First of all, I would like to thank my Dad.
Thank you for the countless years of ice fishing as a child.
Thank you for having patience and teaching not just one, but three kids how to ice fish while somehow maintaining your cool and your sanity.
Thank you for not throttling us and throwing us down the ice fishing holes as bait.
Let me start by saying that I had an incredibly fabulous time on Saturday, taking my two kids ice fishing for the very first time, no word of a lie. I loved seeing how excited they were, how freaked out they got by driving in our truck onto the lake!! and officially starting the process of teaching them how to ice fish.
The day was beautiful, the weather gorgeous, the truck didn't fall into the lake and the kids behaved themselves.
Trying to get any productive ice fishing done with your children around you is almost impossible. It's like sticking your hand down the ice fishing hole and waving it around, hoping a northern pike will bite. Which in actual fact might have netted me more fish, in retrospect.
Almost my whole fam-damily and I struck out early Saturday morning and wound our way to Gull Lake, here in Alberta which is about an hour and twenty minutes from Edmonton.
Uncle Wyatt hitched a ride and proceeded to be yet another kid that we couldn't turn our backs on.
That snowball missed me by a mile, but still. Crafty little bugger.
Auntie Karami and cousin D met us at Gull Lake, chosen because it's a halfway point for all of us.
Now we have more family members than we can shake a stick at, two trucks, three kids, more ice fishing gear than Bass Pro Shop and a walleye in a pear tree.
Holes are augered, tip-ups are set up and prayers are whispered to the fishing gods above.
I'd love to say that my daughter sat like this the entire day, happy to gaze out onto the vast icy whiteness of the lake, contemplating her first ice fishing catch.
Unfortunately, it was a little more like this.
“Hellloooo fish! Hey! Fish! I have sooooomething for yoooou!”
“Mom? MOM! Why aren't I catching a fish?”
“Where's my lunch kit?”
“Auntie Karami kicked me out of the tent Mom! I really was listening! REALLY!”
“Um…Mom? I stepped in the hole…..”
“Eeeeeeenh Mom!! My boot is wet and cold! MOM!! I need another boot!”
“MOM! DIDN'T YOU HEAR ME! MY BOOT IS WET!”
(Yes, I heard you. Half the blessed fisherman on the lake heard you.)
“Mom. I'm hungry!!! I ate all my lunch, is there any more food” <——-repeat this one on a loop the rest of the day.
He's getting it and it's so awesome. He has his own tackle box, he listens, doesn't wander anywhere and he's becoming low maintenance.
The only thing I had to do was feed him.
All. Day. Long.
All he really asked for was food.
All. Day. Long.
Between wet boots, cold hands, starving bellies, happy yet busy kids, tangled lines, re-baiting hooks that were jigged with a little too much force, I managed to sneak some time in for myself.
However by the time early afternoon rolled around, a morning of never having our lines in the water longer than 5 minutes began to wear on us. We adults collectively gave a growl of fisherman's frustration and put my son, daughter and nephew in the back of my truck with snacks and entertainment.
We breathed a sigh of relief as we completely gave up parenting and thought about fishing.
It's amazing what happens when you can have 30 minutes of peace to yourself to actually concentrate and fish.
Lo and behold, you catch fish.
I caught a gorgeous Northern Pike that sadly had to be released since he was too small and my sister caught a perch.
I wouldn't give up ice fishing with the kids for anything – though I might trade my soul for just one frosty Saturday morning on the lake without them- and I gained a new appreciation for my parents. I now realize why my Mom always came along with us yet never actually fished. In order for one adult to actually catch something while ice fishing, the other adult has to be watching the kids and helping them. This has to be the reason my Dad actually managed to catch fish when we went out, besides his well-honed fishing skills.
Sadly, Mike and I both love fishing so I'm thinking my best bet is to get my two trained up quickly in the art of ice fishing and then perhaps my time will be extended to ten minutes of having my line in the water without interruption.
Or simply start being tricky and as we plan to meet my sister again next weekend…..
…simply invite the Grandparents along.
They Won't Even See It Coming Magpie