January 3, 1997......a
beautiful, rare 55 degree day in the middle of a New England winter. What
better way to celebrate such a wonderful day than to go into the woods and fish a remote
pond that looks like the hand of man has never touched?
Debra, Chuck and I decided on Friday night that we would head into my father's
tree-farm to ice fish a remote 12 acre pond. I have spent many years in my father's
woods, but this past deer season I stumbled upon a large pond which I had never seen
before. Today was the day that we would investigate this pond (I found the pond one
month ago and already we're fishing the pond).
Getting to the Pond
We placed the backpack and hand chisel into the bed of the 4x4 Ranger. We piled our
beverages, our snowsuits, and our dog into the cab of the truck. We then drove the
12 miles to the 450 acres of trees and hills. Upon reaching the end of the snow
covered road approximately two miles into the woods, we unloaded the truck and loaded up
After walking for 30 minutes into the woods we came out of the thick evergreens and
emerged at our destination.
Determining Where to Fish
We immediately chiseled a hole in the narrow end of the pond only to find that the area
had less than three feet of depth. We proceeded to move down the middle of the pond looking for the deepest
section. The ideal depth would be somewhere around 8 to 10 feet deep. We were
optimistic that we would find this depth as the pond was quite large and the topography of
the surrounding area was very hilly.
As we continued to chisel holes, we were consistently disappointed to find depths of
less than 4 feet. Finally, we chiseled a hole which was close to 5 feet deep
and proceeded to bring up a lily pad from the water. Success! or so we
We proceeded to set out three tip ups in the area.
Remembering Why We Were Doing This
The most wonderful thing about fishing is that 9 out of 10 times you either strike out or
do "so-so". BUT.....then that 1 time you hit the motherload and really
have a great time. We carried our gear this far into the woods in the off chance
that this was that 1 out of 10 time.
Back to the Fishing
We did what we were supposed to do:
- Searched for the deepest water
- Set the tip ups
- Placed the shiners about 6 inches from the bottom
- Checked the shiners periodically to make sure that there was enough oxygen and that they
had not been torn from the hooks by a fish
Now, the reason we searched for the deepest water was because this was a shallow
pond. Had we been in a larger pond or a lake, we would have searched for a point,
submerged lily pad bed or some other type of structure. Yet, in this instance we
were simply looking for depth.
After about 45 minutes, we had our first "flag"! After running
over, lifting the tip up, and slowly feeling the line, all we pulled up was our shiner
....... with part of its tail missing. So there were fish here after all.
This was the only flag we got all day, but the fact that our shiner had been mauled was
a good sign. There did appear to be fish in this remote pond....even though it may
have been a simple pickerel.
We spent a great day out in the woods, we investigated a new pond, and we ended up with at
least one fish hitting a bait. All in all it was a good day. It wasn't very
successful for fishing, but it was a great day none the less.
Did I mention that during this time, Chuck wandered off to try to get a rabbit with the
.22 cal rifle. During his excursions he happened to stumble across a deer. He
couldn't identify whether it was a doe or not, but he said he got a good two to three
minute view of the deer as it walked by him. This was the fourth deer that he and I
came across since deer season. He got his during the season but I didn't. Yet,
I hunted this 450 acres and did see quite a few.
As usual, we went out for one reason and learned much more than we initially thought we
would. Because of a fresh snow, I was able to once more see a very discernible deer
trail which I had seen many times before during the past deer season. This would
surely be a good place to put a tree stand next year. Chuck did not hunt this area
because he got his deer early in the season. In seasons past he hunted my father's
woods, but he never traveled far into the woods and therefore did not see many tracks. During
today's excursion, we came across dozens of different tracks which were less than a day
old. This helped to convince Chuck that he should come up to this set of woods next
year with me.
We spent a great day in the woods; we though we were going fishing; we learned a lot
about an area for deer hunting; what more could you ask for.......