Similar to its warmer weather counterpart ice fishing is a relaxing sport on the water, but there is one major difference, the ice-covered ponds give the fishermen a bit of an advantage.
“It’s a little bit of a rehab for me, and it’s the only sport I know of where you can find fish and stand right over the top of them. There’s a lot of searching in this endeavor,” said fisherman, Mick Headley.
To make that search a little easier, Mick and his friends use a few tools to get the best catch.
“You need a halfway decent depth finder, the days of looking down the hole are done. Then you need a good power auger,” Headley said.
Once you’ve drilled your hole it’s time to use that depth finder to find your fish, put down some bait and start fishing.
Ice fishing tools are generally lighter than regular fishing equipment, some use smaller poles while others prefer what’s called a “tip up,” a hands free device with a flag that will let you know when you’ve made that catch.
“We’ve got a few tip ups set up here. We are fishing for Northern Pike right now then as the sun sinks a little lower we will switch over to Walleyes and Cropees,” Said Headley.
The DuPage County Forest Preserve has offered ice fishing for the past few years, allowing locals to gain access to the sport.
“Ice fishing is available to anyone that wants to come out when the conditions are right. We always want to make sure people are safe and cautious when they are coming out on the ice,” said Manager of the West Division Rangers at the DuPage County Forest Preserve, Jay Johnson.
If the lakes have ice at least four inches deep it is considered safe by the rangers, however they don’t test daily, so fishers come out at their own risk.
But for people like Mick the risk is worth the reward.
“It’s just being out in the fresh air and getting out of the house. You start getting white hair and who knows how many more times I’m going to get to come out here!”
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