Enjoying an afternoon on the ice

Hunting season is over. Rifles have been cleaned, oiled and put away for the winter, along with most of our other outdoor gear. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any outdoor opportunities to be found.

Winter came early to the Palouse this year. After taking a phone call to inquire about local ice conditions, I thought it was past time to get out and see for myself. So I loaded the kids, some fishing gear, and an ice auger into the car and we drove out to Spring Valley Reservoir.

It was a pleasant, sunny afternoon, with a high temperature just above freezing. When we arrived, there were already a number of anglers on the ice. We trudged out beyond everyone else, to an area I knew would be among the deeper parts of the reservoir. It took a little work to punch a hole through with the hand auger. The ice was about a foot thick, although the top layer was slushy in some areas. Typical of Spring Valley, we hit a space between two distinct layers about half way down.

We fished for a little over an hour, using either Berkley Gulp, or good old fashion night crawlers. We tried anywhere from just off the bottom, to about six feet below the ice, but found fish from six to ten feet down. Most bites were very light, but we managed to hook and land a couple trout. Just enough for the kids to each have one for dinner. As we trudged back to the car, I could see other anglers pulling fat, wriggling trout through the ice.

So if you’ve been sitting inside waiting for spring to get back out on the water, stop waiting. Grab a rod, some bait and an auger and get out on the ice. The weather may be cold, but the fishing isn’t.

Happy angler at Spring Valley Reservoir
Creative Commons Licence
Sean Wilson

Ice Fishing on SPring Valley Reservoir
Creative Commons Licence
Sean WIlson

Waiting for a bite on the ice