Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 2

No fish for the wicked, and no speaking during the arctic outbreak

Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 2

This story is part of a larger series on ice-fishing culture. To read all series posts, click here



Wednesday, January 30, 2019
9:47 a.m.
-21 degrees
Rhinelander, USA

The thermometer outside my kitchen window read -28 when I woke up this morning. My truck said -23 when I pulled up to the Snake Chaser, and the thermometer inside the shack read -12 when I stepped in. The inside reading is currently a very pleasant 65.

I got a late start this morning, partially because of the weather but mostly because I locked my keys in my running truck and had to search for the spare. I put two tip-ups in right away but I’ve been in the shack awhile now and still have to go out to put the third one in.

I saw a story the other day that warned against talking or taking deep breaths while outside in this weather. I’d like to invite that writer out to the shack, hand him an Old Style and teach him how things get done.

Wind chill is a myth.

9:58
Apparently Apple is catering to the office types with its computer hardware. My mouse died a little while ago. I put in a set of fresh, warm AAs and still nothing. What about those who choose to compute in extreme conditions? I need an all-weather mouse. Something that looks highly tactical. 

10:21
Activity has been minimal, both above and below the ice. I haven’t seen a snowmobile in two days. 

10:57
My fingers are sticking to the brass spools on my tip-ups but my third line is finally in, not that it matters. I’m fishing in a completely different direction from the shack today, toward the little island outside the bay, but that apparently doesn’t matter either.

11:17
My nephews just stopped by on their way into town across the ice, dressed light enough to be comfortable on a summer evening. Their house is just across the street from Duke’s Bay, down the hill from Duke’s old shop. School was canceled due to the weather, but they weren’t bothered enough to put on socks.

11:39
It’s currently up to -13. The Weather Channel is calling this the coldest arctic outbreak in a generation. Maybe it’ll do this generation some good. You can hide from the weather or step on its neck and go about your business.

This is for the one who swings the hammer, driving home the nail
Or the one behind the counter, ringing up the sale
Or the one who fights the fires, the one who brings the mail
For everyone who works behind the scenes

12:08
I just melted the side of my pants on one of the propane heaters. It smells like a tire fire in here.

12:22
I can’t recall if this is my fifth or sixth consecutive day of fishing without a flag. It’s bad, even for this lake.   

12:27
I think spring has finally sprung. It’s up to -8 and there’s so much sun pouring through the shack windows it feels like a greenhouse. If a guy could catch a fish on this lake, he could probably grow vegetables in the shack and sustain life indefinitely.

I left my regular sunglasses at home and brought a pair of Overwatch antifog glasses from VentureGear Tactical today. The people at VentureGear were kind enough to give me some samples to test out when I was at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week. I have to say I’m impressed. I’ve been in and out of the shack, going from below zero outside to 70s inside, and they haven’t fogged a bit. They fit well and look alright too.

12:51
Lunch. Two of my friends and Snake Chaser crew members stopped out and brought me a gyro from CT’s Deli in town. I wouldn’t mind a few more tomatoes and a few less onions, but it's a damn good gyro. Chef Tom does nice work. Good tzatziki.

2:18
All is quiet. The wind is blowing, the sun is shining and I’m sitting in the shack trying to focus on some work that isn’t ice fishing-related.

2:31
I don’t even know why I keep looking out the window. 

3:25
Just chipped my holes open. At this point it’s just to make sure I can get my tip-ups out when it’s time to leave. I’m not worried about fish. 

4:05
The end of Day 2 is drawing near and Classic Country’s steel guitars are soothing my soul.

4:31
Pop a top again
I think I’ll have another round
Set ‘em up my friend

There’s a fine line between a beer that’s slushy and one that’s mostly frozen. It’s a line I’ve toed a time or two. When you pop the top and that sublime slushiness passes your lips, you know you’ve timed it right. But when the can starts slowly and continually expelling its contents out its newly vented roof, you’ve crossed the line and your beer has just become an involuntary drinking game: pay close attention and keep taking little sips or it’ll pour out everywhere. 

My workday is over but there’s no need to leave just yet. I’m going to do a little more writing and enjoy the sunset.

5:07
Time to pull my boards. Might as well at least do it before the last light is gone.

6:21
My work is done. I’ll be back in 12 hours.


Next in the Series 

Deep Ties to the Lake I Fish

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