"Icing" Champlain's Yellow Perch

The last day of 2009 brought me the first day of  fishing the hard water this season.  St. Albans Bay was my choice, as there isn't really a lot of ice on the big lake to speak of but I found 5" on the Bay. I wasn't able to fish on the ice where I initially checked, nor could I fish my second preferred location.  I shuffled out from the boat launch on Hathaway Point, and headed away from everyone else and the noises that go along with a crowd.

The first spot I tried produced  a few yellow perch and fewer "keepers".  I moved a hundred yards or so, drilled and tried again.  Better.  More consistent action and that means more keepers.  I ended the day with 26 "keeper" yellow perch, the largest, a hen, just over 12 inches.  I kept her, but kind of wished I'd of let her go to spawn in the spring.

Friday, the first day of twenty-ten, Cathy joined me.  Cathy and I always try to fish the hard water the first day of each year, kind of a tradition we follow, if...there's enough ice!

We took all our gear; shanty, heater, radio, munchies, the whole enchilada. 
At first we tried a couple holes someone else had graciously drilled for us.  They looked to be spaced just about right should we decide to set the shanty over them.  They produced a few fish, some were keepers but it wasn't enough action to keep us entertained.  We decided to move out further from shore, again, keeping our distance from the crowds.  Here we found more active fish so here is where we stayed.  We'd have schools swim by, we'd pick a few off, and the school would leave.  We'd wait patiently, and another school would swim by, looking for our offerings.

All said and done, the two days resulted in well over a hundred yellow perch pulled through the ice.  We kept a total 75, of which two dozen have already been fried to a delicious golden brown and served with Cathy's "special" mashed potatoes!

Be safe if you venture onto the ice, tell someone where you'll be and how long you expect to stay out.  Take a buddy and don't take chances!

Fish on, fish H8 me.

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