In May 2012 I began a list of all the things I want to do and the places I want to see. Over the years I have been adding items to this list. Some people might call it a bucket list. I don’t like to call it that because bucket lists seem to be something people write when they have only a little bit of time left: they are sick, they are dying, they are worried about a zombie apocalypse, or an asteroid hitting Earth, etc. Mine is a to do list.
When my friend Chloe found out one of the items on my to do list was to go ice fishing, she called up a gaggle of fishing friends, and we headed out to a big ol’ frozen lake near Edmonton. We woke up at some godforsaken morning hour, and our convoy drove out of the city before the sun even came up. We arrived at the trout pond, and found a spot to park the cars near the water. Unfortunately, for Kurt and Ryan, the driveway to the parking lot was invisible in the snow and they missed it entirely, driving right into the ditch. All the boys got out of their cars, hitched the car to one of the trucks, and helped push it back onto the road.
We drove one of the trucks out onto the ice. I sat on the tailgate with Chloe and James. The ice auger was revved up, and the boys began drilling holes! I was handed a rod with a lure and a worm that was still wriggling even after being ripped in half and shoved onto a hook, and was told to drop it down the hole. I did and just like that, I was ice fishing! Ryan asked what was in my pocket. I pulled out the flask of Fireball I brought in the event I got cold sitting outside all day. We exchanged a high five, and each took a swig. It was 8:30 am.
I heard a commotion nearby and James, who was also ice fishing for the first time today, reeled in the first fish of the day! He was a happy man as he pulled that fish out of the water. The seal was broken, and all of a sudden fish were being pulled up steadily. Six beautiful rainbow trout were fooled this morning by our lures and wriggling worms. I caught none of them. All hope was not lost though, for when the biting slowed, we packed up our gear and, after pulling Kurt’s car out of the ditch for the second time, headed to the next lake.
The clouds disappeared when we arrived. The auger was out again, drilling holes through the ice to the water. I lowered my wriggling worm and lure into a hole, and set up my chair to face the sun. Then I fell asleep. I was so cozy all wrapped up in layers, the sun warmed my face, the Fireball buzz was at a nice sustained level, and not one fish nibbled my lure. I woke up when Ryan exclaimed: He caught something! He pulled up a fish from the depths. It wriggled and writhed, and even though he ended up throwing it back (it was too small to take home) we all cheered and high-fived. It was an exciting moment!
To be honest, I think ice fishing is kinda boring if you aren’t catching anything. That being said, drinking cinnamon whiskey in the sun on a bluebird day, with an amazing gang of buds, is an absolutely beautiful thing. I had the most splendid day out there on the ice, and what’s more, I was able to cross something off my to do list!