Hard Water

The VBL Christmas Card got me thinking about ice fishing and as the Perch Master noted, ice has been scarce here in the banana belt of Wisconsin. I know this is a blog about VBL, but perhaps this will prompt a post by Gord regarding the freeze dates on Eagle Lake, ice conditions, and water levels?

In the fine city of Madison, the average freeze date on Lake Mendota is December 20’th. Christmas has come and gone and the lakes are not even close to freezing as we have been experiencing 40 degree days. The Center for Limnology on campus has been keeping records on freeze and thaw dates since 1856. This will be the 25th time in 125 years that our lakes froze for the first time in January. I can only tell you that I attempted to use this data to calculate the thaw date on Eagle Lake last year for the contest and failed miserably. There was no connection between our weather patterns and the weather patterns of Ontario.

I can report that the professor and I did take advantage of this unseasonable weather and decided to wet our lines on soft water on Lake Michigan in December. As we backed the boat up into the water, a camera man from WTMJ scrambled to set up a camera to document our December launch in to calm water.

Hey guys....I am going to get a great shot of anglers fishing in December!


 Oddly, the professor had different ideas. He decided to “moon” the photographer with a “bow end first” launch. Its a difficult maneuver, but one that the Professor has perfected.


The professor launches bow end first


 The following picture of the back of his launch vehicle offeres a clue as to why he would try this odd approach.

Jumper Cables....standard equipment for a launch with the professor
I should point out that this has become standard practice for a launch with the Professor. In fact he has become quite proficient at this task.  But who am I to complain? We had a great day of fishing, even while worrying about whether or not we would have enough juice to get back to the landing. I do know the professor was hoping that Santa would bring him a new battery for Christmas. The boats are now stored, so we have nothing but thoughts of fishing at VBL to get us through the winter.
Picture time



An eater brown trout. I prefer the sky line at VBL!


A limit of browns

5 thoughts on “Hard Water

  1. Nice little story got a chuckle out out the Professor and his launch job.
    Andy the 3rd fish from the bottom in that photo looks like a small rainbow to me?

  2. Yea at first looking at the pic and going by the tail spots I thought small king or coho but the mouth looked white so I was going with rainbow since it had small spots on the tail
    Nice job

  3. I may have perfected the bow-end launch that Andy refers to, but I cannot recommend this manuver to others. Driving the car down the ramp into the water presents a flooding risk for most vehicles. Fortunately, I tow with a “monster truck” which negates this risk for me.

  4. Great stuff….soft water in December…ugh. Everytime I think about soft water on the big Lake MI in December, I think about big lake effect snow over here in Northern IN.

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If you’re looking for an outstanding vacation spot for the serious fisherman or a family get away you should consider Vermillion Bay Lodge on Eagle Lake, Ontario Canada. We have stayed at many lake resorts over the years, but none offer the simple pleasures of this one. The lake is large enough and holds enough fish for the most adventuresome fisherman and yet easy for local family fishing for young children. Bring your own boat or use one of the aluminum boats (20 hp) at the lodge. Boat dockage is well protected from the wind and allows easy access to the water.

What sets this lodge apart from most others is it is always clean, well kept with lots to do including paddle boats canoes, bon fires in the evenings and a just plain friendly atmosphere.

Bruce & Sally

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