (bad weather for driving so they went back to school earlier than planned) we’d have kept more.

grainne joe

taylor kikiTaylor graduates in the spring with a degree in wildlife biology. She’s applying for jobs in fisheries. We don’t know where she’ll be a year from now. We hope she’s fishing with us but if she happens to be too far away to come home for the weekend we’ll still welcome her friends home. I don’t like to think about an end to our annual ice fishing weekend.

Brandon Cross pulls up another nice smallmouth bass.

Brandon Cross pulls up another nice smallmouth bass.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.