Rick Buchtman is known for bringing out quite the spread when he goes ice fishing on Upper Greenwood Lake. In addition to his gear, he drags out a grill, a sled with firewood, chips, sodas, and venison hot dogs from a deer he’d shot and had butchered locally.
“That’s part of ice fishing, sharing a natural resource,” said Buchtman.
The grill is a steel drum on skis that his crew fished up from the bottom of the lake a couple years ago. Somebody else must’ve made the drum for ice fishing and left it out on the ice too long, Buchtman conjectured. He is not about to make the same mistake. “That comes home with us every time,” he said.
An arborist by trade, Buchtman can only sneak out once or twice a month to fish in the summer. Come winter, he can be found “jiggin’” weekly. The day starts at sun-up and goes until 4pm or so. “If you drag that much stuff on the ice you try to make a day of it,” he said.
Ice fishing is naturally a more sociable pastime than being out in a boat that can only hold a few guys, Buchtman finds. He invites his daughter, the local Boy Scout troop, anyone with kids.
“When the kids are there, it doesn’t matter whose flag goes off, we get the kids to go deal with the fish. It just brightens up the day,” he said. “If you can get a kid hooked on fishing, that’s a lot of fun. It’s a clean wholesome activity, it teaches them respect for natural resources, and they get to see firsthand where their food comes from.”
When you’re out on the ice for the day, you can pop in to have a hot dog with another camps or, as happened the day Dirt tagged along, you might toss a few fish to a dad and his kids skating by. You can even take a snooze in a sled, as demonstrated by Buchtman’s fishing buddy Casey Norman. Norman had been on a date the night before, and the afternoon found him catching zzz’s instead of fish.