Posted by: csdailyblog | February 24, 2011

Ice-Fishing on Winter Skills Weekend

Rachel and Danielle ice-fishing on one of our campus lakes.

Last Friday, snowshoeing, along with the classic Northwoods endurance sport of ice-fishing, was on the agenda.

A small group of students, along with Field Instructors Jess Kavanagh and Anita Olson, snowshoed into the Sylvania Wilderness while hauling ice-fishing and cooking equipment with them on a sled. The earlier warm temperatures followed by below-freezing weather had added an icy top layer to the snow, increasing the challenge level of the route. After learning how to use hand-augurs, students drilled holes in the ice of Big Bateau Lake. 

A portion of Big Bateau Lake abuts Conserve School’s property. The group showshoed through Conserve School land and into Michigan via the Sylvania in order to fish on an area of the lake not immediately adjacent to the school. On the map you can access by clicking on the link above, the land you see immediately below the Michigan/Wisconsin border is Conserve School’s.

This shot gives you a sense of what it looks like to be on one of our campus lakes in the winter (and to imagine both the beauty of the setting and the cold wind that blows out there in the open).

The group had the extra challenge of withstanding a particularly cold wind blowing across the lake as they sat still by their fishing holes for what I’m sure seemed like a very long time. That’s the reality of ice-fishing. Take a look at the accompanying photos to see the students hunched against the wind on the open expanse of the lake, and you can understand why some people go to the trouble and expense of setting up ice-fishing shanties or shelters every winter. 

The students didn’t catch any fish despite their efforts — and that’s how ice-fishing often goes. (I’m afraid I’m not doing a good job of hiding the fact that ice-fishing is not my favorite winter sport — I’d rather cross-country ski any day — but it has many devotees in the Northwoods, and the fish is delicious.) Field Instructor Katie Connolly, who is skilled at hunting and fishing, anticipated that students might not land any fish and had donated fillets from one of her ice-fishing outings ahead of time, so the students were guaranteed an out-of-doors, wood-fire fish fry.

Both this Friday and last Friday were set aside as special Winter Skills Days in order to provide students with instruction in several different winter outdoors sports and skills. 

Mary Anna

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  1. Thanks for the great pictures, it looks like they were cold but still had a good adventure and a tasty meal.


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