Friday, December 31, 2010

Houghton Lake Ice Fishing-Great Start for the New Year

Dead Stream Flooding by K Stephenson

As I passed the lake on my way into town yesterday I noticed more shanties than I have ever seen on the lake in the 8+ years I have been coming here. The early cold and the budding economic recovery I think are the determining factors. Or it could just be that the fishing is good. Whatever the reasons, it's a welcome sight. This season promises to be a very good start for the local economy with Tip Up Town coming in just a few more weeks (more on TUT soon) the . The theme Life's a Beach could be the cause for the unseasonably warm weather.

We're being hit by the heat wave here in Houghton Lake just like the rest of Michigan. Highs close to 40 Friday and Saturday with the temps dropping to the low 20's on Sunday. I don't believe this will affect the lake too much for fishing BUT it could cause cracks and shifting ice which can make traveling across the ice dangerous. Especially on a snowmobile or SUV traveling at a high rate of speed. Speaking of snowmobiling, the warm temps are melting the snow at a fast rate. We only had maybe 5 inches on the ground and by Saturday there won't be any snow to speak of. Weather forecasts do not bode well for an addition of snow over the next 5 days. So keep your fingers crossed.

For more information about Houghton Lake fishing go to Houghton Lake Fishing.

I will report more soon including Tip Up Town USA info.

Stay safe, Stay warm and Happy New Year,


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Houghton Lake Ice Fishing on Christmas, Why Not


As I rode around Houghton Lake today (today being Christmas day) I noticed some angers on the ice. Possibly trying out some new ice fishing equipment. The lake hasn't become dotted with fishing shanties yet, but that's not far off. As word of the ice being at least as much as 6 inches thick in some areas, more and more of the small wooden shacks will be showing up on the lake.

Korbinski's Marine and Lymans On The Lake both have shanties for rent already placed on the lake. Give them a call and check for availability.

Well I'm on my way to a friends place for dinner.

Stay warm, stay safe and stay jolly,

Ken S.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Houghton Lake Ice Fishing or Baby It's Cold Outside

North Bay Houghton Lake  
Photo by K. Stephenson

Ice fishing. The words bring a chill to my very bones. Seriously. I have memories from my childhood (I was ten) of sitting on a plastic bucket, next to a hole in the ice, the sweat from cranking the auger turning to ice on my skin. I would get up and wrap my numb fingers around the auger crank handle and start a new whole just to get warm. I didn't have to finish the hole, just crank long enough to generate some body heat. 

My father, having discovered the ice was 14 inches thick, had returned to the parking lot to get the car and drive it out onto the lake (like everyone else had already done) so we could sit in the car and stay warm while waiting for that little red cloth flag to "tip up" and let us know there was a fish on the other end. After thirty minutes in the car, my hands were able to let go of the auger handle. Suffice it to say I was miserable. I never went ice fishing again.

Today there's an easy solution to staying warm on the ice. Dress appropriately for the temperature. Always expect the temp to be 10-20 degrees colder than the weatherman says. Dress in layers, if your too warm you can always take something off. Finally there a whole bunch of different light weight portable Ice Fishing Shanties on the market suitable in size for one to six persons. Prices range from $50-$600 depending on size and comfort. The smallest folds into a backpack and the larger ones come with a hard floor that doubles as a sled for transport across the ice. Amazon has an excellent variety at great prices you can see them here. Check quickly some have only a few left in stock.

Dead Stream Flooding (Reedsburg Dam)
Photo by K. Stephenson

It's that time of year again. Winter has come in hard and fast with temperatures well below freezing. The lake has had ice on the surface for about ten days now. BUT that does not mean the ice is thick enough to be safe. Every year since I moved here, I hear about someone falling through the ice because it's not safe yet. Most of the time it's just a leg but once in awhile tragedy strikes. I have seen an SUV about 50 feet from shore with just the roof sticking out of the ice. A rule of thumb that I use is to check with the local bait shops, Lymans on the Lake or Korbinskis or call the DNR to find out if the ice is safe yet. 

Still most people come up, see someone else is on the lake and decide it must be safe. It was just a few years ago when a group of people drove out on the lake and set up next to each other. It didn't take long before the weight of the people and their vehicles cracked the ice. They barely made it back to shore in time. About two years back a couple of winter anglers were fishing on Higgins Lake when the ice around their brand new pick truck cracked and the truck started tipping sideways. One fisherman made it off the ice right away, the other was in the truck and had to crawl out the window when he couldn't open the door. He made it out of the truck just before it slid into the lake.

The owner ended up with a waterlogged truck and a bill for pulling it out of the lake. It could have been worse but it was still an expensive lesson. Automobile insurance doesn't cover you on the lake.

Tip Up Town badges are available at local area businesses for $6.00. More TUT later.

Again if your interested in a portable Ice Fishing Shanty from Amazon click here.

Until next time...

Stay warm, Stay safe and Stay dry,


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get Out Your Smokepole, 2010 Muzzleloader Season Is Almost Here

Breakout the smokepole it's nearly that time again.  For some the muzzle loading deer season is just another chance to bag that big one that was spotted the day after the regular season ended. For others it's a chance to test ones skill with, what some consider, an archaic if not ancient form of firearm. Yet many others embrace the history and will even dress the part of a hunter or mountain man from days gone by, to relive the experiences of our ancestors. When a  misfire (due to wet powder) or a missed shot, could mean going hungry for a long time, reducing their chances for survival.

If your going to be hunting with a muzzleloader and you haven't used it recently (maybe not since last year) it would be a good idea to give it at least a quick cleaning. Keeping your firearm clean will not only keep it in optimal condition but it just plain shoots better when there's no build up of left over residue or unburned powder, and the barrel has been seasoned with lubricant. Prelubed patches are easier than trying to squeeze bore butter from a tube, evenly over a patch. Can be very messy.

This is not an endorsement for CVA cleaning products although I am sure they are of good quality. I just wanted to show the ease of cleaning today's muzzleloader rifles.

Muzzle loading season for deer in zone 2 (Roscommon county is in zone 2) is from December 10-19, 2010. For more information go to the Michigan DNRE.

That's it for now so...

Stay safe, stay warm and keep your powder dry,