Wind, Sketchy Ice, Pierced Lip, and Good Times
Blog by: Matt Snider 2/23/2021
Sunday I got hooked in my lower lip. The guilty spoon was on a rod laying in my sled and as we packed up to hit the ice I set a bag in the sled, tipping something over, which catapulted the hooks straight into my face. That is just how things have been going the last few days on the ice.
I grabbed the rod and a pair of hemostats, used my side mirror, poked the rest of the hook through and bent the barb down to bring it back and out. It wasn't as terrible as it sounds and I didn't make much of a fuss. I had my good friend in town with his son to take out, and my daughter joined me for a fishing trip for the first time willingly in a long time. A little blood wasn't going to deter me. It was just a part of a few rough days out on the ice.
In prep for the weekend trips, Thursday I got out on Lon Hagler Res
in Loveland to check out the ice quality after the fairly long cold snap we had. I couldn't even get out a few steps without the spud bar going through. I drove around to the other side of the lake and followed some tracks out. PFD on, ice picks dangling from my neck, I gingerly made my way around the lake banging the spud bar on almost every step. The ice wasn't bad in this area, mostly 4-5 inches or so, but every once in a while I came across sketchy thin ice.
My assumption that I had to be very careful was definitely confirmed. There was snow-covered ice and wet-looking ice where it appeared water had made its way into the snow and frozen somewhat. These slick looking areas were slushy and is where I found the most trouble. I found my way to some decent spots, drilled holes, and went searching for a few hours, always chopping with the spud bar as I ventured onward. Hoping to find some warmwater species, I marked only a few lazy fish and caught just one trout. Not what I was hoping for.
On Friday I got out on Douglas Res
before noon, just about the time when the day turned from nice to nasty. Winds kicked up to 30+mph sustained, and gusts seemed to be over 1,000. It was hard to stay balanced even in a squat. Most of the ice was good but I ran into a few spots that the spud bar went through. I again did some running-and gunning and in the end probably drilled 50 holes and trekked a few miles. Again looking for warmwater species like sauger and walleye, I hardly marked any fish and caught just one small trout.
My friend and I discussed heading up the next day into the high country but the forecasts called for strong winds. My tolerance for wind had been blown away. Down on the front range it'd be warmer and calm with mostly sunny conditions. We decided to head back to Douglas and keep searching for fish in areas I did not cover previously. They had to be there somewhere! We checked a few good spots I had not covered the day before, yet marked hardly any fish and caught one small trout. And again, wandering around on the ice was unpredictable - we retreated from a more than a few spots as the spud bar sound of "clank-clank" went to "thud-swish."
On Sunday weather forecasts were predicting that the heavy wind up in the hills was not subsiding. At this point I wanted to find fish, but I knew nobody would have any fun in the wind. The Loveland area presented the best opportunity to not get blown away, so we headed to Boyd Lake
with at least 100 other groups of anglers. We walked just outside the most crowded marina section, and settled in a likely trout cruising spot with depths ranging 12-19 feet all within shouting distance. I got the kids set up in a hut, and went out exploring the different depths and structure around us before settling back in around the crew, chatting and waiting for fish. We ended up catching a couple trout in the few hours we were there - it was nice and warm and we all had a good time.
So what was all this? I am admittedly not the most experienced ice fisherman but I know the lakes and I know the fish. It seemed like all the fish in the lake must've been huddled up in one spot of the lake the size of a living room, and we just didn't happen to drill over them. Perhaps I should've been fishing at night - not really an option for us this time around. I don't know, I guess sometimes it just goes that way? I am certain there are folks out there that found good fish these past few days in these front range lakes, but maybe it's better if you don't tell me.
The lip isn't in all that bad of shape, the kids had fun, we had good company, and even caught a few fish. Maybe that's all that matters. I am pretty sure that IS all that matters. So I won't complain. I just needed to get this off my chest, thanks for listening. Now I can move forward with a fresh outlook for my next trip. Stay safe out there.
jshanko, CO 2/23/2021 11:11:36 AM
Thumbs up Matt, your to old for lip piercings any way.
Barnacles, CO 2/23/2021 12:35:56 PM
My kids would have got pictures of the spoon hanging from my lip. Then they would taunt me on social media while I was doing my first aid. As for the fish... probably just blind random luck, but I've found a more consistent bite in 6-8 FOW in recent weeks. Can't explain it, but I think they might be anxious for spring too.
Matt Snider (Matt), CO 2/23/2021 2:33:40 PM
Ha! I wasn't going to prolong the agony and let them get pics. Nor was I willing to experiment with a new look Jon. I fished some really shallow water in Hagler and Douglas, 5ft in Hag and 3ft in Douglas. Didn't venture as much at Boyd. I also fished much deeper water in all... and everything in between. I've got good maps and good markups too, thought I was on some decent topography.
bron, CO 2/23/2021 6:15:31 PM
Definitely give you an A for effort Matt. Ready for open water down here for sure.
skiman, CO 2/25/2021 7:04:45 PM
With that hole in your lip, you just couldn’t hold your mouth right to catch many fish! Lol
Sometimes, it just doesn’t go exactly right, and the ”Fish Gods” need to take their revenge out on somebody.
(We’ve all been there!)
Kithme, CO 2/25/2021 7:31:32 PM
Nice Catch and release. Hopefully no more hook ups. So many comments. 🥸
Anteroman, CO 2/26/2021 11:56:27 AM
Sounds like many of the reasons I use to justify going to Flori-Duh for the winter, come on soft water. Appreciate the adventures and hope to see you when the ice goes away Matt.
Matt Snider (Matt), CO 2/26/2021 12:00:41 PM
Definitely looking forward to a South Park trip this summer, and visiting with you and V! I'm also still looking forward to a bit more good ice fishing!