"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan

Sunday, January 25, 2015

3 Trips to Strawberry Reservoir on the Ice

So I've been slow to write these up so I'm combining them into one post.

This all started on January 16th (Alex's Birthday) where he and I headed up to Strawberry to spend the morning together ice fishing.  We got started a little slower then we wanted to but we still got up to the Strawberry Marina and onto the ice by about 10:30am.  We had had some advice sent our way via a PM on BigFishTackle that suggested we take a right at the bottom of the marina boat launch and head into baddger bay.  We were to target about 30' of water and fish between 12' and 25' down.

We got setup in 40' of water (there was a minor city forming up where we got told to try) as that was about as close as I felt was "polite" to be to others.  The finder showed a number of fish marks that came through at various depths so we got our poles setup to try different levels and see what would happen.  We probably stay'ed in that location longer then we should have, but it took until about noon before anything actually happened.  Within about a 5 minute window I had one of my poles bend and I hooked into a nice ~18" Cut and a group just next to us also (at about the same depth as us) hooked into a Cut as well.  Looked to be about the same size.

 That was about as much action as we had (or anyone around us) for a while more.  So we stayed there till just before 1pm and then we figured we would move and try another spot until we headed home.  We moved over to just east of the boat launch a few dozen yards and setup in about 12' of water.  Again about as close to others as we felt comfortable.  We were there for less then 15 minutes before I had another on my line that was fighting quite well but before I could get it's head into the hole it broke off.  Looks like it broke at the knot.  I'd guess it was near the same size as my last fish, though it looked to have had a whiter tone to it's belly, maybe a rainbow?  Anyway a bit after that Alex had a big bit on one of his lines and he missed the hook set.  That was it until it was time to head home for the rest of our plans for Alex's birthday.


The next trip was on the 19th.  Alex, Max and I headed back up to try again at Strawberry.  We got an earlier start and got up to the lake and on the ice by about 9am.  We didn't go to the same spot as it was already overrun with people.  So we took the road that goes up to the "dry storage" area near the marina that gives you a view down toward Mud Creek.  We parked along the road and pulled the sled down to the small bay north of the marina.  There were only 2 - 3 other groups on the ice there and it looked like an interesting place to fish.  We setup just on the outside of the bay on the southern end in about 20' of water.  Goal for the day was to get both Alex and Max to land something, and a bonus would be that some of them might be rainbows we could take home for dinner.

Alex had his first fish landed by about 10am.  It was a nice slot Cut so we snapped a couple pictures and sent it back.

Then about a half an hour later Alex landed #2 slot Cut.  Even though Alex was only 10' over from Max and me it got me wondering what kind of a difference that might be making.  Alex had had a strike or two that he had missed along with both of these nice fish and Max and I had had nothing.

Finally about 20 or so minutes later we had a fish near one of the poles Max and I were running that we saw on the finder.  We watched it slide up to our lure and the pole tip dipped down.  We set the hook and Max started to bring the fish in.  Landed his first slot Cut for the day with a big grin on his face.

Things slowed down after that and just after noon we decided to move.  Some of the other groups had left so we moved over to the north side of the bay and we were able to come back into the bay a bit.  We lined up near a point and setup in about 12' of water.  While setting up Alex found he was over a weed bed so we had him make sure he kept his lure just above the weeds and Max and I were weed free but about the same depth just a few feed further out then Alex was.

We had Max's pole get anther light bite that just dipped the tip every so slightly (and we were just lucky to be watching).  So we set the hook and Max was at it again bringing in his #2 slot Cut, with just a bit more of a grin then the first.

The weather had been quite nice the whole day, though we learned Max's boots left a lot to be desired (hole in one let moisture in) but we all quite happy with the time spent on the ice.  Max was also quite happy with the transportation arrangement he was able to negotiate for the trip back to the Jeep.

Then to finish the trip off here is a set of nice panoramics from up near the Jeep first looking north toward Mud Creek and then panning around to looking toward the marina.


The last of the 3 trips was on the 23rd.  Jason and I planned to head up without any of the kids to do some fishing and see how well we could do.  We got up to the lake and headed out on the ice by about 9:30 ( a bit slower then we intended, but due to technical difficulties we lost at least an half an hour ).  The badger bay area was a small city when we got up there so we looked north toward mud creek and chose to go that way from the road up to the "dry storage" area at the marina.  Similar to my last trip with Alex and Max.  Though instead of going to the small bay just north of the marina we were going to go down to the "corner" that looked right north into the main lake body and toward Mud Creek.  We chose to head to the SE corner where the point comes out into the water.  We found an area and setup in about 21' of water.

First fish came in at about 11am.  It was a nice slot Cut that we got a nice photo of and sent it back home.

Next fish came about 25 minutes later on my other line.  This one again was a nice slot Cut that got sent back.

The flasher/finder wasn't showing many fish at all, both fish caught came out of nowhere and hit.  So we were not sure if we were at the right depth or location.  So we started to spread out a bit.  I setup one of my poles in closer to the shore, south of us, in about 10-12' of water.  I was right over some weeds.  The pole was maybe 15 or so yards from my main chair and I had the pole strapped into the holder for a bit of safety.  While Jason and I were talking I kept an eye on both poles and then noticed the far pole was starting to curve, then bend, then as I started my dash toward it it tried to topple over into the hole (I was both glad to have the pole attached well to the holder as it would not have gone through and also happy I got there in time to grab it before I had to put the holder to the test)...  Anyway after a really nice fight I brought up the first and only Rainbow that would later make a nice meal.

The rainbow measured out at about ~18" long and as the picture shows it was quite healthy looking.

Jason had during this time drilled another hole to put his second line in to increase our area.  We kept watch for a while and I missed a strike on my pole near the sled (Jason saw the hit), but I was oblivious and it didn't give me a second chance.

The wind started to come in pretty strong from the north during the day so we had to bundle up to keep warm.  This made it harder to watch your pole for a light bite.  It also both helped keep the holes from fully icing over due to the wind but also seemed to help freeze at least parts of the holes faster from how cold it chilled things down to.  Ice was looking really healthy for all the holes we put in it.  Thickness ranged from about 9" to closer to 11".

We hung out for another hour after the rainbow was caught and then called it a day.  The wives had some evening plans for us to get back to (dinner at Texas Roadhouse.... Mmm ribeye steak!) and we were happy to have had the day out.

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