By Steve Weisman
Kids catching fish. It doesn’t get any better than that. Last Saturday I had the opportunity to be part of the Scheels Ice Demo at Bacon Park in Sioux City. Several Clam pro staffers, along with Scheels pro staffers, were on hand to help ice anglers young and old alike learn more about ice fishing products and fishing techniques.
Penni Heitmann, events coordinator for Scheels, organized the event to coincide with the Iowa DNR’s early afternoon stocking of catchable rainbow trout into Bacon Creek Park waters. It took only a few minutes, and as they say when an athletic team gets on a roll: “it was lights out!”
With an estimated 200 anglers on the ice, it was awesome to watch all of the action. Youngsters, some as young as 4-5 years of age (with the help of parents and volunteer pro staffers), had their line in the water jigging for the trout.
I spent most of my time just wandering around, helping a youngster here or there make the right jigging motion, showing them how to feel and/or watch for the bite and helping them set the hook at the right time. Nothing beats a young angler’s scream of excitement when it’s “trout on.”
It was really fun to let the kids witness what a Vexilar flasher can do for catching fish. They learned it was just like a video game, and they soon could identify the movement of their bait and the approach of a trout. Sometimes it was a strike and a miss, but other times it was a hookset and a trout on!
With temperatures in the low 40s and snow melt causing water to pool on the ice, it became pretty hilarious when a youngster would try to hold up a trout and the slippery fish would wiggle away and land on the pooled water. Then the chase was on as the trout wiggled along with the youngster trying to capture it.
Anglers in this area will get the same opportunity on Saturday, January 31, when the DNR will release around 1500 trout at Scharnberg Park sometime after noon. With a stocking in November and then this one, there will be plenty of trout action going on.
Don’t forget, though, that adults (16 years of age and older) need a fishing license and a trout stamp.
I think you will enjoy it!