Ladies and Gentlemen...the ice fishing season has officially begun in the high country. For the first time in my life, I can say that I ice fished a lake in the month of October! Me and a new friend of mine, Shaun hit the high country on Sunday, October 27th. We left the trail head at 9:30am with our packs in tow and hiked in several miles - we made good time getting to our destination. We were a little nervous during our hike in because there wasn't much for snow on the ground, the sun was shining, and a few shallow ponds off the trail were completely open. When we arrived at our destination, we were both pleased to see that a good majority of the lake was locked up. We checked the ice depth as we walked out onto a flat, we found a good 3 inches of clear ice with an additional inch and a half of cloudy ice.
It wasn't long before Shaun was hooked up with a decent Brookie. The trout that came to play that day were long (13"-14") and colorful but they were quite skinny. We spent a few hours up there, the action wasn't fast & furious but we still caught fish and had a blast. We couldn't have asked for much better weather and I was able to set a new Personal Best for Brook Trout length. Being from the Midwest, if I was icing by Thanksgiving I was happy but now I can say that I've iced a lake in October!!!
A GoPro video of the outing can be watched here:
Wow! I have never met you, but think I hate you. Ok, that's not true. I am just very, VERY jealous! Nice job.
Nice man. Is that the lake we spoke about? I really wanted to get up there but couldn't make it. Glad to see you got on the ice and fish.
Hey Lew, it's not the lake(s) that you and I spoke about last week. It was a different one.
It was a good trip. Nice write up. Mitch, we can fill Lew in on the location since he's hooked me up once before.... and maybe he'll take us to his spot to catch cats through the ice!
Hahaha maybe. That spot got flooded over with about 6' water. Hafto go try it out first. Maybe this weekend
Well let's hope the lake is okay after the flooding!
Good work getting that October ice! What elevation was that lake at? We tried one at 10,800 but it was still 3/4 open. Soon enough we'll all have so many ice fishing options we won't know which one to choose!
Let's just say it was above 10k but still below 11k. Nearby shallow lakes/ponds were 100% open.
that's awesome!... Where did you go?
Look for shallow lakes above 10k but in close proximity to much higher mountains. Proximity to tall peaks is just as, or more important than elevation of the actual lake. Use NOAA and other data to hone in on likely early ice targets.
Did a guy with a German Shepard puppy ask you about the ice and the fishing?
A few people did. I think the guy you're talking about might have had a spinning rod with him. It looks like you had some good luck up there also. Were our holes frozen over good or just skim ice on them? It wasn't as cold as what I thought it would be, compared to last year.
That was me (with the puppy). Thanks for the answers that day. I had planned all week on bringing my ice gear up. A little sketch after the previous morning were warm. Then I heard they were still open. So I brought spin gear. Had to walk further that day to get into fish. Went back today though..
Great blog, and thanks again for the info yesterday!
Mitch gets credit for the blog and video. Great talent there. James, you should have walked out and fished with us. We had plenty of gear. It would have made the story that much better!
Haha thanks James! Anytime I'm on the ice I have way too much gear! Definitely could have lended ya a pole to ice a Brookie but it looks like you did just find today! Well done!
Awesome, beautiful fish. Trout tastes yucky...
Hope to get my Walleye on soon! The Fall eye bite was a bust Be carefull with the Hardwater fever, dangerous ice....
went up 2 balmen res 3-4 inches of ice
Think Chicago Lakes has maybe 3-4 inches of ice now.
Getting out again tomorrow!
Nice job. The ice fishing is there for folks who want to work for it. I got out last weekend with Bassackwards up into the high mountain lakes. First November ice fishing for me. I was jonsin' to get on the ice since spring. Lol. Found bookies AND tiger trout.
Very nice! I think I fished pretty close to where you were yesterday. We got about 25 cutties/rainbows each. Nice day to be on the ice!
On 10/27 the ice was 4.5 inches thick. 3 of those inches being good, strong, clear ice.
How thick was it the last time
10/27 was the only time I've been there and when this blog & video are from. I got out on Sunday again and caught Cutthroats but that was a different lake. The ice varied from 3"-5" there
I'm very interested in learning to ice fish! Freshwater fishing is a new concept to me let alone ice fishing.
Where's the best place to camp and ice fish? Our family loves camping (we've a travel trailer) and want a reason to winter camp - ice fishing!
I've a buddy that explained what we need to get and what to do but now we need a location. Hitting the trails is not a great idea as we have a 3 and a 6 year old - they only keep up so far.
Any help for a noob is appreciated!