I sold my ice auger years ago in a garage sale. Fly fisherman don't need augers. They're much too smart to stupidly stare at a hole in the ice. But, winter fly fishing can be a challenge, especially when it's blowing like hell on your favorite creek. Unfortunately, lack of fishing predisposes a fly fisherman to stupidity.
What to do? Well, with minimal effort I could saunter over to the pond. Heck, it's only a couple of hundred yards from our doorstep, and, it's frozen. For the record, I haven't ice fished since Prince partied like it was 1999.
Somewhere in the garage is the ice fishing gear. I find the box containing old stubby rods, one with a reel duct taped to it's handle. There's a couple of ice skimmers, rod holders for propping the rod over the hole in the ice, and, for keeping the whole outfit from being drug into said hole by some unsuspecting whopper. There's also a small four compartment tackle box. It contains tiny jigs with the crusted remains of long defunct maggots. There are also a few home made jigs with rotted rubber legs, some hooks, split shot, and, for the purists, "indicators". Talk about minimalism. I'd never make it through a PMD hatch with this stuff.
Next, it's out to the shed. I never pass up the opportunity to practice expletives while tripping over untold amounts of yard equipment. Alas, my swearing is rewarded. I find an old pry bar. It will serve as a spud to chop through new ice on holes previously augered by other anglers.
And then, just to show that I'm serious about this venture, I head to the sporting goods store and buy some maggots.
Ok, now that I'm properly armed, I saunter. Arriving at the pond, I survey its frozen surface and note the spoor of previous ice anglers. Circular piles of ice shavings dot the pond. I pick an inviting spot, spud out a hole, flip my bucket over and cover it with one of those squishy pads that warms the butt. Now this is living!.
Time to do a little business. I impale a fresh, circa 2019 maggot onto a jig and drop it into the hole. The bobber settles and rests peacefully. I'm proud of myself. I've achieved a drag free drift.
I stare at the bobber. I know why I don't nymph. Time to start fidgeting. I shift the weight from one butt cheek to the other, then back again. I feel like Ray Charles, ice fishing.
It's time for action. Time to jig. So, I jig and wait. Jig and wait. Repeatedly.
The bobber twitches, barely. I lift.
After a few moments, another barely perceptible twitch. I lift, and, with the barest of resistance, pull a three inch perch through the hole.
An hour later I've got a few more small perch to show. Then, as the sun sets, the bobber dips spiritedly. Moments later, I haul out a creditable brook trout. Well now, that's something. Quite pleased, I slide the fish back into the hole and call it a day.
It's been a productive outing. I got out of the house. I got a little exercise, some fresh air, and even a few fish. Heck, I didn't even burn any gas.
And, just to show that I haven't lost my fly fishing touch, I got a wind knot.