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"I'm never gonna get into ice fishing"

by: Tom McInerney , Colorado 2/12/2018
I never really liked ice fishing. I did it a couple times growing up with my dad, but he hates the cold and never really felt confident walking on ice. I remember being 12 or so and going out to the lake across the street. He had me stay on the dock. He tied a thick rope to the dock and around his waist. Then he walked out with the auger and after about 30 feet he went through. Everything held and he as able to pull himself out and get back. Lost the auger. This was early days. We didn't know enough or have much gear and this pretty much turned him, and consequently me, off of ice fishing.

Time did its thing. I moved to northern Colorado. I remember telling myself, "Man, I'm never gonna get into fly fishing or ice fishing, that's crazy." Uh-huh… Here I am addicted to carp on the fly and putting my spin reels on 24-inch rods.

Since I moved here I kinda got into ice fishing. It was relatively cheap and easy. $30 auger, $10 rod or two, and just switch over my reels. Stocker trout on wax worms. I only went out when the weather was nice and the ice was thick which here on the front range means I went out 2-3 times a year. It was fine and fun.

Fast forward again. I have two kids. I fish less. Duh. I get out on my own when I can, about once a month which I'm happy with. I go for walks and put a rigged rod in the stroller, you know, just in case. I just assumed winter meant no fishing. Then Matt tells me he's been getting into ice fishing and got a pop-up. We recently went to Chambers and had a blast. You may have read that the wind interrupted our fishing for a bit, but we still had a lot of fun. And I really liked that tent. 

The next weekend had nice weather and Douglas had reports of good ice. It'd be a good opportunity to get out on the ice and bring Thomas, my oldest, he'll be two in March. I knew we'd likely only be out there for an hour or less, but it'd still be fun. Matt and his son ended up meeting us out there with his pop-up and it turned a one-hour trip into a three-hour fun fest. At the start Thomas wasn't really having a good time out there in the Douglas wind, but in that hut, out of the wind, he enjoyed "fishing", snacking, and just babbling along with us. This convinced me. Ice fishing in a tent would be a way I could fish and spend time with my boy. It'd be an "investment".

The next weekend Thomas and I were in the garage checking out our new Quickfish 3. Thomas, Matt, and I had another fun Douglas outing. Mind you, all these times I never caught any fish and I was slow feeding goldfish to Thomas as he scooped minnows and splashed the hole, but like I said we had a blast. Our last trip out, to Lon Hagler, wasn't quite as fun. For a split second I looked away grabbing gear and Thomas stepped in a hole. We wear PFDs most of the time and I use a 5-inch auger so there was no "falling in" danger, but needless to say, he didn't like that much and I rushed him home to get him in warm bath. (I live about 5 minutes away from Hagler.)

After that, the warm weather returned, ice conditions have deteriorated, and we haven't been back out, but I think the tent was a success. And I like ice fishing, I even look forward to it. I'm hoping for another freeze before carp season starts again so we can have one more good experience together on the ice. I'm excited to share this stuff with my boys. My dad even said he'd like to come out with us some time… so long as the ice is thick and there's a heater in the tent.

Fishing with Matt at ChambersAt Douglas before Matt arrived with the pop-upMuch happier in the tent
Wind shelter on DouglasThe pop-up is important yes, but DON`T forget the snacksFalling asleep on the sled ride back
Blog content © Tom McInerney
Member comments
Hawaiian Punch, CO   2/12/2018 4:22:27 AM
A hut can make the worst day much more pleasant,even more so with a young person.I got my first one in 1975 or 76.Its no fun sitting on a 5ga bucket,with the wind blowing over you . . .I will never forget my first hut and how it changed the way I ice fished.I like to set the hut up so the wind is to the back of the hut and the front can be left open to the sun.Just stopping the wind can be the difference between staying or going home.
bron, CO   2/12/2018 5:00:03 AM
Good read Tom! I had no interest in ice fishing until my sons cub scout troup did an outting at Chatfield abbout 4 years ago and after that we were hooked. We look forward to it every winter now.
anglerwannabe, CO   2/12/2018 5:39:04 AM
LOL glad you been having a great time with Matt and your little ones. I not sure this will ever be something I enjoy. Absolutely hate the so called "fishing" aspect of it. Well ok, I hate tip ups... feels like being a little kid again.. someone to hook my fish and then I reel it in. Last time with Kev wasn't so bad because actually used the rod and felt the bite... the thing I do really like about the ice fishing is hanging out. That part is very enjoyable. It's more of a social event. Some of you guys I'm very happy to hang out with anytime. But if open water is calling.. I make no promises. lol
pikeNcolorado, CO   2/12/2018 7:22:31 PM
Love the pic of the little guy. It's as if he's looking up at dad in anticipation of what is next.
Coyute, CO   2/14/2018 9:11:47 AM
Me either.
Hawaiian Punch, CO   2/14/2018 3:03:33 PM
I went to Aurora yesterday(2/13/18) and there was a steady 6-8 MPH wind,set up the hut and anchored it. I fished all day in a long sleeve shirt,jeans and Sorells. When I left,I left a big square snow free spot,my hut makes heat and melts it spot clean on days like yesterday.
PikeD, CO   2/15/2018 2:07:16 PM
Walden has great ice, lots of fish, and you can drive on the lakes. (All Ice comments are per my experience last weekend, Ice can change fast).
Anteroman, CO   2/17/2018 6:28:39 AM
Ice IMHO is for Bourbon/Rum not drilling little holes in! Bill
Tom McInerney (opencage), CO   2/18/2018 4:03:30 PM
Thanks all. The tent is definitely a game changer and has been absolutely worth it in regards to comfort and getting out with Thomas. James is 7 months, so he'll have to wait till next season, but we'll all be out together soon enough.
Tom McInerney
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