-7 degrees with windchill read the thermometer. As we got to the lake, the biting 4 am cold finally began to sink in. We followed faint snowmobile trails on the concretely frozen lake. We were looking for a location known as the proverbial "hangover hole" because stale drunks can even catch fish here. Our GPS/Fishfinder pointed us in the direction of a mound of snow on the ice of Swiss cheese-complection. This was due to how many holes had been drilled by other ice fishermen in days prior. We finally got the auger started after a disappointing few tries. My friend Joe had 10 holes drilled in the 2 ft thick ice of Lake Granby in less than two minutes. We set up our Eskimo fishing shack on a square of four holes. When the heater got going, we dropped our large white tube jigs into the abyss below. Apparently we were on a mudflat surrounded by peaks in the bottom that lay harbor to hundreds of lake trout in a small area. This flat was called the castle. After several minutes passed by before our 3/4 oz jigheads hit the 110 ft bottom, we were worried that we had bit off more than he can chew. The fish finder blew up with several fish marked on the bottom as well as suspended around 65 ft. We were wondering if they were even our target mackinaw when my rod tip bounced. I glanced at the possible hallucination thinking it impossible to be into fish this quick. I reached for the sunflower seeds and right then my rod bounced twice more and I laid into a good fish. "Fish On!" sounded the bell in the shack and remaining rods were vigorously reeled back up from the depths. After about two minutes I had the 22 inch Laker flopping on the ice under my feet... within the first ten minutes of fishing, we already had one landed.
- Matt Powell
From then on a fishless period of 10 min was a rarity. I hooked a fish around 9:00 am that I gained 0 ground on and it soon broke me off as it took another 100 feet of line. I'm guessing it was a double-digit-lb fish. Our largest fish was caught early in the day and was probably 27 inches. We had to switch jig color from white to chartreuse half-way through the day but there was fairly consistent good action all day. Around 30 fish and a handful of fish 25 inches plus, not bad for a few minors like ourselves. Helm's Deep wasn't conquered today, but we think we gave it a run for its money.