My cousin Chris, our buddy Rick, and I went up to Door County to experience the whitefish fishery through the ice. We hired guide Jimmy Doering from Cast and Catch Charters who picked us up at the launch and took us to his permanent shacks. None of us are very experienced at ice fishing, but the concept was fairly simple. Drop a slider rig to the bottom in 80 feet and figure out a jigging method to entice bites. In the morning the fish would only hit with very small lifts and pauses, but later in the morning the only way to get bit was a hard aggressive cadence to get a reaction strike. We learned a bunch and for the first time in my life, I really enjoyed ice fishing. Of course, all I literally had to do was show up and have a few drinks and snacks for the day. The shack was so warm you could fish in a t-shirt or shorts. I did hole hop outside a little bit, but for the most part I stayed in the heat. After getting our limit we brought them over to a fish cleaning service and they fileted and vacuum sealed them. We were supposed to be back out today, but Jimmy got alerted by the Coast Guard the icebreakers were coming through to clear the ice for the shipping boats. Apparently the ice breakers can go through 16 inches of ice at 4mph. It was disappointing but not too bad considering the weather today was horrible anyways and we probably were not going to do as well as we did yesterday. Jimmy had to race out and remove all his shacks today. This year his ice fishing season was only 3 weeks due to warmer early winter weather, the broken ice shelf, and the coast guard ice breakers. I'm glad we got to try it out and definitely will do it again. Bringing up a big whitefish from 80 feet on a little ice rod is as fun as anything I do during open water!
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