Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise: a Kid's Perspective

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise
Chuck Mougalian with friends
On a cold Saturday morning recently, my dad and I decided to go to Lake Kinnelon to check out the ice fishing. We had heard from some of the dads at the bus stop that there would be people out on the lake probably for the last time this year. When we got there some ice fishermen could be seen out in the distance by Chapel Island already fishing. And we thought we could see them catching a fish!

We ourselves weren't there to fish but we did want to go out onto the ice and see what they had caught. Unfortunately, the previous couple of days we got about 2" of rain and the ice was as smooth and slick as glass. We walked slowly out towards the island but mostly we slid. As we got past the last dock we started hearing cracking in the ice. This did not sound good to me, and I didn't like it. We went farther and farther out and heard even more cracking. Finally, I had had enough and I turned to my Dad and said, "Lets go back."

"No, don't worry, it's just the top layer," my Dad answered. I wasn't so sure about that so I took a few more steps forward, but there was even more cracking. This time I put my foot down and I convinced my dad to turn around. He nodded and said, "OK."  We turned around and when we got back to shore some fishermen getting ready to go out on the ice told us that we needed cleats. Not soccer cleats but ice cleats. We didn't have them because we don't go ice fishing that often. We went home and I decided to ask an ice fisherman neighbor of ours some questions about ice fishing. His name is Chuck Mougalian and this is what he told me.

Q. How many inches of ice does there need to be?

A. We like to go with at least four inches of clear solid ice, and that is the minimum generally recommended.

Q. Why do you like ice fishing so much?

A. I like being outside in the winter time and I like catching fish.

Ice Fishing on Lake Kinnelon in Smoke Rise - by Chapel Island
Ice fishing off of Chapel Island
Q. What's the biggest fish you caught this year?

A. I caught a 23 inch pickerel.

Q. Where is your favorite place to fish?

A. I like to go near the chapel but some of the other fishermen like to go near the cove.

Q. Do Evan and Eric ice fish?

A. Yes, they do ice fish.

Q. When did you start ice fishing?

A. I started six years ago; my son Evan started last year and Eric started with me five years ago.

Q. What time do you get up to go out fishing?

A. I would like to be out by 6 AM or even earlier if possible

Q. Do you take the fish home for supper?

A. No we catch and release.

So I don't think there will be any more ice fishing this year, but I'm looking forward to doing my ice fishing next year even if I do have to get up early on a frozen morning to do it. Maybe we'll even have cleats!

Emma Whittemore


To put into perspective this story that Emma has shared with you, here is an excerpt from the March 15th, 2011 update from the Smoke Rise Fishing Club:

"The S.R.F.C. hosted its first "Family Ice Fishing Party" and "Ice Fishing Tournament" on Saturday February 26th with huge success. There were over fifty people and three friendly dogs out on the ice enjoying a beautiful day on the lake.  The Club served hot cocoa and grilled cheeseburgers and hotdogs all afternoon.  After the party a group of adventurous members headed out to deeper water for a four hour evening tournament near Chapel Island.  Tom Braden won the tournament with the most combined weight of five fish and largest fish. John Roberts won a side bet later in the evening with a seven pound catfish. The ice has since melted away..."

Christine & Ted
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