Ice Fishing First Time Vermont Filipina
A Filipina’s First Time Ice Fishing Experience in Vermont
About Ice Fishing in Vermont
Ice fishing is a favorite winter activity among many local Vermonters including my husband and his family.
I love going fishing. Well, in the warmer summer that is. However, it was free ice fishing day in Vermont. Therefore, I decided to try my first time at ice fishing.
I originally come from the Philippines. In fact, it rarely gets below 70 degrees F in the Philippines. Moreover, before I came to the United States, I had never seen snow to say nothing of a frozen lake that you walk and fish on.
In the winter, the northern part of the U.S. is frigid. As a matter of fact, temperatures are consistently below freezing (32 degrees F, 0 degrees C) and periodically subzero (-20 degrees F). Therefore, the lakes here freeze solid. If fact, there is so much ice at times that you can walk on and even drive a vehicle on the ice. Some ice fishermen even set up little fishing houses or “shanties” on the ice to fish in and stay warm.
Many people take advantage of these frozen lakes to go ice fishing.
My first ice fishing experience is on Lake Champlain. Notably, Lake Champlain is the largest lake in the United States after the five Great Lakes. Moreover, Lake Champlain runs almost the entire western side of Vermont and up into Canada. The lake divides the States of Vermont and New York.
Dress in Warm Ice Fishing Clothing
Before going ice fishing, dress in warm ice fishing clothing to keep from being freezing cold.
This specifically means dressing in several layers with good winter inner and outer garments.
For example, the best warm ice fishing clothing to wear includes:
- Long underwear that helps insulate you and wick moisture away. Also, leggings work well too if you do not have long underwear bottoms.
- Undershirt with long sleeves or a neck warmer also work well.
- Heavy insulated winter socks keep your feet warm
- A sweater or other heavy long sleeve shirt is good to keep you warm.
- Ski pants are a must to keep your lower body warm. However, a full body winter suit like a snowmobile suit also works.
- A good well insulated winter jacket keeps your upper body warm.
- Moreover, water proof, insulated winter boots are a must to keep your feet warm and dry.
- Furthermore, waterproof, insulated winter gloves keep your hand warm and dry.
- Finally, top everything off with a scarf to keep your neck warm. Also, use a scarf to cover your face to protect it from the cold and wind.
How to Ice Fish
There are two methods of ice fishing that I know in my beginning learning including jigging and using tip-ups.
Jigging is pretty much like regular fishing with a fishing pole. However, you use a smaller pole and move your bait up and down to entice the fish to bite.
However, today I tell you about using tip-ups as that is what my husband and his family mostly uses ice fishing.
Firstly, you drill a hole in the ice. For this purpose, my husband uses an ice fishing auger that is gas powered. However, people also use hand augers. Then, he moves on to the next hole to drill. The number of holes is dependent on how many people are fishing and the rules for how many tip-ups you can have per person.
Secondly, set up your tip-up next to the fishing hole in the ice. A tip-up or “jack” is a fishing device that signals to the fisherman that the fish bit. For this purpose, my family uses jacks that were are made by my father-in-law. The jacks are made of wood with a vertical piece with a spool and fishing line attached. On the top is a horizontal piece of wood on a swivel with a sliding weight and a small nail. Scoop out any ice or slush in the fishing hole with a skimmer.
Thirdly, use a sounder or heavy object to find the lake bottom. Then set a loop in your line at whatever depth off the bottom you want to fish. Next, pull the line back up and remove the sounder.
Fourthly, put your bait on the hook and put your line back in the water. For this purpose, we use minnows. Put the loop on the nail on the jack and you are all set.
Do this for all of the holes and jacks that you use.
Finally, wait for the fish to bite. The jacks signal you that a fish bit. Then, run to the jack and pull up the fish.
My First Time Ice Fishing Experience
I was truly in fright when I set my feet on the frozen ice lake for the first time.
Ice fishing cleats on my feet kept me from slipping on the ice.
Slowly, I felt more comfortable walking on the ice.
After we got everything set up and started fishing, things began to be fun. Mostly, the kids ran after the tip-ups and caught fish. The adults really enjoy watching the kids run after the tip-ups and catch the fish. Then, the adults follow behind to help them, rebait and set the tip-up again.
However, the other adults and I did get to catch several fish during the day.
On the whole, I had a fun day ice fishing. Now, I think I will try it again.
Ice Fishing Rules and Regulations
There are many rules and regulations that go along with ice fishing.
For example, some of these rules include:
- Having a fishing license for the state that you are fishing. This day was free ice fishing day in Vermont. Therefore, I was OK for the day. However, I normally do get a Vermont fishing license.
- Limits on the number of tip-ups or fishing poles you can use per person.
- The type of bait allowed to be used.
- The species of fish, length, and quantity allowed to be kept.
For the purpose of knowing the rules, read your State game rules book. For Vermont, see the Vermont Fish & Wildlife webpage.
My Fish Chowder Recipe
Now that you have caught dinner, it is time to cook your fish.
As a result, I share my own Vermont Fish Chowder recipe with you.
Fish filet, 2 pounds. Fresh fish that you caught ice fishing tastes the best. However, if you did not catch any, get some fish from the store. We prefer a white fish that we catch ice fishing like bass, perch or any other white flaky fish. Otherwise, get fish from the store like haddock or cod.
Bacon, 1/2 pound, diced
Onion, 1 large, chopped
Potatoes, 4 large, diced
Carrots, 2 large, sliced
Celery, 1 cup, chopped
Corn, 1 can
Bay leaf, 1 leaf
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Milk, 1 quart
Butter, 2 tablespoons
Firstly, put the fish in a soup pot with 2 cups water and simmer for 15 minutes. Next, drain the water and save the broth in a separate bowl. Also, remove the fish from the soup pot and put in a separate bowl. Remove any bones from the fish and set the fish aside.
Secondly, saute the bacon in the soup pot until crisp. Then, remove the bacon and set aside on a plate with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
Thirdly, saute the onions in the remaining bacon fat in the soup pot until golden brown. Then, add the fish, potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the soup pot.
Pour in the reserved fish broth plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the milk and butter and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Finally, serve the chowder after sprinkling the diced bacon on top.