Friday, January 8, 2016

Wisconsin With Kids ~ Ice Fishing Up North

If you can remember back to the sunny days of summer, I started a series of posts:  Wisconsin With Kids.  It's been a while since the last addition to that series and since ice fishing and Wisconsin winters go together like.....say, bread and butter, and the winter free fishing weekend is fast approaching, I figured it'd be the perfect time to highlight one of our favorite winter activities - ice fishing.  And because central Wisconsin isn't wintry enough for us, we usually head Up North for our ice fishing fun.

This has been a crazy winter.  We had rain in December, the pond froze over and then opened up again to finally freeze up the last couple of days in December.  That's definitely not normal.  We prayed and wished really hard that Up North would get enough cold to freeze up Blockhouse Lake, and sure enough there was just enough ice for fishing when we got there.

I'm going to share with you our way of ice fishing with small children.  It works great for us, and truthfully, it's the only way I'll ice fish with youngsters in tow.

This here is The Green Tree Getaway.  It's located just a few steps from the lake and is the warmest, coziest, ice shack I've ever experienced.  It's only a few steps from the lake and has great patio doors for watching tip-ups.  We're able to watch our tip-ups from the comfort of a cabin, complete with gas fireplace, satellite TV, playing cards, and Pillsbury cookies in the oven.  

The night before, adjustments are made to the tip-ups in the cozy cabin.  The gas fireplace adds plenty of warmth even on the coldest nights.

Some of the necessary supplies for our little getaway:  an ax, an ice scoop, and lots of 5 gallon pails.  I wish I would've taken a picture of all the pails lined up; it was a lot.

Here's what it looks like in the morning.  Everyone is out drilling holes and setting tip-ups.

Nick likes to jig fish, too.  He's hoping to catch a panfish.  No luck this time.

And what everyone is waiting for......the catch.  Looks like Joe got a nice Northern this time.

We had a weekend of wind trips (that's when the flag goes up, but only due to the wind and not a fish).  What a bummer.  Lot's of running out to the tip-up for nothing.  But, since you can't tell, the minnow buck has to go along anyway.

Amber got a flag, but it looks to be another pesky wind trip.

Emily caught a nice fish.  As you can tell it wasn't that cold; Peter and Joe were willing to wait outside without wearing any jackets for Emily to bring the fish up.

Maria loves traipsing behind on tip-up runs.  5-10 minutes outside, multiple times, is just right for her.  In the past, we've done the ice fishing all day with only an ice shanty to keep warm thing and, um, no thanks.  The kids (and me) like it so much more with a warm cabin close by.  See that smile on Maria's face, it wouldn't be there if she was cold, wet, and miserable.  Just sayin'.

Another benefit of staying at the Green Tree Getaway is that, come dusk and the tip-ups are brought in for the night, we get to hang around doing basically nothing other than watching Fast and Loud and playing cards.

Sometimes even 11 year old boys get sick of watching TV and pull out a book to read.

And husbands who don't get much time to read at home, still don't get much time to read, but that's not the cozy, cabin's fault.

Trying to read his something to read Christmas present - The Jesus Cow.
Everyday is a good day for a little nature study.  Peter and Maria and I followed these crow tracks across the ice.  Peter was amazed that they look just like turkey tracks.

And just in case you're thinking I holed up in the cabin and snapped pictures from inside (which I did), that's not all I did.  I really did spend time out on the ice in the cold and I have a selfie to prove it.

Ice fishing with kids.  It can be done, even with the littlest ones if done right.  If I've peaked your interest you can check out the Wisconsin DNR website for info on the free fishing weekend.  There are a few events throughout the state where equipment will be provided.  All you do is show up.  Check out their website for details.

I feel a cold one coming on - stay warm!