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Utah Ice Fishing Challenge 19-20 Comments
#1
Thought we might start a general ice challenge chit-chat post where we can put ice conditions and discuss techniques and lessons learned, maybe good deals on equipment and etc...

I'll start off with one on spud bars, I've been told that for ice to be safe it should take at least two good hits with the spud bar to break through, however, you need to gage your strength, spud bar penetration and etc... But for early ice it's a great idea to have a spud bar and to learn what safe ice is, this way you can check ice on the fly as you move out onto newly frozen ponds... I found today that my spud bar was striking water in one hit, but it didn't break all the way through. After I broke the hole out I checked and found the ice thickness at 1.75" approximately, it was less than 2" but it kind of held me up, at least I didn't break through, even though the ice was cracking and sagging under my weight so the water would run out of the hole and make a puddle around where I stood. Now I know this pond is around knee deep or I wouldn't have been on that thin of ice, but I thought it was interesting that the ice would hold my weight. Last year I started fishing 2.75 to 3" good black ice and it was spooky, but held me up. So I think if ice is good solid ice I think I'll fish 3" ice again, but I'm always prepared to self rescue with spikes and flotation. One of the biggest hazards of fishing thin ice is how in consistent the thickness can be, There are lots of factors that cause the ice to get thinner in some areas and if your margin of safety is already really low, then it's very likely you may go swimming, so don't let me talk anyone into going onto the ice too soon, because it is life and death for sure if you go through and can't get out, or get too cold before you can get to safety... Today there was spot where the muskrats actively move in and out of their den and I didn't know it was there, so as I stepped on that spot my foot went through the ice right away, now luckily it was right at the shore so I got off without falling through, but it points out some of the hazards that can be anywhere in the ice, and especially during thin ice seasons.. Have fun be safe and always check your ice conditions they can vary from hour to hour... Later Jeff
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#2
I read you talk about standing on 2" of ice or less and it creaking and water spilling and I thinking nuts... Lol. I was scared when I went my first time on fish lake and it was 8" and the ice was singing it song. But I'm a noob so that's probably normal. I would like to get out and try it 2-3 times this year. Unfortunately the lakes to ice fish aren't close so I can't much but I bought some great last year might as well use it a little bit. Reading you guys talk about ice fishing and pulling fish up gets me excited to get out...mind you bundling up and getting up early to battle the attics blast of freezing tempos almost voids that excitement but not quite.
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#3
Hey Justin it's an addiction that only gets worse with time, if you get lined up with the right gear and folks that have done it a bit, it can be a blast... I really think we need to set up an ice fishing expo to show everyone all the great gear that is available these days... It's really not going out to freeze on the ice any more... With the shelters and finders and etc it can be really comfortable... Last year I took my FIL out and his health isn't great anymore, but we set him up in my Nanook and I had the camera going so he could watch the fish swimming in around his hook and we put Gumpy Old Men up on the Ipad, so he's watching that video while he's ice fishing himself and it was a pretty fun day for him... Inside the shelter it's 40-50 degrees so with a jacket your just right... Pretty nice deal anymore... Not like the hardsided shelters they have back east, but our season is a lot shorter and we have to cover more miles to get to where we fish sometimes... Anyway with ice fishing you can spend as much or as little as you want and still have a fun time... With all your boys I've got to think that crew would really love it... I used to take sleds for the kids to play on if the fish weren't biting and it's always been a fun time.. Anyway if you have any specific questions please let us know and I'm sure some of the crew can answer them and help you out... Later Jeff
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#4
You can take a look at last year's scoreboard by going back 3 pages on the contests page. I copied and pasted the URL below. We'll see how it works.

http://www.bigfishtackle.com/cgi-bin/gfo..._id=136224
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You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.  -Sir Izaak Walton
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#5
Well thanks to some info Jeff shared on questions I had about ice fishing via PM, in short order I’ll be on a 1st name basis with the fishing department guys at Sportsman’s here in Logan lol. Picked up a sled today along with a couple jaw jackers, yesterday it was jigs and plastic. Just an FYI for those heading over they are just starting to put out the ice stuff so it’s probably going to be a couple days before it’s all out
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#6
Hey Alan I went in last night and stocked up on tungsten jigs before they run out. Got some new crazy glow orange cutr bugs and vertigo heads, but was disappointed they didn’t have the vertigo II heads. Glad they aren’t fully stocked because I couldn’t find a lot of stuff I was looking for. On some of those bigger purchases let me know I may have a tip on good deals. Later Jeff
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#7
Will do Jeff thanks, more stuff out today, like paddle bugs etc along with a shelter and augers
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#8
Sounds good I need to go catch Jeremy about maybe posting the cat contest trophy in their store this year so I’ll check it out. Thanks Jeff
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#9
I was going through the scoreboards for the last several years and noted something interesting. Up until last year the challenge deadline was April 1. I thought that was the deadline last year and got caught short on the lakes I was planning to go to the last couple of weeks when I suddenly realized that the deadline had been changed to March 15. Does anyone know why it was changed? Anyway it's good to "know the end from the beginning" as they say.
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You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.  -Sir Izaak Walton
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#10
I encourage everyone that enters to read the rules before they enter. That way they will "Know the end from the beginning" The March 15th deadline mostly came about because in recent years the ice season had slowed way down and the ice quality has really started to deteriorate by March. Also, members had started getting excited for the Catfish Contest to start. I think the Catfish Contest starting was a big driver for ending the Ice Fishing Challenge earlier. It gets messy tracking two contests on one contest board.
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#11
Thanks for your reply. That was just what I thought. After all, safety is a big concern. I know I was one of the fools that was out there at the end trying to stretch a 10' plank across a 12' gap. And I'm also one of those catfishin' fools who likes to get an early start.
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You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.  -Sir Izaak Walton
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#12
I think it was changed because the ice was gone on most everything by the 15th of March and the catfish junkies were screaming for the cat contest to start so I think we closed one and started the other. Most years the ice is gone before the contest closes, except for high elevation lakes and they typically don’t offer any contest winning size fish. Later Jeff
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#13
I do not question the wisdom of the decision but would like to point out that Strawberry was fished for many weeks after the close of the contest last year.
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You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.  -Sir Izaak Walton
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#14
We haven't had much dialogue lately so I thought I might share something posted by one of you mid-season last year:

"I have little hope of winning the challenge. I'm only hoping to add a new species or upgrade previous ones each trip I make. So far so good."

Any guesses who that was? Maybe I'll let you think about it for a day or two to see if you come up with it.
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><)))))°>  ~~~ ><))))))°<*   ~~~ ><)))))°>

You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.  -Sir Izaak Walton
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