Young Writers Project, an independent nonprofit based in Burlington, engages young people to write and use digital media to express themselves with clarity and power, and to gain confidence and skills for school, the workplace and life.
Each week, VTDigger features a writing submission – an essay, poem, fiction or nonfiction – accompanied by a photo or illustration from Young Writers Project.
YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in newspapers across Vermont, on Vermont Public Radio and in YWP’s monthly digital magazine, The Voice. Since 2006, it has offered young people a place to write, share their photos, art, audio and video, and to explore and connect online at youngwritersproject.org. For more information, please contact Susan Reid at [email protected].
The air is bitter, the skies dim, the days harefooted… all the more reason to hail the small joys that come with the season, too, and reel them in while we can. Middletown Springs writer Jaxson DeCelle, featured this week, shares a cherished cold-weather memory of ice fishing on Lake St. Catherine with his father.
By Jaxson DeCelle, 9, Middletown Springs
“Time to get up,” says Dad. Half awake, I had almost forgotten we would be going ice fishing today. We get ready to go by packing our gear, checking the tip-ups, and loading up the truck. We need extra-warm clothes today since we’ll be out on the cold ice all day.
We drive to Lake St. Catherine, and once we get there we unload the truck. Today is going to be a good day out on the ice, I think to myself. We walk around on the ice until we think we have found a good place to fish. We use the auger to drill holes in the ice and get the tip-ups in. Now all we need to do is wait until a fish bites.
I like to jig while we wait. Jigging is when you have a little pole and bait, and you drill a hole in the ice to fish with the jig pole. You usually want a lot of holes. I only jig a few minutes in every hole. It is better to have a portable fish finder so you know where to fish. You usually catch panfish, but I’ve caught others.
“Tip up!” is what we yell when a fish bites. I run over and grab the line and pull, and pull, and pull until I get it.
“It’s a nice-sized rainbow trout,” I yell. I catch it, then I release it. Not big enough for a keeper, so back to jigging I go. Just like that I hook onto another one and reel it in. It is a little panfish on the jig. Panfish are tiny fish, like perch and sunfish. I will catch more because they make a good meal. I toss it in a bucket, then reel in a few more for dinner.
Later in the day, Dad catches a pike, long and skinny with sharp teeth, but we release it. The sun is setting and it’s getting dark, so we pack up, head to the truck, and go home.