I have definitely fallen in love with fishing the hard water. I had never gone ice fishing until I moved to take my teaching position. I ended up just about an hour away from Kickapoo State Park. The art teacher I work with invited me to go along, so I bought 1 pole and borrowed some tackle. You are absolutely right...something about hauling a 6 inch gill through a hole in the ice is just rad. Those depth finder flasher units are super cool too. I don't have one yet, but I'm keeping my eye out for a sale...
I actually got out last Monday (no school) and did really well. The 3 of us each took a limit of 10 gills. It was actually a mixed bag of bluegill, redear, and even a warmouth. The best part was the 12 rainbow trout we landed. The state stocks 'bows in one of the ponds every spring and fall for a trout season. We always try to fish the opener from the boat, and we do very well. I caught a male that was just shy of 20 inches last fall. Apparently quite a few of them survived until ice-over, and now they're HUNGRY... I'm gonna try to get out again this weekend and get some more.
One of my "bucket list" trips is to ice fish up North for some walleye and pike.
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear