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Ice Time with Dad

Fishing isn’t always just about the fish.


Like many of us, I grew up learning how to fish from my dad. Many summers were spent camping out at Merritt Reservoir SRA and casting off the bank. I still remember catching fish with my Snoopy fishing pole before I graduated to a regular pole. I especially remember the time when I caught a fish before my older brother did. Anyway, can’t talk too much about summer now as I trudge through our winter months.

During the winter my dad would go on ice-fishing trips without us kids. The smell of fish will always remind me of my dad finally getting home from a weekend trip. He’d show us what he caught and we’d watch him clean them and pack them into the freezer. It wasn’t until last year that I became interested in getting out on the ice myself.

A couple weekends ago I got a text from dad:

“going ice-fishing, if ya wanna go.”

Finally! It was both of our first times out this winter. We spent the afternoon on our family’s farm pond just east of Lincoln.

Although I prefer the Nebraska summer heat, I can’t deny it was beautiful on this January day. Spending time outside in the winter helps me appreciate spring and summer even more.

He fired up the auger and I followed behind with the ice scoop. The fish were biting as soon as we got the lines down. It was a lot of fun and the fast paced nature helped keep me warm for the whole time we were on the ice.

I like imagining what’s going on under the surface. It’s an exciting experience to be out in the middle of a pond and think about what you are walking on top of. We caught a lot of small bluegill and a couple largemouth bass, nothing big enough to keep.

You can't beat the rush of feeling a bite
You can’t beat the rush of feeling a bite

My dad was excited to be on the ice and used the trip to get his equipment all warmed up for the season. What we caught was nothing compared to what he would haul in the following weekend out on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. On our trip we started having a competition of who could catch the smallest fish. I’d pull one up “this has got to be the smallest.” He’d get one a couple minutes later “I think this one has you beat.”

Dad working two-holes. He enjoys showing me how it’s done.
Dad working two-holes. He enjoys showing me how it’s done.

I’m so fortunate to have a dad who owns all the necessary equipment and provides much needed guidance to me as I get more and more into this winter pursuit. It’s been a process but I’m learning to appreciate the cold for the ice it produces.

Ice provides us a way to spend time together outdoors in the winter. It’s nice to get away from our television/phone screens and get some much needed fresh air. Not worrying about anything but just dropping line until the sun goes down.

It’s about more than just fishing.

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