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The “Fishing Transition Period”

The “Fishing Transition Period”

The “Fishing Transition Period” — if you are not a die-hard, year around fisherman, I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about. The period I’m referring to generally falls during the month of March. It’s that time when the lake ice begins to weaken and starts to break up, making ice fishing unsafe, but it’s also a time when there is not enough good open water to fish from shore or even from a boat — in other words, lake fishing comes to a standstill for a time.

Of course, stream fishing is still pretty much out of the question at this time also since trout season doesn’t open until April and the water is still too cold for bass fishing. About the only thing we die-hard fishermen have to cling to during this period are some catch-and-release-artificial-lures-only trout fishing on some special regulation stream sections on several designated streams.

That being said, however, this winter has been pretty good to the ice fishing crowd; there is still some good ice, and we may be able to work in a couple more weeks of hard water fishing. Compared to last year, this year has been pretty productive. As of this writing, I have been able to hit the ice thirteen times; my wife and a number of friends have accompanied me on those various outings. Collectively we have landed literally hundreds of panfish, and while many have been quickly returned back into the lake, some have made their way to the dinner table, making a day on the ice a double blessing.

As we watch another ice fishing season melt off into the distance, however, there are some other pleasing memories — like the opportunities I had to introduce several new people to the ice fishing community. It was great to share their excitement as these first-timers caught their first fish ever through a hole in the ice.

One young lady, in particular, Ashley Wilmont, stands out; my wife met her in the parking lot where she told my wife she loved to fish but had never been ice fishing. I should point out that even though Ashley had never ice-fished before, she was hardly new to the fishing business. Ashley went on to tell us that she is a member of the U.S Women’s Fly-Fishing Team, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that in a future article. Sheila invited her out onto the ice to join us, and for the next four hours, the two of them sat in the ice shelter catching fish after fish. Ashley is pictured in this article with one of the “doubles” she brought up onto the ice.

In an effort to work through the anguish of possibly not having a fishing rod of some sort in my hand for a few weeks, I plan to reorganize some of my fishing tackle, replace some worn line and maybe even do some fly-tying in preparation for some trout fishing in the special regulation areas. While the weather and cold water can be a bit uncomfortable, fly fishing for some of those special regulation catch and release trout is a good primer for the regular trout season later into April.

Oh, yeah, one more thing that will help me through the “Fishing Transition Period” is one more hunt; as I write this piece, there is still one week of rabbit hunting left, and my buddy George and I plan to bushwhack a few to close out the hunting season.

By the way, it’s not too soon to make sure your boat is in good working order — we’ll be launching before you know it.

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