When I was in college, my dad and I went on a fishing trip to Canada with some guys from our church. There was a certain spot that got nicknamed "The Sissy Hole" because it was such a good producer for walleye. The guys who went straight to that spot got ribbed pretty good by the others. My dad found this to be pretty funny and has given the nickname to some of our fishing spots around here. I think that it's time to officially give this title to my in-laws' lake. While you hear about mostly mediocre outings on lakes around here, every trip to my in-laws' has been outstanding in one way or another this year. Yesterday was no exception.
I stepped out on the lake at about 8:30. I had pretty good ice fishing weather. The sky was overcast, there was just a hint of a breeze, and the temperature was hovering around freezing. This is pretty warm by ice fishing standards. Just enough of a chill to keep a layer of skim ice on unattended holes and put the sting on the end of wet fingers. Overall, it was completely comfortable. I felt like I lost 20 pounds not having to wear the extra 3 layers that the sub zero weather called for my last time out.
Stopping at the crest of the hill that leads down to the lake, I noticed that I had it all to myself. Loner that I am, this was a big bonus. It also meant no fishing pressure. When I caught that 40-incher last time, I marked the hole with a branch. My first move yesterday was to drop a tip-up into that same spot. Once the tip-ups were set, I went in search of the perch. I drilled my first hole in 12 feet of water and found them immediately. I felt pretty lucky to hit them on my first shot. I also caught them in some kind of feeding frenzy. Most of the time I couldn't even get my minnow to the bottom before one shot up 5 feet into the water column and grabbed it. I found myself scrambling to get my bail flipped and line tight time and again. I kept waiting for the school to move and for the action to slow down. You usually run through the aggressive fish and it slows, or maybe the rest of the school gets the idea when their pals keep disappearing through the roof. This one hole kept this kind of action up all morning. I'd stop for awhile to let my hands warm up or to get a quick cup of coffee. As soon as I picked the rod back up and dropped the next minnow in, the madness would continue. I limited out and ended up culling down to 36 nice eaters. The fish that I culled swam away to fight another day. It's amazing how long they will live out of the water when the temperature is just right. After being on the ice for at least a couple of hours, those fish sprang right back to life as soon as they hit the water.
I messed around with a couple of jigging rods, one with a spoon and one with an airplane jig. Both had big minnows on them. When I put the Vexlar on them, I noticed that both of these big minnows were getting harassed by something down there. I drilled a hole next to one of them and dropped in a smaller minnow. I got slammed one more time by a nice perch. It seemed that I hadn't necessarily drilled a lucky hole earlier in the day, but that every perch in the lake was eating anything that moved.
I started thinking about picking up my tip-ups at around 5:30. I had gone all day without a single trip. Just to prove me foolish for thinking this way, that flag popped that was in the 40-incher spot. After looking at it 153 times that day and finding it down, it gave me a nice little jolt to find it up and blowing in the wind. The paddle was spinning nicely as I approached. I stuck the fish while it was running and started the gentle tug-of-war. The fish buried itself in the weeds once and I had to pull with a little extra force to bring it out. This brief moment was slightly nerve racking. The battle wasn't quite as epic as last time and pretty soon I guided a 29-incher through the hole. I quickly got the hook out and ran it over by the perch to shoot the above picture. After a few shots, I slipped her back into the lake.
I always kind of laughed along with those guys about the "Sissy Hole," but I never quite understood the joke. Of course you head straight to the spot where the fish are. When most of the lakes around here, with the incredible pressure that they get, stuggle to produce, I'll come to this sissy hole every time. Judging by the talk on the ice fishing forums in the area, a lot of guys would give their left arm to fish a lake like this one. I don't think I'll call it the "Sissy Hole," though. "Glory Hole?" No, I think that means something bad. Don't look that one up. It will give your computer a virus. Better get away from the word "hole." You know what? It doesn't matter what you call it, I'm just thankful that I have access to this little piece of heaven. God bless the in-laws!