As many of you already know I just returned from an ice fishing trip in the Lake Louise area near Glenallen, Alaska. This whole area is covered with lakes that provide pretty good fishing and also have an abundance of snow machine trails that enable the outdoorsmen plenty of ways to access this wilderness area. We found the normally groomed trails a little rougher then they were in other years but never the less we managed to get in to our fishing sights without too much trouble.
We hauled in our big fishing shack that is on 4 ski's and has 4 fold down bunks in it. This shack is 10 ft. x 12 ft. when unfolded and set up. We also hauled in a 4 x 8 portable shack to be used for fishing burbot in shallow water. Then there were 4 big propane bottles, 8 small bottles for one heater and a lantern. Our big stove for the big fishing shack, 3 sleeping bags and 3 bed rolls, one tote full of cooking gear, one cooler for food, 2 power ice augers, 2-6 gallon cans of gas, three Coleman lanterns, 3 buckets to be used for chairs in the shacks, 16 tip-ups, one propane heater and one propane cook stove, 10 ice fishing rods with reels, ice chisel, 2 hatchets, half a bucket of hooligan and herring for bait. One feed sack with stove pipe for our big stove, 3 flashlights, 4 tackle boxes, and 2 spools of new line. Several ice dippers, extra gas for the ice augers, several filet knives and a steel. We also had one old broken down motor man that we hauled in too. All this was hauled in 25 miles with only 2 snow machines and one 5-ft Alaska bush sled and by putting several items on top of the big shack! And we made it all in with only one trip!
We had many visitors on the ice and most could not believe we got everything in there with just one trip. Yes we probably looked like the Jed Clampett family moving to California. But never the less we made it and survived the whole ordeal very comfortably.
Being out on the ice camping has always interested me and I have been doing it for many years now. My home made stove works really nicely and this year Lonnie Wares made a damper for it out of the canning lid off one of our jelly jars and a an old coat hanger. We greatly cut down on the amount of propane we used to heat the big shack. When I camped on Hidden Lake earlier this year we used about one 60 lb bottle of propane every 11 hours in -20 weather. Our temperature was much warmer this time but we were able to use the same about of propane with the damper in the stove in about 25 hours!
The Lake trout were pretty slow in our part of the lake but we got plenty of burbot action on the lake. These fish are not the best fighters but great on the table. You can also watch these fish approach your bait in shallow water which helps raise the excitement level watching these ugly creatures bite. We spotted one huge burbot swim past that was close to 40 inches long and we named him Black Bart but never got him to bite or saw him again.
We were approached by a guy that Lonnie Wares went to school with several years ago but hadn't seen each other for many years. The guy whose first name was Kevin stopped by several times and visited with us guys while we were fishing tip-ups. We invited him to eat a meal of burbot and potatoes with us and were surprised to see him crawl off his snow machine and crawl on his hands and knees across the ice and into our fishing shack! He was pretty well crippled up from falling down a flight of stairs while working on the slope plus having some muscle disease in his hands. But yet as he put it "My wife says I should continue to enjoy doing things as long as I can so that is why I am out here on the ice!"
Kevin was a real inspiration to Lonnie Wares, Steve Dambacher and myself not only because of his pleasant personality but also because of his special determined attitude not to let his handicap stop him from enjoying the wilderness of Alaska. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade if you're one of those special individuals who truly are an Alaskan outdoorsman. Where were you on the week of March 20th to the 26th? Never mind I'm sure Kevin won't even know you were on ....the ....ah.....couch! See you next week!
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