WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Ice fishermen are back in the thick of it

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Ice fishermen are back in the thick of it



Finally, the ice is safe enough to allow the hardwater fishermen out on the ice to do some ice fishing. Silver Lake saw a number of ice fishermen last Saturday and Sunday, and if the weather holds, many bodies of water in Connecticut will be seeing action.

Good, safe ice has been a long time coming, but we should keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100-percent safe ice.

I really enjoyed seeing that many folks on the ice, and why not? Ice fishing is a different kind of sport, especially when the cold winds are blowing.

The sport has come a long way from back in the 1950s when I first started to ice fish. Back then, when you wanted to make a hole to fish through, you used an ice chopper or spud. Some of us even used an axe to chop our ice fishing holes. It was a guarantee that when you broke through to the water, you were going to get wet.

Today, power augers, some electric and some gas-fed, are the vogue, though some ice fishermen still use a hand auger to drill their holes.

Back in those “good old days,” we would usually set up our ice fishing camp on the shore with some type of a canvas erected to break the wind and, of course, there would be a camp fire to warm us in between chasing flags.

Today, you can see state-of-the-art tents mounted on sleds on the ice. Many of them even have portable heaters.

Of course, it goes without saying that electronics have taken over the sport of ice fishing. Now there are even portable fish finders that can locate some fish hangouts. It makes me wonder if all of this gadgetry will eventually hurt the sport of fishing. Only time will tell.

A good thing about ice fishing is that it allows a group of friends and family a chance to get outside away from the crowds and enjoy our great outdoors.

Cooking out goes with the sport of ice fishing. While we used to do most of our cooking on the shore line, today with all of the new gas-fired grills, many of them portable, the sky is the limit when it comes to preparing chow on the ice.

I have the fondest memories of fishing Silver Lake with Ken Statske and our kids and some of the cookouts we enjoyed. This was back before venison was in my freezer, but I had a small gas stove that ran on white gas and would use it to fry pork chops and onions.

And let me tell you if you want to fire up the appetites of anyone on the ice, put some onions into a frying pan and get them caramelized. Today, it would be some nice venison that would accompany the onions and a hard roll.

Just the thought of it is making my mouth water.

Years ago, a gang of us would get together just about every weekend and ice-fish Gardner Lake in Salem, and each week one of us would have to do the cooking, Two of the most innovative ice chefs were Ted Kittredge and Bruce Vass. One time I remember Vass coming up with a menu that even had rib-eye steaks and salad.

The bottom line is that an ice fishing trip is not just for hardcore fishermen, but also a time that you can bring the kids and let them chase the flags and have fun on the ice like kids usually do. Ice fishing is a great sport and an excellent way to get outdoors. Why not give it a try?

RV & camping

Speaking of getting into the great outdoors, it has not gone unnoticed that the pandemic has turned a lot of folks to camping, some of them relying on tents and some of them on RVs and camp trailers.

The 39th Northeast RV & Camping Show starts today at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford and will run through Sunday.

The show has grown in popularity and offers a chance for both hardcore campers and those thinking about doing some camping to get an up close and personal look at what is new in the camping world.

This year, the show promises a diverse selection of RVs to satisfy the needs of both the novice and veteran campers. Top New England dealers will exhibit 2022 models that will be on sale at show-only pricing and financing. By attending you can go into the many RVs and get a really hard look at them to see if that is what you are after.

There will also be numerous campground exhibits and information on the campgrounds in Connecticut and even out of state.

Be assured, there will be plenty of dealer and campground representatives on hand to help you get the information you are after.

Show hours are Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Box office ticket sales are cash only. No credit or debit cards. Adult tickets are $15. Children 14 and under get in for free.

All attendees must wear masks inside the building during the event. This is a City of Hartford mandate.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.