Well That Wasn't on My Bucket List

Richard Ropelewski |

Our son Pete loves to fish; I mean he REALLY likes to fish.  For the last ten years this has been primarily a warm weather activity.  However, one of his good friends is very interested in ice fishing, and by osmosis Pete became interested as well.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago where I found myself in northern Maine with Pete, his friend, and an ice fishing guide.

The day started with a ten minute snow mobile ride to a fishing hut in the middle of a lake.  We then spent the next 45 minutes drilling holes in various locations near the hut.  The guide had a gas-powered auger that drilled holes 8-10 inches in diameter through the ice, that varied in thickness from 5-12 inches.  There were many reasons to hire a guide, but first through fifth on the list were knowing how thick the ice needed to be in order to feel safe in the middle of the lake.  I would have guessed a couple feet at a minimum (I know absolutely nothing about ice fishing), but he assured us this was safe.  Given that he had been a guide for 35 years and that he was standing six feet from me in the middle of the lake, I figured he would not take any unnecessary risks.

After the holes were drilled and the fishing lines were dropped in the water we went back to the hut for a warm drink.  I have never seen the inside of an ice fishing hut, but I envisioned a four-by-four foot  shed sitting on the ice.  I figured the structure would protect you from the elements, but that was about it.  This shed was built on metal runners so its floor was about a foot off of the ice.  Which was a good idea so the wood burning stove in the shed did not relocate to the bottom of the lake after melting a hole in the ice.  You would not host a dinner party for ten in there, but the shed had a small table with room for four people, and every nook and cranny in the hut efficiently stored either cooking supplies or fishing gear.

So after the warm drink and some interesting stories from the guide we spent the day snowmobiling on the lake and periodically checking the fishing lines.  While no fish were caught my son assured me that he wants to make this an annual tradition.  So while ice fishing was never on my bucket list, this experience was a nice reminder to occasionally expand your horizon and learn something along the way.

The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at U.S. Wealth Management.