Up North Ice Fishing - Long Lake Michigan

Back in January, Karrie and I went up the to cottage for the weekend.  We decided that while we were up there, we should go ice fishing.
long lake, ice fishing, snow, lake, frozen, michigan, tipups

One of the main problems we had was me being unprepared.  I forgot that the spoon-bit ice auger was in our garage at home.  I forgot that i brought it home to dig some holes in the back yard and never brought it back to the cottage.  That meant that we had to chop the holes using the spud bar.
spud bar, chopping, ice, ice fishing, winter, cold

Usually that's not a huge deal when the ice is 7" or 8" thick.  But it is a huge deal when it's one of the coldest winter's ever and the ice is over 13" thick.  It's hard to tell from this picture but my fingers are touching the bottom of the hole and the ice is past my wrist.  and we still had a few inches to go.
ice thickness, winter, month, long lake, check, ice fishing

But we eventually got 3 holes chopped in the ice.  One for the tip-up and 2 for jigging.

Usually i just go and buy grubs to fish with but this time i took a bucket and went to the bait shop at the end of the lake.  I figured that if we wanted to catch a big pike or walleye that we needed to use minnows.  The guy there was great, he knew where the fish were being caught and at what depth.  I was surprised when he said that most of the pike were being caught in only 5 feet of water.  At our end of the lake that meant that they were only 20 to 30 feet off of shore.

Also he gave me 2 big scoops of minnows and grubs for just a couple bucks.  He said that he was going to change the tanks that day anyways.

So now it was on to the second problem.  I don't go ice fishing very often and earlier in the year i took my new poles and homemade tip-ups to Katie and John's cottage.

Here's a link to back when i made the ice fishing poles and tip ups a back in 2010.
diy ice fishing poles, aluminum, pvc diy tip ups, pvc, one piece, simple, magnets
I figured that we would use them there before we would use them at our cottage.  I was wrong.  So that meant that we had to use our old stuff.  The night before i brought the sled and all the gear up the the cottage to work on.  That was a very smart move.  Usually i'm trying to untangle line and figure out what's in the sled, all while sitting on a frozen lake and wearing gloves.  Working on things the night before i was able to get it all in working order.  That meant making an emergency duct tape repair on one of my oldest tip-up.  This simple design has always worked great.
simple tipup, easy to make tipup reliable wood tipups to make

So we got all set up the next day, chopped the holes and started fishing.  At first it was great, sunny and calm.  But after an hour or so, the sun went behind clouds and the wind picked up.  We don't have a shanty or any way to stop the wind, so we decided to go up.
ice fishing on long lake, michigan, winter, month, chopping ice

But it was fun.  We'll have to go again some time with the newer equipment and ice auger.

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