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There is More Than Hope!

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

The temperatures have managed to get above the freezing point for the last couple of days. This means that it is a necessity that all of the ponds that I drive by on the way to work get checked for open water. I tend to drive up the old US Highway instead of on the Interstate Highway. This way I can pull over to the side and really look at some of the ponds. That is not appreciated on the Interstate.

A few of the ponds were showing what looked like a little open water along the north shoreline. It was hard to tell if it was open water or just a thin sheet of ice over it. I did not hike out to see as my wife does not like it when I get mud all over my dress shoes.

So at noon I headed out to the lake. Time to see if there was a place to get a line into the water.

As I was headed down the hill to the parking lot I could see about two dozen geese out past the end of the jetty. That means that they were in open water. I did decide to look at the water before I went back to get a fly rod.

What I found was that there was open water. The only problem was the thin sheet of ice that went out about six feet offshore. The place that I was at was on the south shoreline of the lake. I went over to the next jetty and looked at it. There was a little open water, but the ice was breaking up some. The wind would move this around some so it was hard to tell how much space there really was.

Time to head farther up the lake, to where the bait-house and swimming beach are. The two jetties there are on the north shore and jut out into the lake facing south. I wondered if there would be more open water there.

As I drove by the beach there were between 80 and 100 geese in the water there and on the shore. It had about five feet of open water along the whole shoreline. This looked to be more promising.

I drove on up the road and turned into the parking lot near the jetty. I hiked out to the end of the jetty to get a good look. There was about five feet of open water off the end of the jetty. There was another 20 to 25 feet of thin ice out beyond that. Thin enough that the waves that moved under it would make it move.

With a couple more days with temperatures above freezing this water should open up. I will try again on Thursday, March 8, 2007 to see if I can get a line in the water. I try not to fish when those thin sheets of ice are around, especially near the shore. I damaged two fly lines when dragging the lines over the edge of the ice. It is more damaging that a person would think. This might also be because the lines I use are not the most expensive in the world.

Hopefully I will get a line wet soon. I hope you can also, especially those of you in the "frozen north" like I am. ~ Rick

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