Ice Fishing on Lake of Bays
As I passed Dwight Beach on Lake of Bays this morning, I noticed that the ice huts are starting to go up on the lake. Ice fishing on Lake of Bays, while very dependent on Mother Nature, seems to run from about the end of January to mid March. When I first moved to Lake of Bays, I just didn’t understand the allure of ice fishing. Wouldn’t it be cold and solitary sitting out in these little ice huts waiting for a fish to bite? I shared my thoughts with an avid fisherman and friend.
“Jay”, he said, “you are coming fishing!”
So, on a VERY cold February day, a few years ago, I followed his advice. I dressed in warm, waterproof-layered clothes, with a warm hat, mitts, mukluks and sunglasses and headed out by snowmobile to the ice hut. I was expecting to stay about an hour and then return frozen to the shore. Oh – did I have a lot to learn! The sun shone and the day was brilliant. Here was beautiful Lake of Bays, which I knew so well in the summer, dressed in her winter whites and looking vast and virginal. The silence was amazing. I was in the moment – meditating, still, peaceful, taking in the stillness of Lake of Bays. After a couple of hours, I became aware that I was cold. Into the warm ice hut I went and sat on a bench near the little stove heater. A piping hot mug of coffee and a treat from the bakery in Dwight and I was warm and toasty. After a bit out into the bright sun, I went and checked my pole for trout. My friend had caught two beautiful big lake trout and now he was live releasing them – as he said, “You shouldn’t take more than you could eat for dinner.”
More families joined us. The silence was broken by the giggles of children, families that were together enjoying nature in the north. By late afternoon, we packed up and headed to the cottage. We dined that night on fresh, pan-fried Lake of Bays trout, baked potatoes, fresh hot bread and asparagus spears. After dinner, as I was sitting in front of a roaring fire with friends, I realized that the responsibilities of life – paying the bills, checking the email, worrying about next weeks schedule – never crossed my mind that day.
So, although transcendental mediation promises stress relief…to me Ice Fishing on Lake of Bays is mediation at its best!