Thursday, February 18, 2016

More ice at Houghton Lake

"We've got good ice up here," Team Gunsmoke guide Brandon Stanton said when I called him about ice conditions for the second gathering of Mark Martin's Ice Fishing Vacation School.
Once we got on the ice just before sun up Sunday, I saw what he meant. We had a good 12-inches of solid ice.
Due to the recent warm weather coupled with rain, Oakland County lakes haven't been in any condition to consider fishing them through the ice.
To top it off, a tragic accident involving a dad and his 4-year-old son should have driven the message home to any of you still thinking you know more than Mother Nature.
Ask any dive team, fire department or safety expert when is ice safe. They all will tell you that no ice is safe.
Remember that the next time you strap on the creepers, strap your auger to your sled and begin pulling everything out.
Because continuous cold weather has held in the northern part of the state, Houghton Lake had good, solid ice.
Originally, this school was set for Saginaw Bay going out of Linwood Beach Marina. Once reports were received that the wind had blown what ice there was out into the Bay, plan B was put into affect.
Stanton, from Elkton and very familiar with the workings of the Bay checked things out near Caseville.
The ice seemed good so plans were made to house, feed and get everyone launched from that area. That is until warm winds broke the remaining ice up making it impossible to fish.
Plan C was put into affect and in no time officials at Houghton Lake had come through with a fantastic program, probably one of the best in the 25 years I've been attending this program.
Local businesses; lodging, meals, launch site and storage area for trailers and snowmobiles were ready to go in less than a day.
To say Houghton Lake welcomed the school with open arms is an understatement. Students as well as staff were complimentary of the facilities and services.
If you're interested in attending Martin's third and final school at Little Bay de Noc March 12-15, go to for registration information.
Brandon Stanton preparing to release a short Hougton Lake fish. By Beukema