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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Wednesday 02/08/2012 A 100 flag day and check, check, check that ice

My son was home a few days late last week, carrying over the weekend, to get some ice fishing in. And boy did we. But we soon learned that we needed to take more than just a look at the ice as we ventured on. We drove over to the Kittery Trading Post Thursday morning to buy a new ice auger as my old one has had it. Going East on Route 4 Northwood Lake had a bob house out and the ice looked white and very solid. By one we were back and decided to hit a pretty small pond locally. Maybe 60 acres or so and just a short walk from the truck so we could be quickly fishing with our new auger. The ice was white and looked real good as we headed out. But I could see it wasn't all that thick despite it's whitish appearance. Sure enough there was only four or five inches of ice underfoot. Plenty to hold us but not nearly what we had expected.

Saturday was an awesome day. We tried one of our secret spots and it had plenty of ice, closer to ten inches.This is the kind of day we will all talk about for a long time. It was sunny and not too cold despite a pretty good breeze. This was to be a day of family and friends to trickle in through the morning as best they could bring the smaller children along for some fresh air. Though the day was a bit cool, the fishing was hot, hot, hot. Now this too is a pretty small pond, and it is a 15 or more minute hike in along a barricaded old tote road. There are no houses on this pond and much of the edge is surrounded by a brushy ring that keeps most folks away. I've never seen anyone else fishing it winter or summer.

We no more got a few holes in and the flags started to pop. Bing, bing. bing up the flags went as we scrambled to put in the rest of our traps. We ended up with only 18 traps set. The fish were in a feeding frenzy nearly all day with a few lulls. Just enough quiet time to get a fire going out on the ice and start roasting our hot dogs . By noon there were nine adults and nine kids. A yell of flag sent a whole legion of scrambling figures large and small across the ice to see what was at lines end. Now this pond is remote enough that it has never been stocked with bass. So only pickerel and yellow perch are caught here with some perch close to a foot long and the pickerel were the plumpest ones I have ever seen, nearly as round as long.

What a day we all had. Enough so that many of us were back on Sunday, a warmer day with a couple of other families of friends to experience this forgotten secluded spot of heaven in good old NH. And like Saturday there was plenty of flags to keep the 10 kids running and giggling all day long. Most of these kids had never been ice fishing before. Right down to the three year old they all raced to the sound of "flag".


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