Milwaukee Browns vs. 4 balls of Energy

     On Saturday we woke up early to head for the Milwaukee harbor.  In tow we had four boys ages 8-11.  They were all fired up to get there first taste of chasing trophy brown trout through the ice.  We couldn't have had better conditions for taking kids out on the ice.  Bluebird skies and no wind, weather is always something to take in to consideration when taking children ice fishing.  You want them to be comfortable so that they enjoy being outside.  You don't want them to be cold.  If kids are miserable they won't want to do it again.  As we headed down the ramps at McKinley Marina the boys were so fired up that they pulled the sleds.  Now this was a nice way to start the day.
Tsion and Mike Young (wisconsinkayakangler.com) rigging the tip-ups.





 We walked out on the ice and started to setup our base.  We were going to concentrate on tip up fishing so we could cover a lot of water.  The brown trout seem to come in waves so we have found that the more water we can cover, the better our odds of landing a fish.  The gas augers were fired up and off we went, drilling holes in a series of semi circles. Today I was glad to have the gas augers. The ice was a solid 22 inches thick.  Normally I drill all my holes with a manual auger and my arms thanked me for inviting the guys with the big guns today.  As we went about setting the tip-ups the boys ran off playing football, tackling each other, and having ice sliding contests.  Once all the lines were set we headed back to base.
     The day started out fast with our first flag coming with in minutes of setting up.  I raced over to my flag and quickly broke off the fish on the edge of the ice.  Apparently 6 pound fluorocarbon is no match for an over anxious shore fisherman.  I retied my leader and set the tip-up back in the hole.  While chatting back at the shanties and taking in the fishing stories and sunshine I heard somebody yell FLAG!  This time Mark was up, and he and the boys raced off across the ice.  Upon inspection the bait was picked up, but quickly dropped by the trout.  Not sure why I said, maybe the THUNDER that accompanies cub scouts running in boots.  He reset his line and we all settled in to base for some snacks and laughs.  The boys got thirsty, so we set them up with jigging rods and juice boxes.  As we all stood around talking about our best catches, Mark yelled FLAG! and we were off again.
JJMuskie and Mark working the female brown trout.
     Now this time the trout hit the farthest tip up.  Nothing is funnier than watching 4 boys race each other on the ice.  I am almost certain that everybody either fell, tripped, or got tackled on the way over.  Mark grabbed the line and gave a little tug.  That fish took off like a rocket!  How he didn't end up with line burns I still don't know.  The fight was over surprisingly quick and JJ quickly reached into the freezing water and snatched him out of the hole.  It was a big beautiful female, 28 inches long and weighing a little over 8 pounds.  This was Marks first brown trout through the ice and he was grinning ear to ear.
Mark with his first brown trout through the ice.
     At this point the weather started to change. It got cold quick as the clouds rolled in off Lake Michigan.  Mark reset his line and we all decided we would give it a little longer then pack it in before the kiddos got cold.  After another hour or so with nothing happening on the fishing front we decided to pack it in.  Imagine our surprise when the boys did a trash pickup patrol (cub scouts after all), and offered to help pull the shanties and sleds back to the trucks.
Calling it a day and heading home.
     We had a great time, even though we only landed one fish.  Fishing with friends is always fun.  Getting the chance to take kids fishing is something that I have found to always be worth it.  The boys said it best when loading the truck, "I love these trips, always an adventure".  I couldn't have said it better myself.
     Tight Lines.



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