Winter Ice Hack from a Montana Boy
It has been an interesting winter so far in 2018. A short period of extreme cold, followed by some mild temperatures. This has made my annual ice fishing trips a little difficult, but hasn't stopped me from going.
Normally, an inch or two of snow on the surface of the ice will provide enough traction to get to your fishing spot. But, especially in eastern Montana, wind can blow the snow off the ice. Leaving a surface a smooth as glass. Which, as you might understand, is NOT the easiest surface to walk on.
This past weekend, I ventured to one of the crown jewels of the Treasure State. I made my way to east bay on Flathead Lake. For those not familiar with east bay, it is surprisingly shallow. An ice fisherman must walk a minimum of 3/4 of a mile, just to get to water that is 2ft deep. To do that hike, while dragging 70-80 lbs of gear is a task. Not to mention going that far on a slick sheet of ice.
Before departing from the Ducharme fishing access (pronounced douche-arm...giggity), I ran into a fisherman who appeared to have an excellent day catching fish. He gave me a few tips on where to find the fish, and warned me not to go on the ice without "ice cleats." The cleats will give you the traction you need to walk on the slick surface. Did I come prepared for that situation? NO! So i did what any other resilient Montana boy would do. I dug through all the crap in my pickup. Eventually, I came up with 2 bungie straps. I wrapped a bungie around each of my boots. The result was far better than I could have imagined. Not only did they provide me with the traction I needed on the ice, I could almost sprint.
Next time you find yourself in a slick situation, reach for your bungie straps. They are like duct tape when it comes to things that can save the day.