Though I typically wear my survival suit for safety when trying new waterways, it was simply too cold, and I had to opt for layers under my snowsuit / down coat. After ground temperatures of -25 to -30 for nearly 2 weeks, I was quite sure the ice was safe. Got to the lake shortly before 11:00 AM. Was glad to see an SUV and a pick up truck driving on the lake, confirming the ice was more than safe. It was solid ice without any snow cover, making it extra dense.
Started drilling my first hole, the extra dense ice made me realize that my blades need some serious sharpening. Drop my line and pulled out my first fish of 2014, a nice 9 inch perch.
Subsequent holes were a lot harder to drill, due to my blades getting covered in ice. Despite my trying to chip of the excess ice buildup, drilling was the toughest I ever experienced. Wasn't able to drill nearly as many holes as I would have liked to.
However, I still managed to catch a bunch of perch, ranging from 7 to 12 inches. Noticed that tipping my lures with live mealworms was very effective, as the perch were quite finicky. Kept a few nice ones for the table, as winter perch are very clean, and one of the better tasting fish in the region.
Noticed that I was the only one out there without any type of shelter. Some people fished from their truck, others were towing cabins out with ATV's, and some had the cheaper, portable shelters.
The region is a bit of a drive, but well worth exploring in the future. Hope to head back there some time soon.