(Again a month late...)
So having been watching the forums on BFT it was clear that the ice on strawberry was still solid enough for a last ice trip of the year. From the details other reports had shared it seemed that the easy to access spots had had enough pressure that people suggested looking elsewhere. So I got it in my mind that the mouth of the mud creek arm might be enough out of the way to not be where the masses had been. What I didn't know is if walking from the gate for mud creek (gate is as close a vehicle could get) or the marina would be the better pick to start from. I choose poorly....
It was a beautiful day weather was wonderful, maybe a bit too wonderful. As we walked down from the mud creek gate we noted that the snow on the dirt road was solid enough and then the ice seemed also more then solid. Reports said ice was about 30" deep and that matched what we say. The ice had a set of interesting layers to it through such that the top 6" or so was a mix of hard and less hard layers before you hit the solid base that was solid till you broke through. Well (being that it's been a month since we went) I'll spare a play by play as I couldn't retell it well enough now to do things right and simply say that Jason out fished my skunk of a day but we both came home with a limit and then some of UV rays and more then our fair share of physical activity. Before I explain that I'll throw in the token pictures:
So here is the short of the story... Fishing was slow and we moved around some trying to find the fish. We marked some and had a few missed bites but Jason landed all that we caught. I should point out that we drilled at least a couple dozen holes with the hand auger and I was very impressed at how well it did with the depth of the ice and how easy it was to cut. As the day went on the wonderful weather started to soften the top of the ice. This resulted in the edges near where we were softening up to the point you would, much to Jason's pleasure and joy, break through as you tried to get on dry land... So we packed up and started back. Now is where the poor choice for the day started to reveal itself... Those top 6" of ice layers I spoke of were now soft. They were now only firm enough to tease you with every step that they MIGHT just hold you this step before you would punch through to the hard base below them. This was like walking on a stepping machine the whole way across the ice. Well we made it to the mud creek boat launch where we would walk the snow covered road back up from there. At least here we didn't break through the ice near the shore.
Now if the stepper machine walk across the ice wasn't bade enough we now learned very clearly that the dirt road did not just have 6-10" of snow on it as I had wondered on the walk down... No, it was knee to hip deep the whole way and now the snow followed the example of the ice and taunted us the whole way to the vehicle... And it was a long way that took way to long to get back. Lets just say that lots of create ideas were thought up, tested and marked as failure as we attempted to make our way to the vehicle. There were no easy tricks or ways around it... It stunk worse then the smell I had coming off the ice without a fish to show for the day.
Well we made it... Eventually. We did drive over afterwards to the main marina and looked at where we could have parked there and walked to the same spot and thought very clearly that that would have been a better pick. Next time, which will be next year at the earliest... :)