Winter cure-all
Chase those blues with ice auger in hand

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 07/00) - Winter in the North is not without some expected hardships.

For some, it often means simply renewing the cable subscription and hunkering down until spring releases us from winter's icy grip.

For others, however, winter signifies the beginning of a treasured recreational pastime that is especially well- appreciated within the Yellowknife region, considering the bountiful supply of lakes and rivers surrounding it: ice fishing.

Dale Johnston, owner of Wolverine Sports Shop, has accumulated plenty of ice fishing tips over the years and he had no qualms about sharing them with our readers.

"You're allowed two holes, so I like to use a cisco in one, and an airplane jig is good for the other one for catching trout," Johnston says. "A lot of people don't realize that the summer fishing spoons work well in the winter as well."

Johnston also says that it is important to get your bait into the water as soon as the hole has been drilled.

"You have to get your lure in immediately, because the noise of the auger attracts the fish, Johnston says.

"I've done a lot of experimenting over the years that shows that this seems to be very effective."

Local fishing enthusiast, Jeff Coates, notes that although ice fishing can be a very satisfying experience, it is important to keep oneself entertained when the going gets tough.

"Make sure you grab a pal, bring some tunes and maybe a deck of cards," Coates says.

"Ice fishing has its share of excitement but it can be really boring too when the fishing is slow."

Randy Forrester likes to take the trip out onto the lake one step further, by making sure he packs a hearty feast.

"I get an oil drum, fill it with wood and get a big fire going, " Forrester says. "Then I break out the chicken and steaks for a little barbecue out on the ice."

Forrester also has a little trick for getting a leg up on the fish when they are being particularly elusive.

"After I drill the hole I put a big piece of carpet over top with a hole cut in the middle of it to fish through."

Then he pulls another piece of carpet over his head so the fish can't see daylight. "That way when you look down the hole you can see 20 feet down and see when the fish takes the bait."

Overall, according to Forrester, ice fishing is just what the doctor ordered when in need of some rest and relaxation. "It's a lot more relaxing and a lot less work than fishing in the summer."